KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals’ Salvador Perez had spent the last three games on the bench, nursing his ailing right wrist. So when the All-Star catcher got the go-ahead to return to the lineup, he decided to prove — twice — that he was just fine.
Perez hit a towering homer to lead off a six-run second inning, then added a run-scoring double later in the frame, backing another strong performance by Johnny Cueto in Kansas City’s 9-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
“I guess it’s good,” Perez said of his wrist.
Cueto (9-7) allowed one run and eight hits over eight innings, striking out four without a walk. The former All-Star has only allowed six runs in four starts since his trade to Kansas City, including the shutout he tossed against the Tigers in his home debut earlier this week.
Jarrod Dyson celebrated his 31st birthday with three hits and three RBIs, and Ben Zobrist reached base four times, including three walks. Kansas City pounded out seven doubles as a team.
Luke Hochevar coughed up three runs in the ninth before finishing off the win.
“I think the whole offense did its job,” Dyson said. “We kept the line going.”
Matt Shoemaker (5-9) absorbed most of the damage for the Angels, the right-hander failing to make it through the second inning in his second consecutive disastrous start. Kansas City paraded 11 batters to the plate in a half inning that took 24 minutes.
Shoemaker had a stretch of 19 scoreless innings snapped Monday in Chicago, where the White Sox pounded him for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Royals got him for six runs in 1 2/3.
Los Angeles has now dropped 11 of its last 12 road games.
“It seemed like not one thing went right,” Shoemaker said. “I got only a couple of outs after all those runs scored. You’re trying to throw a quality pitch to get a guy out and no matter what you’re throwing up there, they were hitting it.”
Luke Hochevar coughed up three runs in the ninth before finishing for Kansas City, giving Ned Yost his 900th victory as a major league manager.
Albert Pujols ended a season-high 14-game streak without a homer in the second inning for Los Angeles — his 31st of the season, and his first hit in 10 at-bats this series. But the streaking Royals wasted no time matching the run, then blowing right past it.
Perez splashed his solo shot into the fountains in left field, an estimated 429 feet from home plate, to lead off the bottom half. Alex Rios walked, Paulo Orlando doubled and Dyson drove them both in with a single. By the time Eric Hosmer added a run-scoring single and Perez an RBI double in his second at-bat of the inning, the Royals had built a 6-1 lead.
After that, Cueto was simply pumping strikes.
The right-hander with the funky assortment of deliveries scattered singles in the third and fourth innings, and hit a batter in the fifth. But he never allowed a runner to reach second base after David Murphy was easily thrown out at home in the second inning.
“Pujols hit the home run and it kind of woke me up,” Cueto said. “It was time to roll.”
Royals manager Ned Yost earned his 900th victory. … There was a crowd of 39,251, the 18th sellout of the season for Kansas City. … Shoemaker is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in his career against the Royals. … The home run by Pujols was his first since July 29.
Angels: SS Erick Aybar (lower back) remained out of the lineup, though he did take grounders before the game. He could play Sunday. … OF Matt Joyce, who went on the concussion list July 27, will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Royals: OF Alex Gordon (groin strain) ran bases before the game. There is still no word on a rehab assignment, though he could be sent out in the coming week.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago has dominated Kansas City, going 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five career starts. He struggled against the White Sox his last time out.
Royals: RHP Yordano Ventura tossed six shutout innings in his last start against Detroit. He matched a season-high with eight strikes, though he also walked six.