Royals hold off Marlins, improve to 8-4 in interleague play

" Interleague success: The Royals are 8-4 in interleague play, and 18-9 dating back to last year.

" Hero: Bannister allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings, and has allowed five runs in his last 28 innings overall.

" Turning point: Royals left fielder Emil Brown's two-out single to left center scored David DeJesus, but subsequent errors by Marlins center fielder Brett Carroll and catcher Jason LaRue combined to allow Mark Teahan to score from first base, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.

" Unsung hero: Marlins left fielder Josh Willingham went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.

" Series lookahead: Odalis Perez, who will start the opener against St. Louis Monday, is 1-5 with three no-decisions in his past nine starts for the Royals.

-- ESPN.com news services

Royals 5, Marlins 4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- In 1997, the Kansas City Royals were given an option of moving to the National League. They opted to stay where they were. A decade later, it appears they made the wrong decision.

Brian Bannister won his fourth consecutive start, Esteban German drove in the go-ahead run and the Royals defeated the Florida Marlins 5-4 on Sunday to improve to 8-4 in interleague play.

The Royals are 20-38 against American League clubs.

"I really have no idea," Mark Teahen said on why the Royals are better against National League teams. "I wouldn't say one league is better than the other. I'm enjoying winning games no matter who it's against."

The Royals have won all four interleague series against St. Louis, Philadelphia, Colorado and Florida.

"We've started to play better at home," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "For whatever reason, it comes against National League clubs. I don't look at any team being an American or National League club. I think it's just a coincidence."

It might be, but the Royals are 18-9 in winning eight of their nine past series against National League clubs, dating to last year. The Royals have been .500 or better in interleague games in three of the past four years, while losing 100 or more games in four of the past five seasons.

"We've played well against them [NL teams] this year," Bannister said. We just have a tough division. That's going to be our battle all year."

Bannister (4-3) worked six-plus innings, allowing four runs and nine hits with a walk. Bannister has given up five earned runs in 28 innings in June. He was 0-3 through May.

"I'm constantly out there playing chess games with hitters," Bannister said. "That's how I like to pitch. It's not about stuff with me, but how can I get this guy out.

"Today is one of those days, where I felt like I didn't have my queen and my rook, but you're out there just battling."

Octavio Dotel got three outs for his fifth save in five chances. He struck out Brett Carroll, who was making his big league debut, to end the game with the tying run at second base. Carroll also committed two errors.

"I wish I could say it feels good to get my first one out of the way," Carroll said. "But not in that kind of style. It was a humbling day, but fun. But it's one game."

Bannister gave up a two-run homer to Jeremy Hermida in the sixth to tie the score at 4. Josh Willingham had three of the Marlins' nine hits.

German's two-out double in the bottom of the sixth scored Tony Pena Jr., who had bunted for a single. It was German's seventh RBI on this homestand.

Left-hander Scott Olsen (5-6) took the loss, giving up five runs -- four earned -- and 10 hits with three walks. He struck out five. Olsen was 3-1 with a 1.36 earned run average in five career interleague starts before Sunday. Several of the hits off Olsen were bloops.

"Those kind of things happen. It's frustrating, but it's part of the game," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Last night they hit rocket-ball double plays."

Aaron Boone's sacrifice fly in the second scored Willingham, who led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on Hermida's single. It ended Bannister's streak of 18 innings without allowing an earned run.

The Royals tied it in the bottom of the inning when LaRue's single to center scored Alex Gordon.

The Marlins went ahead 2-1 in the top of the third when Hanley Ramirez doubled to the right-center gap, scoring Alfredo Amezaga, who led off the inning with a walk.

The Royals scored three runs in the third when center fielder Carroll made two errors -- fielding and throwing -- on one play. Teahen scored on the play. Emil Brown and Alex Gordon each contributed run-producing singles in the inning.

Game notes
Teahen picked up his 10th outfield assist in the third inning when Ramirez tried to stretch a double into a triple. Teahen ranks second in the majors in outfield assists. ... Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would use Carroll, just called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, in all three outfield positions. ... LHP Odalis Perez, who starts on Monday at St. Louis, is 1-5 with three no-decisions in his past nine starts for the Royals.