KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez hit a game-tying two-run homer, while Mike Moustakas and Brandon Moss also went deep in a five-run sixth inning that propelled the Royals to a 7-2 win over the White Sox on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals, who hit five home runs in the series-clinching victory, have won four in a row and remained 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Indians in the American League Central. The White Sox have lost eight straight games.
"We never get down," Perez said. "We never get down. That's what happened tonight."
White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera, who was a triple shy of the cycle, went 4-for-4. He drove in the game's first two runs, but the Royals hit three home runs in the sixth inning off left-hander David Holmberg to take the lead.
After White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey walked Lorenzo Cain to start the inning, Holmberg entered and got Eric Hosmer to line out. But Perez launched an 0-1 changeup -- projected by Statcast™ to travel 417 feet -- to left to tie the game. Moustakas followed with a go-ahead home run, and Moss hit one into the right-field fountains two batters later. It was the second time the Royals hit three home runs in an inning this season.
"I didn't know if we were going to get to [Pelfrey] or not," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was using all four pitches and throwing all four of them for strikes. He was tough on us. My hope was we could get him out and get to the bullpen."
Jorge Bonifacio hit the Royals' fourth home run in the seventh, and Moustakas added his second of the game -- his team-leading 28th -- in the eighth.
"You look at the game --- Holmberg's been unbelievable all year." Pelfrey said. "That's just what happens. Teams get contagious, get on a little roll, and you saw what happened. He's been awesome all year, and it's one of those days."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moose sighting: After Perez homered to left to tie it, Moustakas followed with his 27th home run. On an 0-1 pitch, Moustakas sent Holmberg's 75-mph curveball into the White Sox' bullpen in right for a 3-2 lead. It was the seventh time this season the Royals hit back-to-back home runs. Moustakas has now gone deep in consecutive games after not hitting a home run since the All-Star break. More >
"Pelf gave us a really nice job and got us through 5-plus," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He worked through some traffic, but made some pitches when he needed to. We scored a couple of runs and we were hoping the bullpen again would go on and limit the damage on the other side."
Alexander avoids trouble: After Royals starter Jason Vargas gave up singles to Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson to start the sixth inning, Scott Alexander induced three ground balls to prevent the White Sox from extending their lead. First, Yoan Moncada tapped a dribbler in between the mound and home plate that Perez tossed to Hosmer for the first out. Then, with the infield playing in, Yolmer Sanchez hit a sharp groundball to Hosmer, who threw back to Perez. Perez ran down Garcia for the second out, and a ground ball to Moustakas at third ended the inning.
"It's fundamental baseball right there," Yost said. "That's why we brought Scotty in [with runners on] first and second. He's a severe ground ball guy. We're trying to keep the ball on the ground there."
"To me he's a premier Major League Baseball player who has been playing outstanding defense. And he has been for us one of the two or three guys who has been timing his hitting in terms of driving in runs when we need them, putting together really good at-bats when we need them. Just playing the game. Yeah, kind of surprised."-- Renteria, on whether he is surprised Cabrera has not been traded yet as part of the rebuild
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
Whit Merrifield was ruled safe when he tried to stretch an RBI single into a double in the sixth inning, but the White Sox challenged the call. After review, it was overturned for the final out of the Royals' five-run inning.
White Sox: Left-hander Derek Holland gets the call in the series finale against the Royals on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT, before the White Sox return to Chicago for four games with the defending World Series champion Cubs. Holland is 1-6 with an 8.44 ERA over his last nine starts, allowing 14 home runs over 42 2/3 innings.
Royals: Left-hander Travis Wood will start the series finale at 1:15 p.m. CT on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. In two starts this season, Wood has allowed eight runs in 8 1/3 innings as both starts lasted fewer than five innings.
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