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Perez fires up KC with wheels, rare steal

Royals star catches Tigers napping on 3rd career SB
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- As Salvador Perez rose out of a slide on his first stolen base of the season, he turned toward the Royals' dugout, smiled wide and waved his arms. The Royals went berserk. So did the fans in Kauffman Stadium watching the Royals' 16-4 victory over the Tigers on Thursday night.

"That was definitely a sight to see," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "To see him go there, everybody was shocked."

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KANSAS CITY -- As Salvador Perez rose out of a slide on his first stolen base of the season, he turned toward the Royals' dugout, smiled wide and waved his arms. The Royals went berserk. So did the fans in Kauffman Stadium watching the Royals' 16-4 victory over the Tigers on Thursday night.

"That was definitely a sight to see," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "To see him go there, everybody was shocked."

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The stolen base was just the third of the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Perez's career, and it came a day after he hit his first triple of the season.

Video: DET@KC: Perez shows off his speed and swipes second

Perez, who finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored, was also hit in the head by a pitch and pulled off an impressive slide in the first inning.

What was a rather crazy night for the Royals' catcher began when Perez singled to shallow left in his first at-bat. After Mike Moustakas singled, Perez stood at third for Alcides Escobar, who hit a ground ball to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. As the ball left Escobar's bat, Perez shuffled into no-man's land between third base and home plate.

Noticing this, Cabrera threw the ball to third baseman Nicholas Castellanos after tagging first to try and catch Perez in a rundown. Perez took off toward home. Castellanos' throw easily beat Perez to the plate, but Perez managed to avoid the tag by lowering his left arm and left leg under catcher James McCann's glove for the Royals' fourth run of the inning.

"I thought that for sure he was going to be out," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Video: DET@KC: Yost on the offensive show in 16-4 win

Added Cain: "He's a very athletic big man, I must admit. He's not the fastest guy in the world, but he takes advantage of all his tools."

Before Perez swiped second two innings later, one of Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer's sliders never broke. Instead of the strike zone, the pitch sailed toward Perez's head, grazing the side of his helmet and knocking him to the ground. Whit Merrifield said he wasn't worried when the ball hit Perez, but there was enough time to cause concern, as the All-Star catcher lay on the dirt. Soon enough, he got up and jogged to first.

Video: DET@KC: Perez gets hit on the helmet, stays in game

As he stood there, Cabrera didn't bother holding him on. After all, Perez's last steal came on April 8, 2015. Fulmer never looked his way. Taking advantage of the Tigers' disregard for him, Perez took off.

"That's a cool thing about him as a player is he's always looking for that extra edge," catcher Drew Butera said. "In the future they're going to have to hold him on."

Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez