KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was daytime, which is Brian Bannister's time.
Bannister pitched eight sharp innings, Miguel Olivo drove in four runs and the Kansas City Royals took advantage of Cincinnati's sloppy fielding to beat the Reds 7-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Bannister is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three afternoon starts this season. He is 15-4 in 26 career day games, as opposed to 13-25 in night games.
"I like pitching in the day," Bannister said. "I'm kind of a morning guy, so my body feels good. I think that goes against what most guys feel. I try to put the pressure on them early."
A pair of errors by third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. helped the Royals score five unearned runs.
Bannister (5-3) gave up four hits and the only run he allowed was unearned after a throwing error by shortstop Luis Hernandez in the first inning.
Reds starter Johnny Cueto (6-4) lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.17 despite the loss. All five runs against him were unearned after the Hairston errors.
"I don't know if I could have a worse day," Hairston said. "Even A-Rod goes through a bad stretch. You know it's just the nature of the game and it's unfortunate, especially when we've lost four in a row.
"But we are a team that right now are scrappers, man, and Johnny Cueto was extremely positive and for a young pitcher, that's pretty impressive. As cold as you are, you can be that much red hot. You've just got to keep grinding," he said.
Kansas City outscored the Reds 18-6 in the series.
"I think we got hot and they got cold all at the same time," Bannister said. "It's amazing how fast it can happen."
It was the Royals' first three-game series sweep since Sept. 22-24, 2008, at Detroit.
"A lot of us have brooms we haven't pulled out in a while," said Mark Teahen, who had three hits. "It's nice to get those out and use them a little bit. We're getting it going in the right direction. We didn't play the way we wanted to in May."
Bannister, who had allowed 19 runs and 23 hits in 132⁄3 innings in his previous three starts, retired 10 in a row and 17 of 18 after Hernandez's error.
Cueto lasted six innings and didn't have much luck behind him.
Hairston's fielding error on Billy Butler's grounder in the first prolonged the inning, and Olivo's RBI double made it 1-all. Hairston's throwing error in the third on Willie Bloomquist's grounder led to four more runs.
It was a rough road trip for the Reds, ending with four defeats.
"That's an understatement," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. "Johnny threw the ball well, but we made a couple of defensive miscues and it cost us some runs. Guys don't like losing, and they know how I hate losing. So we will turn it around and hopefully have a great off day tomorrow and come out smoking in the next series."