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Bannister stymies Indians

April 23, 2009

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— 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, Wednesday night.

“I just seem to have a feel for this team and do like to pitch in this ballpark,” Bannister said after improving to 3-0 with a 1.44 earned-run average 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 one.

“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. I know my role. I’m glad to contribute and try to earn my way back.”

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