Salvador Perez aims to lead Royals to sweep of Mariners

MLB Baseball

When Salvador Perez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning on Saturday, it wasn’t just long-suffering Seattle Mariners fans who thought it was a foregone conclusion he’d set a major-league record with a third grand slam in as many days.

“I’m surprised he didn’t hit another grand slam,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “I mean that’s just the kind of player he is right now. It’s unbelievable.”

Perez flied out in that at-bat, but he hit a two-run homer his next time up to lead the Royals to a 4-2 victory at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Kansas City will try to complete a sweep of the four-game series on Sunday afternoon.

Perez has helped to put a dent in Seattle’s hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2001, the longest drought in the four major professional sports. The Mariners dropped 5 1/2 games behind Boston in the chase for the American League’s second and final wild-card berth.

“He is seeing the ball very well right now, and he is getting great results,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Perez. “It happens. Guys get on a roll, they get on a hot streak and you try to make adjustments or stay away from them and you still make a mistake. And they’re not getting singles, they’re hitting homers.”

Perez has homered in each of his past four games, matching his career high set in 2017. He has 37 homers this season, second in the majors to the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. He’s hit 16 since the All-Star break, including seven on the Royals’ 10-game trip that concludes Sunday.

“The way I do it is I prepare myself every day to play and compete and try to win the game,” said Perez, who served as the designated hitter Saturday after catching all 12 innings in an 8-7 victory Friday night.

Whit Merrifield led off Saturday’s game with a homer off Mariners left-hander Tyler Anderson.

“A couple pitches that I obviously would like back that probably weren’t that bad of pitches, but they were too good at pitches to those guys right now, who are really swinging the bat hot,” Anderson said.

The Mariners left 13 runners on base Saturday, including 10 in the first five innings.

“It’s been a rough series against the Royals. The games have been very close, very competitive. They have gotten the big hits and we haven’t,” Servais said.

The Mariners will send left-hander Marco Gonzales (5-5, 4.13 ERA) to the mound Sunday in an effort to snap their skid. Gonzales is 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA over his past nine starts and 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five career appearances against Kansas City.

Royals right-hander Brady Singer (3-9, 5.07) is set to make his first career start against the Mariners.

Singer is 0-5 in 11 starts since his last victory on June 1. He sustained a 4-0 loss Tuesday at Houston after allowing four runs (one earned) in five innings.

–Field Level Media

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