250! Salvy reaches HR milestone with assist from Mets

April 13th, 2024

NEW YORK -- Royals catcher is the only active player left from the 2015 World Series championship team, but he is still one of the main reasons the Royals are off to a great start in 2024.

And he was a big reason the Royals defeated the Mets, 11-7, at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon. Kansas City became the second team, after the Yankees, to reach 10 wins in the American League this season. It was also the Royals’ first victory at Citi Field since winning the clinching game in the ‘15 Fall Classic.

“We have some great memories coming in here," Perez said. "[But] it’s 2015, so that’s a long time ago. We concentrate where we are right now and we keep going."

Perez blasted his 250th career homer in the fourth inning, a 384-foot shot that was originally ruled a double before it was overturned to a home run upon review after the ball was deflected by center fielder Brandon Nimmo, sending it over the wall. Perez is now just the 12th primary catcher in AL/NL history to hit that many home runs. It was also his second straight game with a homer at Citi Field, the stadium where Perez won World Series MVP in 2015.

“[Reaching the goal] means a lot, especially with the win,” Perez said. “I thank God for keeping me on the field and letting me do what I love to do. Hopefully, for many more games.”

By the fourth inning on Saturday, Perez had four RBIs. He came through with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning with a two-run single.

“The fans of Kansas City have seen [Perez] for 13 years now,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “For us, to be here everyday and to watch somebody like him, as professional as he is, to continue to rack up those accolades, [is] really special.”

What Perez did at the plate doesn’t tell the whole story. Perez is the undisputed leader of the team. The winning culture starts with him.

“He has the clubhouse in the same vision. There are no stragglers. If there was, he would stop it,” said outfielder Garrett Hampson, who showed off his ability to juke in the third inning. “We are all moving towards the same goal. We are focused and that’s how Salvy expects things to be done. We are following his lead. He knows how to do it. He knows how to lead by example. We are just trying to follow him to the playoffs, for sure.”

Perez loves the team he is playing for. He says the Royals are hungry and are shooting for the World Series. He went so far as to say that Bobby Witt Jr. is the best player he has ever seen in Kansas City.

“It’s the way [Witt] plays. You can see that, too. He is the best,” Perez said. “The way he plays. You guys saw how he runs today [during his triple in the fifth inning]. He popped the ball to [left-center] field and he is already on third base. That run means a lot for us. It’s who he is. He is going to play hard to the last out.”

One can imagine how Witt feels about Perez. He calls Perez a role model.

“I hope one day, I can grow up and be like Salvy,” Witt said. “ He is one of the first on the field and one of the last to leave. He is just preparing his body each and every day. He shows why he can still do it. And he has done it for such a long time. Not only that, he is a great teammate. He shows up on the field everyday with a smile on his face. He is one of those guys, you are like, ‘Man, this dude is surreal.'”