For the second consecutive Tuesday, Salvador Perez hit two home runs. Unlike last week, though, the Kansas City Royals won! Perez had some help from Hunter Dozier, who slapped a dong of his own—his second in the last two games—and the Royals came out on top 4-3 against the Minnesota Twins.
The Royals had their first scoring chance immediately. After a routine Whit Merrifield groundout, Mike Matheny’s lineup switcheroo worked like a charm. Nicky Lopez—batting second tonight, after batting ninth until now—hit a single that he legged out for a double. Salvador Perez, hitting fourth, worked a walk from a 1-2 count, his first of the year. Unfortunately, Andrew Benintendi struck out to end the inning.
Of course, you’ll notice that I skipped a spot in the order: third. Bobby Witt Jr. was bumped down a spot, but he struck out. This wasn’t Witt’s only time with men in scoring position that he wasted, or with men on base at all. Witt ended tonight’s contest 0 for 4, with five men left on base, three of them coming from an inning-ending double play ball with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Now, it’s not time to panic with Witt. But it is rather frustrating to see Witt be so thoroughly awful thus far in the young season. He is now hitting .139/.162/.250 this season, good enough for a cool wRC+ of 10, and is doing so at the top of the order. It has been unpleasant. Hopefully it gets better soon.
What has been pleasant, however, was the aforementioned trio of Royals home runs that propelled them to the lead. Salvador Perez hit two of them himself—one in the fourth inning for the Royals’ first run of the day, and another in the sixth inning to tie it up.
Not to be outdone, Hunter Dozier—fresh off a home run just two days earlier—absolutely freakin’ blasted a shot to the Royals Hall of Fame, and it was truly glorious. That gave the Royals a thin one-run lead.
Four runs almost wasn’t enough against the Twins, who were able to hound Carlos Hernandez all evening in the cold, rainy weather. Hernandez was fooling no one; he had no strikeouts in 4.1 innings today, and he had just one strikeout in 4.1 innings his first time out. For someone whose average fastball velocity is north of 95 MPH, that should, theoretically, not be happening. It’s very weird.
Hernandez was also betrayed by his defense in this one, specifically Merrifield, who had two chances to play hard hit balls well to his area of right field. Were they hard? Yeah. Would they be catches I expect a good right fielder to make? Yes, also.
Thankfully, four runs was all that were needed, because the Royals’ bullpen was nails. Amir Garrett, Jake Brentz, Collin Snider, Scott Barlow, and Josh Staumont blanked the Twins in 4.2 innings, striking out five along the way. It looked hairy there for a moment thanks to Staumont’s difficulty finding the strike zone, but he gutted it out and got the save.
The Royals are 4-5 and are third in the American League Central. They are also on a two-game winning streak. A win tomorrow would get them to 5-5 and .500. Let’s get it!