Perez hits 5th HR of road trip, Royals drop Mariners 6-4

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SEATTLE (AP) — Salvador Perez hit his fourth career grand slam and the Kansas City Royals beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Thursday night.

Perez’s 35th home run fueled a five-run sixth inning during which the team batted around and helped the Royals snap the Mariners’ three-game winning streak.

It was the catcher’s fifth homer in seven games on Kansas City’s current road trip. The Royals have won five of those seven.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Jake Fraley’s bases-loaded walk, his fourth of the year. Kyle Seager made it 2-0 with a solo homer in the fifth, tying his career high with his 30th home run.

Starter Brad Keller grabbed the area behind his right elbow and called for a trainer after the homer. He left the game with what the team called posterior right shoulder discomfort and will be re-evaluated Friday. Reliever Joel Payamps entered the game, and after striking out Ty France, he gave up a single to Abraham Toro and a homer to Fraley, making 4-0.

The Royals answered in the sixth with three consecutive hits off starter Yusei Kikuchi (7-8) to begin the inning. They cut the lead to 4-1 on Whit Merrifield’s RBI single. Kikuchi loaded the bases with a walk and then was replaced with reliever Joe Smith (2-2).

Perez's no-doubt homer off the left-field scoreboard made it 5-4. Emmanuel Rivera added an insurance run in the seventh, reaching on second baseman Toro’s fielding error, stealing second and scoring on Lopez’s single.

Ervin Santana (1-1) pitched two innings with two strikeouts for the win.

Perez and Seager lead the AL with 14 home runs apiece since the All-Star break. Perez is now tied with Gary Gaetti for fifth-most home runs in a season in Royals history.

VETERAN ARM

Seattle claimed LHP Sean Doolittle off waivers from Cincinnati, adding a veteran arm to its bullpen to help with its wild-card run. Doolittle, a 34-year-old former closer for the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals, has 446 career relief appearances since 2012, 10th among all active left handers, and 112 saves. He’s 3-1 this season with a 4.46 ERA in 45 appearances.

The Mariners optioned RHP Keynan Middleton to Triple-A Tacoma to make room on the roster.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: RHP Josh Staumont went to the injured list with an undisclosed ailment, likely meaning he has entered COVID-19 protocols. Manager Mike Matheny said he could not give a reason for Staumont’s absence. The team selected RHP Scott Blewett from Triple-A Omaha to replace him on the roster.

Mariners: LHP Justus Sheffield (left forearm strain) worked out of the bullpen during his rehab assignment Thursday night and will be used as a reliever when he returns to the lineup. Manager Scott Servais said he’s happy with the starting rotation the Mariners are fielding as they make a wild-card run, and believes Sheffield can make a valuable contribution in a relief role. He likely will have at least one more rehab appearance at Triple-A Tacoma before returning to the team. … CF Kyle Lewis (right meniscus surgery) could begin a rehab assignment in Tacoma as soon as this weekend, Servais said.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (4-6, 4.94) returns to the mound after earning his first road win since May 28th last Saturday.

Mariners: Seattle is 11-6 with rookie RHP Logan Gilbert (5-5, 4.13) in the starting lineup.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Chris Talbott, The Associated Press

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