KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez tied a Royals record with his 48th homer of the season before leaving with a sprained right ankle, and Kansas City went on to beat the Cleveland Indians 10-5 on Wednesday night.
Perez, who already broke the big league record for homers by a catcher, leads the majors in home runs and RBIs (121).
Perez said he slipped on the bottom step coming into the dugout in the middle of the second inning. He said he expects to play Thursday.
“It’s amazing,” he said about tying the team record. “We’ve got four more games to see (what happens).”
Perez homered on the first pitch he saw from Zach Plesac and struck out in the second inning before being replaced in the third by Cam Gallagher. Perez matched Jorge Soler, who smashed 48 homers for the Royals in 2019, and reached 200 for his career.
“It was probably the loudest of the group (of homers),” manager Mike Matheny said. “We see a lot of angles from our vantage point. You don’t see that kind of angle and the ball carry like that one did. It was pretty impressive. He’s a special hitter.”
Hunter Dozier hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch by Nick Wittgren (2-9) to make it 8-5. The Royals added two more runs in the eighth as the franchise won its 4,000th game.
“The guys were concerned,” Matheny said about Perez’s injury. “You talk about a guy being the heart and soul, that’s who he is.
“It was a beautiful job by the bullpen. They stepped up and our offense followed suit.”
Greg Holland (3-5), the third of five Royals pitchers, earned the win with two hitless innings.
Whit Merrifield led off the game for the Royals with a double, his 40th of the season. He became the seventh player in major league history to reach at least 40 doubles and 40 stolen bases in two seasons, but he was more concerned about his teammate.
“It takes the air out of you, especially when he’s doing something that special,” Merrifield said of Perez’s injury. “I think everything checked out. Hopefully he feels better tomorrow. He’s got something special going and I’d like to see him keep it going.
“I joke with Nicky, when he hits a homer when we’re on base it’s like we hit a homer, because it’s always a no-doubter. We get to jog around the bases.”
Royals starter Daniel Lynch had to leave the game in the fourth inning when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Austin Hedges. The Indians scored twice in the fourth and once in the fifth on a double by Yu Chang to tie the game at 5-5.
Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez had a sacrifice fly in the first for his 100th RBI of the season.
“He’s checked the boxes, and it’s nice to see that,” acting Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said. “Personal goals are one thing, but being in the team concept is important too. He’s done that all year.”
The Royals announced before the game they have signed outfielder Michael A. Taylor to a two-year contract extension worth $9 million. Taylor is rated as one of the top defensive outfielders in baseball. He started in center field Wednesday, going 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
The Royals placed RHP Brady Singer on the 10-day injured list with right arm inflammation. He left Tuesday’s game with two outs in the first inning. He was replaced on the active roster by RHP Tyler Zuber.
Shane Bieber (7-4, 3.14 ERA) pitches for the Indians in Thursday’s series finale. He worked three perfect innings in his last outing, his first appearance since June 13. He had been out with shoulder issues.
Left-hander Angel Zerpa will make his major league debut for the Royals.
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