Salvador Perez. He is a destroyer of worlds. But more specifically, he is a destroyer of Minnesota Twins. A few days after becoming the most prolific visiting home run hitter in the history of Target Field, Sal set his sights on destroying Minnesota on his own turf. Like King Ghidorah rolling into Boston as a literal hurricane, Perez looked at the Twins' desire to win a series in Kansas City and single-handedly told them to.
For the 2nd time in as many nights, Perez hit two home runs in a single game, leading the Royals to victory in a wild back and forth 6-5 win over the Twins.
Both squads exchanged homers in the first inning, courtesy of Josh Donaldson and Salvador Perez’s first homers of the night. Sal’s homer was an absolute tank, traveling 456 to the opposite field. It was also a well-timed night, further affirming what I wrote this morning.
The first inning was very indicative of the rest of the game, as the Royals and Twins traded blows throughout the middle innings. Kansas City’s offense stayed hot, jumping out to the lead four times from the 3rd through the 7th, but each time Minnesota had a response.
It began in the 3rd, with the Royals loading the bases for a red-hot Perez. Sal bailed out Twins starter J.A. Happ by striking out swinging on a ball out of the zone, but then returned the favor by plunking Andrew Benintendi with his next pitch to give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota tied it back up in the 4th before a Hunter Dozier home run took back the lead to start the bottom half of the 4th. A Whit Merrifield sac fly added another run for good measure, upping the lead to 4-2.
Up until this point, Kris Bubic had labored but kept the Royals in the game. He had also gotten through five innings in his last five games. Unfortunately, that ended with a rough 4th inning. The Twins led off the inning with back-to-back doubles. Kyle Zimmer relieved Bubic with one out in the inning to face Miguel Sano, needing a strikeout.
Instead, he tied the game at 4-4 on a sac fly. Fortunately for the Royals, the unstoppable home run hitting machine formerly known as Salvador Perez led off the bottom of the 5th, this time depositing the first pitch of the inning into the right-field seats. It was his 2nd consecutive multi-home run game and his 4th homer in his last five plate appearances.
The homer was Sal’s 14th on the season, good for 6th in baseball and well on his way to a career-high. Zimmer gave the Royals a clean 6th before adding the ball off to Jakob Junis in the 7th, who continued to struggle, giving up a game-tying homer to Donaldson. It was Donaldson’s 2nd homer of the night and the third time in his last five appearances that Junis has given up runs.
And in a game filled with home runs and fireworks, it would ultimately be decided in the 7th inning on a lazy fly ball dropped thanks to a miscommunication between Gilberto Celestino and Trevor Larnach. The dropped fly ball allowed the game-winning run to score in Jarrod Dyson, giving the Royals a 6-5 lead.
It was also an inning that showed us precisely what speed do. Dyson put himself into scoring position by stealing second after being inserted as a pinch-runner for Carlos Santana. He then took advantage of a lazy throw from Celestino to score on an error that shouldn’t have resulted in a run.
It was a bad showing by the Twins outfield and cost them a baseball game.
Royals manager Mike Matheny asked Scott Barlow to record his 2nd six-out save of the season just a day after pitching 1.2 innings. He responded by shutting down the Twins comeback effort with two hitless innings, getting Donaldson to ground into a double play to end the game.
This further proves that even when Donaldson plays well, nothing ever goes well for him in Kansas City. The win brings the Royals to 28-26 on the season, making them winners of four straight games and in 10 of their last 14.
Up Next: Kansas City Royals v. Minnesota Twins, Friday, June 4, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Brad Keller (5-4, 5.68 ERA) v. Matt Shoemaker (2-6, 5.90 ERA)