(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Bannister continued Sunday to upgrade his victory total and his credentials for American League Rookie of the Year.
He dominated the Minnesota Twins for eight innings, and the Royals posted a 8-1 victory as 26,454 fans watched at the Metrodome. Fellow rookie Alex Gordon belted two home runs to help back him.
Bannister's seventh victory in his last nine starts gave him a 12-7 record. His ERA dropped to 3.16 -- nice numbers for voters to ponder.
Here's another one: This was Bannister's 14th start following a Royals loss. His record in those games is 8-3 and, in the three no-decisions, the Royals were able to win two.
Bannister worked his way through the Twins' lineup with great efficiency. Through the seventh, he'd given up just four singles, and only one runner had advanced into scoring position.
In the eighth, the Twins ended the shutout when Mike Redmond singled, took third on Garrett Jones' third hit and scored on Luis Rodriguez's sacrifice fly. The inning ended on Bannister's 100th pitch and closer Joakim Soria was summoned for the ninth.
Gordon has not exactly shredded Twins pitching in his rookie season. In fact, coming into this game he was hitting just .196 (9-for-46) against the Twins. However, three of those nine hits were home runs.
The trend continued Sunday as Gordon led off both the second and third innings with homers, his 13th and 14th of the season and the first multi-home run game of his career.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.