The hottest hitter in baseball was at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday.
By PETE GRATHOFF The Kansas City Star
After going one for three with an RBI, Royals catcher Salvador Perez’s .400 average since Aug. 23 is the best in the major leagues over that span, during which he has six home runs and 24 RBIs.
“He’s having a great stretch,” manager Ned Yost said. “It couldn’t come at a better time for us. You want guys heating up when you’re in contention like we are right now to produce as much offense as we can to provide some breathing room if you will for our outstanding pitching staff.”
After missing time earlier in the season (bereavement leave, the seven-day concussion list and a bruised hip), Perez is in a good place.
“I’m feeling better right now,” Perez said. “I’m just doing in my job and working in the cage and doing what I can in a game.”
And it’s not just Perez’s bat that makes him valuable.
Perez, 23, gives Royals pitchers a sense of calm.
“He’s, if not the best, then one of the best catchers in the American League defensively and offensively, too,” said pitcher Aaron Crow. “It makes you feel great. It doesn’t matter if there’s a guy on third and you try and throw a slider in the dirt, you have 100 percent confidence that he’s going to field the ball no matter where you throw it.
“It doesn’t matter if Mike Trout is out there or Jarrod Dyson or Emilio Bonifacio if they were on the other team, you wouldn’t be them stealing a base, because he’s so good at catching and throwing the ball too.”
The Royals cleared space for starter Yordano Ventura on their 40-man roster by placing first baseman Carlos Pena on the 60-day disabled list after he had an appendectomy. Pena appeared in four games and struck out in all three of his plate appearances for the Royals.
Left-hander Danny Duffy (left forearm strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sept. 8. He will be eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 23.
Winning at home
Remember that 11-game home losing streak in May? How about that seven-game skid in games at The K in August?
Despite those brutal stretches, the Royals have already sewn up a winning home record. At 41-36, the Royals are guaranteed their first winning record at Kauffman Stadium since going 42-39 in 2000.
Two Royals affiliates won championships on Tuesday.
• Left-hander Chris Dwyer pitched one-hit ball over seven innings as Class AAA Omaha beat Durham 2-1 on Tuesday night in the Triple-A Championship game in Allentown, Pa.
Dwyer had eight strikeouts for the Storm Chasers, who won the Pacific Coast League title. Durham, the Rays’ affiliate, was the champion of the International League.
• Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls won 6-0 at Helena in game three of the Pioneer League Championship Series. The Chukars won two games to one.
• Shortstop Alcides Escobar saw his 10-game hitting streak end Tuesday.
• Third baseman Mike Moustakas had two doubles, which ties a career high. He’s done it five times, most recently July 23 against Baltimore. He has 24 RBIs since the All-Star break.
• Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, who was one for four with a walk, is hitting .345 at Kauffman Stadium since joining the Royals via a trade on Aug. 14.