KANSAS CITY -- The bat that Royals catcher Salvador Perez used to hit his go-ahead grand slam in the Royals' 6-4 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday wasn't even his.The story starts when the Tigers were in town at the end of May. Royals backup catcher Andrew Butera picked
KANSAS CITY -- The bat that Royals catcher Salvador Perez used to hit his go-ahead grand slam in the Royals' 6-4 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday wasn't even his.
The story starts when the Tigers were in town at the end of May. Royals backup catcher Andrew Butera picked up Jose Cabrera's bat after Cabrera hit a long foul ball and handed it back to him at the plate. But as Butera was handing the bat back, he kidded with Cabrera that he really liked the feel and the weight (32 ounces) of it.
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"I like to use heavier bats in batting practice," Butera said. "The next day, he sent me over two of his bats, which was pretty nice."
Fast forward to Wednesday. Perez had just ended a 10-game hitting streak on Tuesday when he decided to try something different and asked Butera if he could use one of Cabrera's bats.
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Out of the blue, Butera just happened to put one of the bats in Perez's locker before Wednesday's game.
"It was just in my locker," Perez said, smiling. "I like it. I think I'm going to use it Friday, too."
Gif: Salvador Perez uses Miggy's bat
The next thing you know, Perez went 3-for-3 with the first grand slam of his career Wednesday, which wiped out a 4-2 Boston lead. The win put the Royals 3 1/2 games back in the AL Central and two games behind in the AL Wild Card standings.
Afterward, Butera called the bat a "magic stick." Is Perez afraid he's going to break his new weapon?
"Oh, no, I don't want to break that one," Perez said. "I need to call Miggy and say, 'Hey, you got to send me some more bats, please.'"
Gif: Salvy wipes the camera
Perez's slam came after the Red Sox bullpen had walked the bases loaded in the eighth with none out. The Royals' catcher came up against left-hander Robby Scott, who had just walked Eric Hosmer on four pitches.
"I was thinking I would take a pitch because he threw ball one to [Hosmer]," Perez said. "Or take a first strike."
Perez, a notorious free-swinger, did take a pitch, a fastball, for ball one. Scott then threw four more fastballs outside of the strike zone -- but Perez swung at two of them, loading the count.
Scott then threw his first fastball strike on pitch No. 6. Perez fouled it off. Pitch No. 7 was yet another fastball off the plate. Perez fouled it off.
That's when Perez had a strange thought: He suddenly remembered he had never hit a grand slam in the Majors.
"Seriously, I swear to God," Perez said. "It's unbelievable. I don't know where it's coming from in my mind -- 'I've never hit a grand slam.' It's unbelievable, huh?"
Pitch No. 8 was another fastball a foot off the plate. Perez fouled it off.
"If I see it close, I'm swinging," Perez said, smiling. "You guys know me, I like to swing."
Pitch No. 9 was again a fastball, this time almost middle-middle. Perez didn't miss, launching it 412 feet over the left-field bullpen, his first grand slam since he was at Triple-A Omaha in 2011.
"I was excited, you know?" Perez said. "I don't know why he didn't throw me a slider in the whole at-bat. He just threw me fastballs. He's a great pitcher, too. ... Thank you for throwing me fastballs."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.