In two days here at Petco Park, Royals catcher Salvador Perez collected two meaningful career milestones.
In a 12-6 victory over the Padres on Saturday, Perez clubbed his 100th career homer off San Diego reliever Brad Hand during a nine-run eighth inning. The blast followed a game-tying two-run homer from Eric Hosmer and came just one day after he set the club record for most homers as a catcher, eclipsing the previous mark of 93 by former Royal Mike Macfarlane.
“It means a lot,” Perez said. “Thank god for the opportunity and thank God for everything.”
With 13 homers through the Royals’ first 61 games, Perez is on track to shatter his career high of 22, set in 2016. He is projected for 35 for the season, just shy of Steve Balboni’s franchise record mark of 36. He is also on pace to eclipse 20 homers for a third straight season.
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“When [Eric Hosmer] got his 1,000th hit, it’s like: ‘I couldn’t believe that I’ve seen Hos get 1,000 hits,’ ” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It’s like: It’s hard to believe I’ve seen Salvy hit 100 home runs. But it’s just special.”
As he sat in the corner of the clubhouse here at Petco Park, Perez offered a smile and went in search of his ball and bat from the milestone homer. In his seventh season, he had recorded his 100th homer in his 741st career game, becoming the fifth-youngest Royal to hit the number. On a day in which the Royals hit five homers, Perez joined Carlos Beltran, Billy Butler, John Mayberry and Eric Hosmer in the group.
“To be a catcher,” Hosmer said, “just the wear and tear on your legs, and obviously, you need more days [off], it’s really impressive.”