NIGHT TER­ROR

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - SPORTS DAILY - By BOB DUT­TON

Starter Ban­nis­ter strug­gles af­ter dark again as Roy­als fall to the White Sox.

What­ever hob­gob­lins pop­u­late Brian Ban­nis­ter’s night struck again Tues­day when he lasted just four in­nings in the Roy­als’ 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Kauff­man Sta­dium.

“I know about the whole dayBanny, night-Banny thing,” Ban­nis­ter said. “Night-Banny plus the White Sox is not a good com­bi­na­tion. It never has been and, un­for­tu­nately, the sched­ule al­ways seems to line up that way.” No, not a good com­bi­na­tion. Ban­nis­ter’s ca­reer ERA against the White Sox, in 15 starts, is now 7.97. That’s seven point nine seven. Who­ever those hob­gob­lins are, they’re prob­a­bly wear­ing white sox.

“I’ve pitched a dif­fer­ent way to them15 dif­fer­ent times now,” he said, “and still have not come up with a so­lu­tion for them. And I know I have them in 10 days again (in Chicago).

“It al­ways seems like I’m pitch­ing against them, and it al­ways seems like they’re get­ting to me.”

Ban­nis­ter sur­ren­dered all four Chicago runs, which dug a 4-0 hole, be­fore mak­ing an early exit. He gave up eight hits, none of which was par­tic­u­larly rocked.

“They weren’t bombs away on him by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion,” man­ager Ned Yost said. “The balls they hit off Banny were wellplaced bloop dou­bles. We live by those, so I’m not tak­ing any­thing away from them.

“They put the ball in play and found spots. But they didn’t re­ally crush the ball on him.”

The Roy­als never quite re­cov­ered.

They slapped Chicago starter Gavin Floyd for three runs in the fifth in­ning and mounted a few threats there­after, but the White Sox held on and squared the three­game se­ries at one vic­tory apiece.

Ban­nis­ter’s day/night splits have al­ways been an is­sue but never as much as this sea­son. He is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in six day­light starts but now 3-6 with a 7.76 ERA in10 starts un­der the lights.

“I don’t scratch my head,” Yost said, “and I’m not go­ing to just start pitch­ing him in day games. He pitched well in night games when I first came here. It was just one of those nights when they found some holes.”

Catcher Ja­son Ken­dall said much the same thing.

“I don’t pay at­ten­tion to that,” he said. “He’s thrown some good night games, too. He just left some balls up, and they took ad­van­tage of it.” You fig­ure it out. Floyd ex­ited with a 4-3 lead and a run­ner at sec­ond with two outs in the sev­enth in­ning. The White Sox called on Matt Thorn­ton for a lefty-lefty matchup against for­mer team­mate Scott Podsed­nik.

The strat­egy worked when Podsed­nik flied out to cen­ter.

The Roy­als then got a lead­off sin­gle from Ja­son Ken­dall against Thorn­ton in the eighth be­fore David DeJe­sus’ bunt turned into a force at sec­ond. José Guillen’s two-out sin­gle moved DeJe­sus to sec­ond.

That brought J.J. Putz into the game, which shifted Al­berto Cal­laspo to the left side — an odd move since Cal­laspo is hit­ting more than 40 points higher from the left side. Cal­laspo drew a walk that loaded the bases.

The Roy­als left the loaded when third base­man Omar Vizquel, just in­serted for de­fen­sive pur­poses, made a deft snag on Mike Aviles’ sharp grounder and turned it into an in­ning-end­ing force at sec­ond base.

“That was a bul­let,” Vizquel said. “I got lucky.”

A ca­reer with 11 Gold Gloves for de­fen­sive ex­cel­lence sug­gest more than luck. Still, the Roy­als kept com­ing. Wil­son Betemit opened the ninth with a sin­gle against Putz, but pinch run­ner Wil­lie Bloomquist had to hold first when Yu­niesky Be­tan­court flied out to right. Bloomquist tried to steal sec­ond but only ran into the sec­ond out.

“I got a good jump,” Bloomquist said, “but I knew it was go­ing to be tough be­cause (Putz) was pretty quick to the plate. But I’ve got to take a chance.”

Ban­nis­ter, 7-6, re­gressed from his last start, a splen­did af­ter­noon out­ing in which he pitched six shutout in­nings in out­du­el­ing Washington won­derkid Stephen Stras­burg. This time, he needed 90 pitches just to get through four in­nings.

The bullpen rang up five score­less in­nings. It wasn’t enough. “It just seems that ev­ery time I play against them,” Ban­nis­ter said, “they come up with a cre­ative way to beat me.” To reach Bob Dut­ton, send email to bdut­ton@kc­star.com. Fol­low

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JOHN SLEEZER | THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Wil­lie Bloomquist (right) was tagged out by Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez in the ninth while at­tempt­ing to steal sec­ond in the Roy­als’ 4-3 loss to the White Sox.

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