MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Salvador Perez and the Kansas City Royals have been off to a slow start in defense of their World Series championship.
Now that Perez has found his swing, the Royals appear primed to go on a run.
Perez had a career-high five hits, including a double, a triple and an RBI, to lead the Royals to a 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
“I think everyone is trying to do the best they can do. It’s a long season,” said Perez, who has hit safely in nine straight games. “Sometimes it will be tough and sometimes it’s a night like tonight.”
Paulo Orlando added three hits and two RBI in the rain-delayed game for the Royals, who put All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon on the disabled list on Monday with a fractured right wrist.
Ricky Nolasco (1-3) gave up six runs on eight hits and struck out three in 2 2/3 innings for the Twins (11-33), who have the worst record in the majors.
“I put the team in a big hole early and that’s never good, especially with the situation we’re in right now,” Nolasco said.
Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Ian Kennedy, whose outing was cut short thanks to the 41-minute rain delay in the third inning.
The Royals pounded out 17 hits and Omar Infante drove in three runs. Perez was the first Royal with five hits in a game since Billy Butler in 2013.
“We needed that,” manager Ned Yost said. “Especially with this rain delay.”
Joe Mauer had three hits, including a solo home run in the first inning for the Twins.
Manager Paul Molitor gave slumping veteran Brian Dozier the night off, the latest in a series of moves aimed at igniting the Twins’ stagnant offense. They put two on the board in the first inning, but Nolasco gave it right back.
The Royals tied the game in the second and put four on the board in the third, with a two-run single from Jarrod Dyson putting them up 6-2.
Nolasco failed to pitch three full innings for the fourth time in his 44 starts for the Twins.