KANSAS CITY — The neck contusion that prevented Salvador Perez from catching Saturday night’s game against the White Sox did not slow him down at the plate. At all.
The slugger launched his 39th and 40th home runs of the season in the Royals’ 10-7 loss at Kauffman Stadium, reaching another major milestone in a season full of them for Perez.
A day after taking a spiked sinker to the neck, Perez was back in the lineup, originally as the catcher but switched to the designated hitter after realizing his catching gear pushed against the spot on his neck where the ball hit him. Perez didn’t waste any time making his presence felt.
Perez’s 40 home runs now rank second in the Majors this season, three behind American League MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani.
After the Royals got on the board in the third inning, Perez crushed a two-run homer to straightaway center for his 39th of the season. That brought the Royals within three of the White Sox, who had built a six-run lead off starter Daniel Lynch in 2 2/3 innings — the shortest start for the lefty since he was recalled in late July.
The Royals were down 9-3 in the fifth when Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez knocked back-to-back two-out singles, bringing Perez to the plate. Chicago reliever Michael Kopech threw a 98.8 mph fastball at Perez’s hands, yet he yanked a moonshot over the left-field fence.