Salvador Perez triples in Royals win for first time in 5 years

Salvador Perez triples in Royals win for first time in 5 years

Salvador Perez triples in Royals win for first time in 5 years

KANSAS CITY — Salvador Perez is not a man of pure speed like some of his Royals teammates, but he turned on the jets on Wednesday afternoon.

When Perez crushed a sinker into the rightfield corner in the sixth inning, it first appeared that rightfielder Raimel Tapia was going to make the catch. But Tapia didn’t read the wall well and appeared to lose the ball in the sun – so when he landed well, Perez flew around second base and slid safely to third base.

Yes, record that as a triple for the Royals slugger, just the 11th of his career in over 4,700 at bats and the first since July 19, 2017.

“When was my last? Five years ago? Wow,” Perez said with a laugh. “That’s what happens when you become a catcher.”

The three-bagger put a runner on third base for Carlos Santana, who came through with a double on his 4-for-4 day — aided by a sun-ball double in the eighth — and the Royals to an offensive breakout led and 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium. The win ended Kansas City’s three-game losing streak and blew much-needed energy into the dugout—encapsulated by the reactions of Perez’s teammates as he raced around the bases.

“I was rooting him,” said starter Brady Singer, who had left the game after fifth. “I yelled at the TV. That was good.”

“I pushed him out of the dugout,” added manager Mike Matheny. “I knew there would be a big smile – once he caught his breath. And once he got to the dugout.”

Perez, admittedly, wasn’t thinking “triple” out of the box — he thought at first it might get caught.

“The wind helped me, the wall,” said Perez. “It bounced past Tapia, so I saw I had a chance. That’s why I went for it.”

†[My teammates] we are crazy. Even Vladdy [Guerrero Jr.] was like, ‘A triple?’ It was funny.”

After being eliminated in the first two games of this series, the Royals saved it on Wednesday by taking a 3-0 lead in the first with four walks against lefthanded starter Yusei Kikuchi and key hits by MJ Melendez and Emmanuel Rivera.

“It was different,” Perez said. “We had to find a way to score some points.”

And the offense propped up Singer after the Blue Jays tied the game against the righthander in the third: the Royals answered with two runs in the fourth and added insurance in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

“I just liked how the guys handled the situational hitting,” Matheny said. “Making things happen. That’s the kind of team we need to be. Hit and run, put down a bunt, move guys, get the big hit. That’s what they did.”

Having played the worst record in baseball at 18-37, the Royals have preached patience, as frustrating as that is for fans to hear and players and coaches to say. But on Wednesday, the breaks fell their way. Soft grounders found holes in the infield, the offense took advantage of the Blue Jays’ errors and the bullpen gave up one run in four innings.

“The game is crazy,” said Perez. “Sometimes you’re going to score a lot of points, sometimes you’re going to try your best and stand for good pitching. … What I always say, every day is a new day. We got another chance to try to do something different and help the team win.”

The challenge now is to use Wednesday’s momentum. The problems that have arisen this season have not gone away with one win, and the Royals have only won three consecutive games this season.

They are looking for Thursday’s series opener against the Orioles to be its fourth.

But first they want to enjoy Wednesday’s win. This was evident from the lighter mood in the clubhouse after the game.

“I made that promise to myself that we’ll make sure to stop and breathe a little when you see a match coming in the right way,” Matheny said. “It’s been a thing for a while, but I forgot it was a thing. You are only honest with yourself when you are equal to the amount of joy you get from the victories with the battle of the losses. Theoretically it sounds great. I smell like it when applying for a job. I’m just trying to be more intentional, and I know these guys need that.

“I don’t want them to fall into what I fell into. Enjoy the wins. These are hard to get. That’s how you keep seeing them. You have to celebrate them. They must be special. Every one of them is.”