'A special player': Salvy bashes 15th multihomer game

May 3rd, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- Nothing makes the Royals hold their collective breaths more than when takes a beating behind home plate, whether it’s getting hit by foul balls, bats or balls in the dirt.

That’s what happened in the second inning Tuesday, when Orioles designated hitter James McCann’s bat hit the top of Perez’s left wrist on the follow-through of his swing. In typical Perez fashion, he shook off the hit and crushed two home runs, doing all he could to get the Royals back into their 11-7 loss to the Orioles at Kauffman Stadium.

The eighth inning was not as kind to Perez. During a 16-pitch at-bat, Anthony Santander fouled off a pitch, and his bat hit Perez’s glove hand square on the left middle finger knuckle. After a lengthy conversation with manager Matt Quatraro and head athletic trainer Kyle Turner, Perez exited the game with a left middle finger contusion and was labeled as day-to-day.

“It was shaking,” Quatraro said. “He got hit pretty good right on the knuckle. He doesn’t like to come out.”

The good news is that the X-rays came back negative for fractures, and Perez is already thinking about being in the lineup on Wednesday. The Royals' captain wants to do everything he can to turn around the 2023 season and the club's historically bad 1-13 record at home. Tuesday marked their 10th consecutive loss at The K this season, matching the second-longest home losing streak in franchise history, trailing only the 11-game skids from May 6-June 4, 2013, and Sept. 21, 2011-April 23, 2012.

“If we don’t win, it’s like I didn’t do anything,” Perez said. “In here, it’s about winning or losing. It’s not about one guy.”

Perez, at least, did his part Tuesday. In his 15th career multihomer game, he hit 843 feet of homers -- launching blasts in consecutive at-bats in the sixth and seventh innings as part of a four-homer night for the Royals. , who hit his first career leadoff homer, and also homered in the first inning to put Kansas City up three early.

That lead evaporated by the fourth inning.

began the game with five consecutive strikeouts and retired the first 10 batters. Facing the Orioles' lineup for the second time produced far different results.

Yarbrough allowed five runs in the fourth inning and walked off the mound having gotten just two outs and seeing eight consecutive Orioles reach base (the second out came on the bases). The Royals lefty walked three that inning, including left-handed batter Gunnar Henderson with two outs and the game tied.

“So much happened that inning it took me some time to come in after and decompress, really think about what did I do, what was wrong, what was working, what can you look at,” Yarbrough said. “The big thing I keep coming back to is those three walks. … They really tried to wait me out a little bit, maybe put themselves in different positions.”

The O’s tagged for two runs, for three and for one, and Royals pitchers walked eight on Tuesday night. They needed 213 pitches to get 27 outs.

The seven-run deficit was too big for the Royals to overcome, although it was not for a lack of effort; they scored in the sixth on Perez’s homer and in the seventh on ’s double and Perez’s second homer of the night.

“[Perez is] a special player,” Quatraro said. “He’s a guy that takes a lot of pride in what he’s doing. It would have been easy for him, we were down [10-3], but the at-bats he continues to put together, the way he competes behind the plate is a real model for our guys to follow.”

Perez was the only Royals position player over 27 years old in the lineup on Tuesday night. In a season meant to evaluate the young talent the Royals have in the Major Leagues, Perez is the steady leader.

There are not many things that will keep him down.

“He’s the leader of this team, leader of this clubhouse,” Yarbrough said. “We feed off him. Catcher is a tough position, your body gets beat up in general, so for him to bring that energy when he takes a beating like that is huge. … We’re trying to do more for him. It’s just not going our way right now. Especially as a starter and pitching staff, when you’re able to score seven runs, you’re hoping to win those games. That’s really on me that we lost this game.”