Salvador Perez leads Royals into homer-happy Baltimore

MLB

Salvador Perez has hit eight home runs in his last 11 games, including one in each of his last five road games. On Monday, he’ll lead the Kansas City Royals into Baltimore for the first game of a four-game series against the Orioles.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards has yielded the most home runs in the American League in 2021, the second most in Major League Baseball behind Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.

The Royals will send LHP Kris Bubic (4-6, 5.16 ERA) to the mound to face Baltimore’s LHP Zac Lowther (0-1, 10.80 ERA).

Perez homered again Sunday as the Royals defeated the White Sox 6-0 to win the three-game series, and the season series, 10-9.

Sunday’s blast was Perez’s 41st of the season, second in MLB behind Shohei Ohtani’s 43.

The home run by Perez traveled 448 feet to the second level of fountains in right field. According to Statcast, it was the fifth-longest opposite-field home run since 2015. Perez now has 193 home runs in his career, tied for third with Amos Otis in franchise history.

“Most of us could stand in right field with a fungo and not hit it up there,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “When it came off the bat it just looked different. I don’t know how else to say it. I’m sure glad he’s on our side.”

It was also his 20th homer since the All-Star break and 22nd home run at home. Both totals are the most in the majors this season.

The task of slowing down Perez falls first on Lowther, who is expected to be activated from the injured list. Lowther will be making his second career start, and the first one did not go well. He picked up his only loss on May 8 against Boston when he allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Lowther has also battled injuries. On the IL since late July with a left-shoulder strain, Lowther went four innings and allowed two unearned runs on five hits and one walk at Double-A Bowie in his third rehab start on Aug. 26.

The Orioles also won their most recent series, this one in the Bronx against the Yankees. It was their first series win in Yankee Stadium since the first series of 2019. They’re 7-9 vs. the Yankees in 2021, their most wins against a single opponent this year. A remarkable 16 percent of Baltimore’s wins on the season have come against New York.

“It just kind of goes back to us having faith in each other,” said Cedric Mullins, who had a two-run home run as part of the Orioles’ comeback in Sunday’s 8-7 win. “We always felt like we were very competitive, it just didn’t show at times, and we had pretty bad stretches at the same time. To come in and play well with the pressure on and come out on top is a great feeling.”

Mullins is the third Orioles player (Don Baylor and Reggie Jackson) to hit 25 homers and steal 25 bases in a single season.

Bubic has been both spectacular and ineffective this season. In his last victory, against the Cubs on Aug. 21, he had a no-hitter through six innings when an approaching thunderstorm caused the umpire to call for the tarp, even though no rain fell. When he came back, he gave up his only hit of the game, a two-run home run to Patrick Wisdom.

In his next start against Cleveland, he allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

He has pitched against the Orioles once, going six innings and giving up one run on July 17.

–Field Level Media

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