Salvador Perez

RECAP: Royals 9, Indians 4; Cleveland’s Rocked

Payback is a cruel mistress.

After getting swept in Cleveland to drop the Royals out of first place, the Royals returned the favor and swept the Indians on their turf to regain a share of the lead in the American League Central. A game that began with story lines including a former Cy Young pitcher, first place on the line and near triple digit temperatures, the game became who could capitalize better on mistakes. It was the Royals by a long shot as they trounced the Indians 9-4.

The Royals jumped out early against Corey Kluber, and of course Whit Merrifield was a part of the action. He singled to lead off the game, moved to second on an Alcides Escobar sacrifice bunt and then scored on a ringing double to the gap by Eric Hosmer. Lorenzo Cain followed with a line drive double of his own and the Royals were in business with a 2-0 lead after one innings.

Things settled down quickly as they often do when ace pitchers settle in as Kluber had the chance to do. After getting knocked around in the first, the Indians made two errors to start the second, but Kluber shut the door and then put a chair and a trunk full of old clothes in front of it to make sure it remained shut.

Unfortunately for Kluber, someone walked in the room, thought the chair and trunk were out of place and moved them, so the door was wide open again. Drew Butera opened the bottom of the fifth with a bloop that got by Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall and ended up as a double. He ended up scoring on a wild pitch. Then Eric Hosmer singled on a sharply hit ground ball that really should have been the third out. Lorenzo Cain dumped a single into right field before Salvador Perez hit a 416 foot bomb to dead center to give the Royals a 6-2 lead. And it all could have been avoided for Kluber and the Indians.

The sixth inning brought even more offense as the Royals and ended Kluber’s night. Christian Colon singled to right. A perfectly executed hit and run with Butera at the plate led to a first and third situation. Then Two Hit Whit lived up to his nickname with a single to score Colon. Alcides Escobar even got a hit to load the bases. Hosmer hit a ground ball off Jason Kipnis that the great Lindor turned into an out, but the run scored anyway. Then Cheslor Cuthbert worked a bases loaded walk to stretch the lead to 9-2.

In all, Kluber allowed a career-high eight earned runs and earned his seventh loss of the season.

Ian Kennedy pitched into the seventh, which is rare enough for Royals starters this season, and even though he gave up four runs on two home runs, gave the team what they needed. Remember the mistakes mentioned earlier? Kennedy made one of his own, neglecting to cover first base on a ground ball that would have been the third out. Rajai Davis was the next batter up and hit a two-run homer to tie the game at that time. The second home run allowed to Michael Martinez had no accompanying mistake. It was just a hanger that wasn’t missed. But hey, a win’s a win and Kennedy evened his record at 5-5.

When the ninth was completed, the Royals shook hands in the center of the diamond as co-leaders in the American League Central. Now there’s 97 games left to determine a winner. Should be fun.

Perez Stays Scalding Hot

Salvy now has a seven-game hitting streak, during which he’s hit .464 with four homers and seven RBIs. Since getting a few days off with the quad contusion, he’s been on fire, hitting .357 with those same four homers and seven RBIs and a .690 slugging percentage. He’s up to .293/.321/.534 which looks like vintage Perez but with extra power. For a guy who had been in offensive decline over the last couple seasons, this is a very good sign for the Royals.

It also shows the value of a day or two off for him, but that’s a story for another day, I suppose. The Royals were badly in need of someone to step up to provide some offense with two of the core guys out for awhile and Perez has absolutely done that. It’s been awfully fun to watch.

Going Streaking

The Royals apparently don’t do anything halfway. After winning six straight, they opened their road trip with eight consecutive losses to drop to 30-30. Since then, they’ve now won five in a row, so if you want to look on the optimistic side, they’re 11-8 over their last 19 games. They’ve also now won nine straight games at Kauffman Stadium, where they’ll play nine of their next 11 games.  Their overall record at home is now 22-7, which just happens to be the best home record in baseball.

Up Next

The Royals go from one AL Central foe to another as they welcome the Tigers to town. Tomorrow’s matchup will be Danny Duffy vs. Justin Verlander. Check back to BP Kansas City for the series preview to learn all about the Tigers and the pitching matchups for the series.

Related Articles