Bannister, Royals bullpen shut down Indians

CLEVELAND -- Brian Bannister was excited to be back in the major leagues -- and even more delighted his first start came in Cleveland.

Bannister (1-0) and two relievers outpitched reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee and the Kansas City Royals beat the Indians 2-0 on Wednesday night.

"I just seem to have a feel for this team and do like to pitch in this ballpark," said Bannister after improving to 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four career starts at Progressive Field.

Lee (1-3) allowed two runs and nine hits over eight innings but matched his loss total of last season. A year ago, the left-hander went 5-0 against the Royals on the way to a 22-3 record and 2.54 ERA. He didn't get his third loss until Sept. 23 at Boston.

"If you had told me before the game I would pitch eight innings and give up two runs, I would have been happy," Lee said.

Bannister (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday, improved to 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA overall against the Indians. He allowed four hits and walked only one against a team that came in leading the majors with 76 bases on balls in 14 games.

"I wanted to get ahead in the count because they're drawing a lot of walks," Bannister said. "I was able to get a couple of groundballs when I needed them and the guys played good defense behind me.

"It wasn't a spectacular outing, but I did what I needed to do," he added. "I know my role. I'm glad to contribute and try to earn my way back."

Jamey Wright worked two scoreless innings and Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Soria hadn't worked in a game since saving a 4-2 win over the Indians on April 13.

The right-hander walked Jhonny Peralta with one out and yielded a ground single to center by Shin-Soo Choo. Kelly Shoppach then lined the first pitch to the warning track in left, where David DeJesus made a stumbling catch, hanging on to the ball despite his spikes catching in the wet ground.

"I saw David go back and thought everything was OK," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Let's say I felt a lot better when I saw the ball in his glove. He made a good play."

Both runners moved up on a passed ball by Miguel Olivo before Soria threw a called third strike on the inside corner past Trevor Crowe to end it.

"It's tough to sit on a curveball when a guy is throwing 92-93 [mph]," Crowe said. "He's very tough."

Coco Crisp opened the game with a double, moved up on a flyball and scored on a sacrifice fly by DeJesus.

The Royals made it 2-0 in the seventh. Mike Jacobs singled to center with one out and went to second on Alberto Callaspo's single to right. After Olivo popped out, Willie Bloomquist blooped a single to center to score Jacobs. Bloomquist came to the plate 3-for-22 (.136) with seven strikeouts in his career against Lee.

"He hit a changeup off the end of the bat," Lee said. "There's not much I can do about that."

The Royals had a runner thrown out at the plate in the seventh. Billy Butler singled with two outs and Mark Teahen slashed a double to the gap in left-center. Shortstop Peralta took left fielder Crowe's throw and relayed a one-hopper that skidded in the wet grass, but catcher Shoppach scooped it up in plenty of time to tag Butler.

Lee struck out nine and walked one in his best outing this season. He gave up 11 runs in his first two outings, but bounced back Thursday by allowing only one run over six innings in a 10-2 win over the Yankees in New York.

"The results are better," Lee said. "I think I've done a good job locating my pitches and mixing speeds. I think I got a little fastball-happy in my first two starts, but I've made some adjustments. I've had good results, but that's what I expect of myself and what is expected of me."

Left-hander Tony Sipp, called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game, replaced Lee to start the ninth and struck out the first batter he faced, Jacobs.

Game notes
Cleveland had scored 53 runs in winning four its previous six games. ... Bannister surpassed his father's win total against Cleveland. Floyd Bannister went 3-11 in 24 career starts against the Indians. ... Indians first baseman Victor Martinez was 0-for-8 lifetime against Bannister before singling in the fourth. ... Crisp lined into a double play in the fifth. Tuesday night, he grounded into two of a franchise-record six double plays. ... A crowd of 13,509 sat in upper-40s temperatures and a drizzle that began in the seventh inning. The previous night's crowd of 11,408 was the smallest at Progressive Field since the ballpark opened in 1994.