Salvy 'like a video game,' HRs in 5th straight

Catcher matches Mike Sweeney, who did the same in June 2002

August 30th, 2021

SEATTLE -- At this point, it would have been news if didn’t hit a home run.

But of course, the Royals catcher came through once again on Sunday, homering in his fifth consecutive game with a one-out solo shot in the sixth inning of Kansas City's 4-3 loss to the Mariners.

A 369-foot moonshot of a home run that dinged off the left-field foul pole, then off the facing of the third deck at T-Mobile Park, Perez’s home run tied Mike Sweeney’s franchise record for most consecutive games with a home run. Sweeney homered in five straight games from June 25-29, 2002.

“That’s awesome,” Perez said when he learned of his achievement. “I feel great. I’m so excited with what’s going on right now. I always say I love to compete, and we never want to quit, and I thank God for everything. I feel really good at the plate right now.”

Perez faced Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales in the first and third innings, walking away with a flyout and a popout. The Royals catcher was getting jammed on pitches up and inside.

When he came up to bat in the sixth inning, he looked for a pitch high and inside.

Gonzales threw a sinker in the upper left quadrant of the zone; Perez pulled his hands back and yanked it over the fence.

“In the third at-bat, I was like, ‘OK, let me go looking for a pitch up and in,’” Perez said. “And yeah, it was up and in. It was a pretty good pitch. I used my hands pretty good, got the barrel on it. It looked foul, but good, it stayed [fair].”

Perez beat the Mariners on pitches over the middle of the plate, pitches inside and pitches on the outside part of the zone this weekend.

"That was some kind of offensive show he put on here the last four days,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Every one of them was big, but we had just enough today to get a W and and salvage a win in this series."

Perez’s dinger was the Royals' first run of the game against Gonzales, and tied things up at a run apiece before subsequent homers from the Mariners' Jarred Kelenic, the Royals' Michael A. Taylor (his 11th of the season) and Seattle's Kyle Seager, who hit a two-run blast off Tyler Zuber that stood up as the winning run, denying the Royals' bid for a four-game sweep.

Perez almost went deep a second time in the ninth, settling for a rocket of an RBI single off the right-field wall, scoring Nicky Lopez and closing the deficit to one run.

“I don’t know what else to say,” said starter Brady Singer, who allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings. “It’s like a video game. What do you say? He hits a homer every time he steps to the plate. It’s incredible. It’s fun to watch, obviously. ... I don’t know what he’s going to do next.”

Perez's 38 home runs are second in the Majors this season behind only Shohei Ohtani (41), and they're already the second most in a single season in Royals history, trailing only Jorge Soler (48 in 2019) and tying Mike Moustakas (38 in 2017).

With 32 games left this season, Perez’s 38 homers are now the most among any American League player who played at least 75 percent of his games as a catcher, passing Carlton Fisk’s 37 in 1985. Ivan Rodriguez hit the most single-season home runs as a catcher, with 35 in 1999. Sunday’s shot from Perez was his 26th as a catcher -- the other 12 have come as the designated hitter.

Perez has 190 career home runs, which ties Alex Gordon for fourth in Royals history, three shy of Amos Otis for third and seven shy of Sweeney for second. Hall of Famer George Brett belted a club record 317 dingers in his 21-year career.

Perez's 12 home runs in 26 games this month tie the club record for dingers in any calendar month, shared by Chili Davis (August 1997) and John Mayberry (July 1975). His 12 homers in August are tied for the third most in any month this year, trailing Kyle Schwarber's 16 in June and Ohtani's 13 in June.

When Perez learned of tying his teammate Gordon on the Royals’ all-time list, he grinned.

“The greatest,” Perez said. “I’ll catch him. I just need one more. I’m blessed to be in this organization, to be here and doing what I’m doing right now. I think ‘the greatest’ is going to feel happy, too. I always say he taught me how to work hard.”

Perez has been one bright spot on a team full of them over the past two weeks, including the rotation he has primarily caught. Royals starters posted a 2.96 ERA over the road trip. 

Despite Sunday's loss, Kansas City has won 10 of its past 14 games, and the Royals are heading home after a 7-3 road trip through three cities.

When they get to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday to host Cleveland, there could be more than a few MVP chants when Perez steps to the plate.

“I’ll be chanting, too,” Matheny said.