Perez homers, Royals hold off Twins 4-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Salvador Perez started his fifth straight All-Star Game, though it was more for his reputation than what he’s done offensively this season.
That could be changing.
The Royals won back-to-back games for the first time since May 29-30.
Perez belted his 14th homer with Mike Moustakas aboard in the first. Perez hit a 2-2 pitch from Lance Lynn out to right, only his third opposite-field homer this season.
”That’s a sign,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. ”His bats tonight were fantastic. He was taking pitches, seeing the ball really well, getting in good hitter’s counts. That’s when he is starting to come out of it. He gets just a little less anxious and starts seeing the ball better, like he did tonight.
”I turned to (hitting coach) Terry Bradshaw and Pedro (Grifol, catching coach) and said, `He’s coming now. He’s going to get hot.’ “
Perez has 11 RBIs in his past seven games and is batting .303 in an eight-game hitting streak.
”I hit it good,” Perez said. ”I’m closer to doing my best every day. It makes me feel better for the next day.”
Joe Mauer led off the game with his 415th double, breaking a tie with Kirby Puckett to move into first place on the Twins’ career list. He scored on Eddie Rosario’s single.
”It means a lot to me, obviously, growing up in Minnesota,” Mauer said. ”The guy I passed I idolized as a kid. I told the guys in here after Molly (Paul Molitor) gave me the ball, that it was pretty special to see the boys acknowledge that on the top step of the dugout. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come.”
Lynn matched his career high with six walks and the Royals fouled off a plethora of pitches to hike his pitch count to 118 for five innings.
”It’s a little bit annoying, especially when everybody knows what you’re throwing and they can’t put it in play,” Lynn said. ”You’re like, `Let’s go.’ When I did make a pitch, they got a couple of runs on balls out of the zone that weren’t bad pitches.”
Jakob Junis, who was making his first start in 19 days after a stint on the disabled list with a bad back, held the Twins to one run and four hits while striking out six over four innings. He had lost his seven previous starts, one shy of the club record.
Flynn (2-1) replaced Junis and limited the Twins to one hit while striking out four.
Wily Peralta worked a spotless ninth for his third save in three chances.
Twins: DH-1B Logan Morrison (hip impingement) was activated from the disabled list after the game. The Twins optioned IF Willians Astudillo to Triple-A Rochester.
Royals: LHP Enny Romero was designated for assignment to make roster room for Junis. In four relief appearances with the Royals, Romero had a 20.25 ERA.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (surgery, right middle finger) had his velocity top out at 90 mph and was working in the upper 80s in his Friday rehab start with Triple-A Rochester. ”A lot of emphasis is made about velocity, probably too much so,” Molitor said. ”The command was the highlight, the strike-throwing, getting the ball where he wanted.” Santana will throw a bullpen session Sunday with Rochester and a decision will be made on whether to give him another minor league start or have him start Wednesday in Toronto.
Royals: RHP Blaine Boyer (right lower back strain) threw a 26-pitch simulated game Saturday. ”He had life on his pitches, a good cutter,” Yost said. ”He’s making progress.” Boyer has not pitched since May 28. ”I felt free and loose,” Boyer said. Boyer said he hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment soon. ”I need to get in a game and go,” he said. ”I’m getting anxious.”
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi is 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in six career starts against the Royals.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller, a Rule 5 pick from Arizona, will make his ninth start.