Kansas City right-hander Jorge Lopez pitched eight perfect innings before allowing a baserunner Saturday night, and the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Lopez, in only his seventh career start, flirted with history, retiring the first 24 Twins he faced. Max Kepler led off the ninth and induced a walk on a 3-1 count to break up the perfect game bid.
There have only been 23 perfect games recorded in major league history — the last one by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez on Aug. 15, 2012, against Tampa Bay.
Robbie Grossman, the next batter, broke up Lopez’s no-hit bid, lacing a single to center. That ended Lopez’s night. The former top-100 prospect left the game having thrown 110 pitches while striking out four.
Wily Peralta relieved Lopez and got Ehire Adrianza to hit a sacrifice fly out to center, scoring Kepler. Joe Mauer lined out to left, and Peralta preserved the win for Lopez (2-4) by getting Jorge Polanco to line out to right.
The Royals acquired Lopez from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Mike Moustakas deal ahead of the trade deadline. Heading into Saturday night’s game, Lopez had compiled a 1-3 record in four starts with a 5.66 ERA for the Royals.
Minnesota starter Jose Berrios almost matched Lopez pitch-by-pitch through the first five innings. The only runners he allowed came in the second inning, when he loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single by Ryan O’Hearn.
Berrios got out of the jam by inducing Rosell Herrera to fly out to center.
The Royals did nick Berrios for a run in the sixth inning. Adalberto Mondesi bunted his way on and stole second and third. He scored the game’s first run on Hunter Dozier’s RBI single.
Berrios’ night was over, and he was replaced by Tyler Duffey in the top of the seventh inning. Kansas City promptly added three runs off Duffey and fellow reliever Andrew Vasquez.
Jorge Bonifacio led off with a double, and after a strikeout and a groundout, Whit Merrifield drove Bonifacio in with a single to center. Mondesi doubled to deep right to score Merrifield to give the Royals a 3-0 lead.
Alex Gordon greeted Vasquez, who came in to replace Duffey, with a single to score Mondesi. Dozier struck out swinging to end the inning.
Berrios (11-11) suffered the loss despite being charged just the one run on three hits. He struck out five and walked two.
—Field Level Media