DETROIT — Salvador Perez has increased his home run total every year of his career. The Kansas City Royals catcher reached another milestone on Wednesday.
Perez smacked two homers for his fourth career multi-homer game, and the Kansas City Royals manhandled the Detroit Tigers 13-2 at Comerica Park.
Perez, who drove in three runs, has three home runs over the past three games. He has a career-high 24 homers this season after blasting 22 last season. He never had more than 17 in his first four seasons but has reached the 20-homer mark each of the past three years.
“Every year, I feel you’re doing something different than the year before, something special for yourself,” Perez said. “I feel happy about that.”
Kansas City leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield also delivered some thunder with three doubles. He scored twice and knocked in three runs for the Royals (69-69), who took two of three in the series.
“He’s been kind of an igniter at the top of the order, but there was plenty of praise to go around from an offensive standpoint,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Alcides Escobar supplied four hits, two runs and an RBI for Kansas City.
Royals starter Jason Hammel (8-10) gave up two runs on nine hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked just two, pleasing his manager by throwing 73 of his 111 pitches for strikes.
“That’s most of it, and he pounded it with a really good fastball with good action on it and a really good slider,” Yost said. “At times, the slider was inconsistent, but when it was good, it was really, really good.”
Hammel’s efforts also helped preserve some bullpen arms for a pivotal four-game series against Minnesota, one of the teams the Royals are chasing for a wild-card spot. The Twins, who hold the second American League wild-card position, are 2 1/2 games up on Kansas City.
“Our bullpen was really thin,” Yost said. “Our bullpen’s had, pretty much all of them, one day off for the most part. It’s really big to protect our lefties with the big series against Minnesota coming up. They’ve got a lot of switch hitters, a lot of left-handed hitters. Having all our lefties with two days’ rest is going to be a big benefit for us.”
Detroit starter Matthew Boyd (5-9) allowed four runs on seven hits in six-plus innings. Ian Kinsler hit a solo homer for the Tigers (59-80), who have lost six of their past seven.
The game was tied at 2 before Kansas City’s four-run, seventh-inning outburst.
Alex Gordon poked an opposite-field double to score Escobar, who led off the inning with a double. Boyd was removed for Warwick Saupold, who promptly gave up a run-scoring double to Merrifield. Lorenzo Cain brought home Merrifield with a single. The Royals scored another run on a passed ball.
“I thought (Boyd) threw the ball well,” Detroit catcher James McCann said. “A little tough luck in his last inning with the double by Gordon. He placed it in perfectly. But other than that, (Boyd) took another step in the right direction tonight.”
Merrifield and Eric Hosmer smacked two-run doubles and Perez hit a two-run shot during the Royals’ seven-run eighth.
“Today was a good game until the sixth,” Kinsler said. “It was a 2-2 game. I thought Boyd pitched well, Hammel threw the ball pretty well, and then after that, the wheels kind of fell off.”
Perez homered in the second inning to put the Royals on the board. Kansas City added another run in the inning on Escobar’s two-out, RBI triple.
John Hicks scored on Mike Moustakas’ error in the fourth for Detroit’s first run.
Kinsler tied it when he smoked the first pitch he saw in the fifth into the left field stands.
NOTES: Kansas City 3B Mike Moustakas left the game in the seventh due to right lateral knee irritation. ... Tigers SS Jose Iglesias was placed on the three-day paternity list on Wednesday. He is expected to rejoin the team during its weekend series in Toronto. ... Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez departed after facing one batter against Kansas City on Tuesday with a right calf contusion but could return this weekend. Sanchez might start against Toronto on Sunday, manager Brad Ausmus announced. ... C Salvador Perez’s second-inning homer gave Kansas City 169 for the season, a franchise record. The Royals hit 168 in 1987.