The milestone crept closer every time Salvador Perez came to the plate.
Perez knocked four hits in the Royals’ 10-3 loss to the Angels Monday night at Kauffman Stadium, but none was bigger than his third. It was career hit No. 1,000 for the longtime Royals catcher, and it also helped spark a three-run sixth inning.
With one out and two runners on base, the Royals had their first real opportunity against Angels starter Alex Cobb, who had 10 strikeouts entering the sixth inning and had thrown just 65 pitches, baffling Royals hitters with his splitter.
The Royals made him throw 32 pitches to get two outs in the sixth inning, and eight of those were to Perez, who fouled off four splitters and took two for balls before ripping the sixth one he saw into left field to give the Royals their first run of the night.
The only thing that spoiled Perez’s milestone night was the Royals’ ugly loss to open the three-game series. Three of the 10 runs the Angels scored were unearned, with two in the first inning on wild throws by center fielder Michael A. Taylor to third base and starter Brady Singer to home. In the fifth inning, Singer got the ground ball he wanted against designated hitter Shohei Ohtani with two outs and runners on the corners, but shortstop Nicky Lopez couldn’t field it cleanly and saw a run score. The Royals ran into bad-luck defense all night, with close misses in the outfield on right fielder Kyle Isbel and left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
The offensive life that Perez and Jorge Soler — who snapped a seven-strikeout streak with a two-run single — breathed into the Royals was deflated when three Royals relievers were needed to get through the top of the seventh as the Angels widened their lead to four. The game unraveled in the top of the ninth with another three runs scored off Jake Newberry.