Royals Stat of the Day, July 2021

July 31st, 2021 is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Royals this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.

July 31: Blue Jays 4, Royals 0 -- Salvy hits 10 years of service time
Salvador Perez celebrated a special milestone, one that cannot be found on the back of a baseball card: He hit the 10-year mark in service time. Not only does that secure 10-and-5 rights (i.e., a full no-trade clause) for the long-tenured Royal, it puts him at a level of service in baseball that fewer than 10 percent of all players reach. Perez is the fourth Royal to reach the 10-year mark this season, following Mike Minor, Jarrod Dyson and Danny Duffy (since traded).

July 30: Blue Jays 6, Royals 4 -- Salvy homers again
Salvador Perez charged up his third homer in as many nights and 26th of the season with a solo shot to left, bringing him one long ball shy of his career-best for a season. His three-game homer streak is also one shy of his career high, a four-game stretch from April 6-9, 2017. He has homered in back-to-back games on five occasions this season.

July 29: Royals 5, White Sox 0 -- Perez drives in No. 600
Following his game-tying shot in Wednesday night's win, Salvador Perez crushed a two-run homer in the first inning on Thursday afternoon. It marked Perez's 25th home run this season, just two shy of his career high of 27, which he set in 2017 and matched in '18, and it gave him 600 career RBIs. Perez becomes the eighth player to have 600 RBIs in franchise history, joining George Brett (1,596), Hal McRae (1,012), Amos Otis (992), Frank White (886), Mike Sweeney (837), Alex Gordon (749) and Billy Butler (628).

July 28: Royals 3, White Sox 2 (10 innings) -- Rotation looking sharp
It's no coincidence that the Royals are 8-3 out of the All-Star break, with their starters posting seven quality starts. The Royals' rotation is rolling to start the second half, including lefty Kris Bubic's six-inning, two-run start to help beat the White Sox. Royals starters have recorded four consecutive quality starts for the first time since Aug. 10-18, 2019, when they had seven in a row, and in this stretch, they own a 1.67 ERA (five earned runs in 27 innings).

July 27: White Sox 5, Royals 3 -- Keller shines in July
Brad Keller has been dominant in July, looking much more like the pitcher the Royals saw have success the past two years. The 26-year-old now has a 2.28 ERA this month with four quality starts (seven earned runs in 27 2/3 innings). That's one shy of his quality start streak from Sept. 23, 2018 to April 12, 2019.

July 26: Royals 4, White Sox 3 -- A third six-out save for Barlow
Whenever Scott Barlow pitches, he goes in with the mindset that he'll be pitching two innings or more no matter what. Even though he's usually a one-inning reliever, that's what prepares him for nights like Monday, when he notched a six-out save. Barlow has three six-out saves this season, leading the Majors and matching the number of six-out saves by all Royals over the last five years combined. The last Royal to have more was Joakim Soria, with five in 2009.

July 25: Royals 6, Tigers 1 -- Salvy, Soler power up
The Royals scored four in the first thanks to back-to-back homers from Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler. It was the first time the Royals had hit back-to-back jacks since those two did it on Aug. 8, 2020, against Minnesota. Perez's three-run shot went into the upper fountains at Kauffman Stadium and marked Kansas City's third consecutive game with a three-run home run, a feat last accomplished from July 26-29, 2017. The Royals have gone deep multiple times in these three straight games, and in four of their past five after going without a homer in the first three games out of the All-Star break.

July 24: Royals 9, Tigers 8 -- Alberto brings the spark
Hanser Alberto might be the Royals' most energetic player, and it shows when he's on the bench, in the field and at the plate. Alberto's pinch-hit, two-run triple gave the Royals their needed insurance runs in the seventh inning during the comeback win, and he popped up on third base with unmatched joy and excitement on his face that got Kansas City's dugout on its feet. Alberto has two pinch-hit triples this season, the only player in Royals history to achieve that in a single season. He's also the first American League player to record two in one season since Texas’ Will Middlebrooks in 2017.

July 23: Royals 5, Tigers 3 -- O'Hearn's first home HR
Before his three-run blast in the series opener, Ryan O'Hearn hadn't homered at The K since Sept. 3, 2019, which was also against the Tigers. That's a span of 296 at-bats at his home stadium without a home run. He snapped that streak in the fourth inning with a Statcast-projected blast of 422 feet to left-center. Oddly enough, it was also O'Hearn's first three-run homer among his 36 career jacks.

July 21: Royals 6, Brewers 3 -- KC has Crew's number in '21
Kansas City finished off the two-game sweep in Milwaukee on Wednesday, marking just the fifth time in the 53-year history of the franchise that the Royals finished a season with at least four wins and no losses versus any opponent. The most recent occurrence came in 2015, when Kansas City went 4-0 against both the Brewers and the Reds.

July 20: Royals 5, Brewers 2 -- O'Hearn's road tear
There's must be something Ryan O'Hearn likes about road ballparks, because all of his long ball success this season has come outside of Kansas City. With the go-ahead two-run blast in the series opener at American Family Field, O'Hearn has now hit each of his last 12 homers (including seven this season) on the road. He hasn't hit a home run at Kauffman Stadium since Sept. 3, 2019, against the Tigers.

July 18: Orioles 5, Royals 0 -- Dozier goes 4-for-4
For most of the first half, Hunter Dozier was mired in the worst slump of his career. But as the calendar flipped to July, he's looked more like himself again. The Royals' third baseman/outfielder was 4-for-4 in the rubber match, matching his career high for a fourth time. He's batting .333 (18-for-54) in his last 15 games since June 29, raising his season average 36 points from .156 to .192. Three of the four hits in the finale went the opposite way -- he had four such hits all season coming into the game.

July 17: Orioles 8, Royals 4 -- Bubic's long relief
After the Royals used five relievers in the series opener, they needed a longer start by Brady Singer in the middle game. When that didn't happen, Kris Bubic saved the 'pen by eating up six innings of relief -- allowing just one run on two hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He's the first Royals pitcher to record a relief outing of at least six innings since Todd Wellemeyer, who pitched 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 13, 2006, at Cleveland. It was Bubic's third relief outing of at least five innings this season, breaking a tie with Ryan Yarbrough, Josh Flemming and Nabil Crismatt for most in the Majors. Bubic is also the first Royal with three such outings since Terry Leach in 1989.

July 16: Royals 9, Orioles 2 -- Lopez's career night
Nicky Lopez's job is to get on base and score runs, but he was the one driving others in during the series opener. The Royals' shortstop logged a two-run single in the second inning and a two-run double in the seventh for a career-high four RBIs. It was Lopez's second multi-RBI effort in his last six games, and he's now reached safely in 21 of his last 24 games since June 13, a stretch in which he's hitting .359.

July 10: Indians 14, Royals 6 -- Benintendi heating up
Andrew Benintendi seems to have found his timing since coming off the injured list last week. He launched his 10th homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth inning. The Royals left fielder has hit six home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 17 games dating back to June 1 -- with a three-week long injured-list stint in that stretch -- after hitting just four home runs and tallying 18 RBIs in his first 49 games (48 starts) of the season.

July 9: Indians 2, Royals 1 -- Soler's strides
Jorge Soler snapped a drought of 74 at-bats without a homer when he crushed a 100 mph cutter from reliever Emmanuel Clase in the eighth inning, tying the game before Cleveland's eventual walk-off victory. It was Soler's first homer since June 10 in Oakland as the Royals' slugger works through the worst slump of his career this season, and it was his first tying homer in the eighth inning or later since recording a game-tying solo shot in the bottom of the ninth on Aug. 29, 2016, against Pittsburgh as a member of the Cubs.

July 8: Indians 7, Royals 4 -- Santana's clutch homer
Carlos Santana knows Progressive Field well after hitting there for 10 years as a member of the Indians. And he came through in clutch at the stadium again Thursday -- this time as a member of the Royals. His first homer in the fourth inning was his 1,400th hit of his career, and his second homer in the ninth inning gave him his 11th multi-homer game of his career and his first since Aug. 15, 2019. The ninth-inning blast tied the game and was Santana's second game-tying homer in the ninth inning or later this season, becoming the first Royal to have multiple game-tying homers in the ninth inning or later in the same season since Billy Butler had three in 2012.

July 7: Reds 5, Royals 2 -- Brady's big day
After six-plus innings of one-run ball, Royals starter Brady Singer:
• has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last five starts. He's 0-1 in that stretch despite a 3.32 ERA (eight earned runs in 21 2/3 innings)
• pitched into the seventh inning for the fourth time this season.
• hasn't allowed a home run at Kauffman Stadium since his first start of the season, April 4 against Texas, extending his homerless streak at the Royals' home ballpark to 37 1/3 innings.

July 6: Royals 7, Reds 6 -- Royals get hard-throwing boost
With another short start from lefty Kris Bubic against the Reds, the Royals turned to Carlos Hernández for innings -- and he gave them much more than that. The right-hander allowed just one run in 3 2/3 innings, keeping Cincinnati at bay while Kansas City completed its comeback. Hernández matched his career high with six strikeouts, a mark he also had in 4 1/3 innings of relief on May 29 in Minnesota. The 24-year-old also fired in a 100.9 mph sinker that was fouled off by Mike Freeman in the sixth inning, which is the second-fastest pitch by a Royal this season behind Josh Staumont's 101.8 mph fastball on April 23 against Detroit.

July 5: Reds 6, Royals 2 -- Royals' infield becomes Dept. of DP's
The Royals turned a season-high-tying three double plays against the Reds -- and were inches away from a fourth in the top of the ninth. It's the fourth time the defense has turned three double plays in a game, and lately, the gloves have been lights out. In 20 games since June 14, K.C. leads the Majors with 27 double plays turned. It's a needed turnaround for a team that has ranked near the bottom of the Majors in defensive metrics throughout this season, but one that has seen some highlight-reel plays from shortstop Nicky Lopez and second baseman Whit Merrifield.

July 4: Twins 6, Royals 2 -- No shutouts here
Jarrod Dyson has only started a handful of games as the Royals' fourth outfielder, mainly being used as a pinch-runner and as a backup center fielder when Michael A. Taylor needs a day off. But Dyson has made the most of his starts, especially recently. With two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, Dyson poked an opposite-field single into left field for two runs, breaking up the Twins' shutout bid in the series finale. It was the second time in four days Dyson has broke up a shutout bid, following Thursday's loss in Boston.

July 3: Royals 6, Twins 3 -- Merrifield chasing steals
From the first time Whit Merrifield got on base on Saturday afternoon -- on a 10-pitch plate appearance resulting in a walk in the bottom of the first inning -- Twins starter Griffin Jax was worried about the havoc Merrifield could create on the bases. Merrifield stole anyway. After four pickoff attempts from Jax, Merrifield broke for second and slid in safely, notching his Major League-leading 23rd stolen base of the season. The Royals' leadoff hitter is on pace for what would be a career-high-tying 45 stolen bases this season, which he accomplished in 2018 when he led the Majors in steals.

July 2: Royals 7, Twins 4 -- Salvy makes a splash
As the Royals stared down a three-run deficit early in the series opener, there was no better person than Salvador Perez to begin the comeback. The All-Star slugger and Home Run Derby entrant launched a solo shot -- his 20th of the year -- that sparked a three-run second inning. As a result, Perez became the fourth Royals hitter with five 20-homer seasons, joining George Brett, Mike Sweeney and John Mayberry.

July 1: Red Sox 15, Royals 1 -- Whit's streak goes on
With his start at second base in Thursday’s series finale, Whit Merrifield extended his consecutive game streak to 387 -- the longest active streak in the Majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Merrifield’s streak began on June 25, 2018, against the Angels. In that span, the 32-year-old has played six positions: first base, second base, left field, center field, right field and designated hitter. The Royals’ record for consecutive games is 421, set by Alcides Escobar from Sept. 26, 2015-July 7, 2018. The all-time record in the Majors belongs to Cal Ripken Jr., who played in 2,632 straight games, meaning Merrifield just has to play a little less than 14 more full seasons to tie the Hall of Famer.