Salvy Perez sets tone as Kansas City Royals end series vs. Oakland Athletics with win

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The mood inside the Royals’ clubhouse had a different vibe before Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics. The speakers blared hits by Taylor Swift, late 2000s pop classics and even the High School Musical soundtrack.

The Royals certainly didn’t look like a team that was tied for the worst record in baseball. Players were relaxed, talkative and excited to take on the A’s again at Kauffman Stadium.

That pre-game energy carried onto the field as the Royals (9-26) avoided a sweep, beating Oakland 5-1.

“It was a great win today,” said Salvador Perez, who got things started with a first-inning home run. “We have to come in tomorrow and try to do the same thing. Play hard and see what happens until the last out.”

The game featured a fine pitchers’ duel that ended early due to injury. Royals starter Ryan Yarbrough exited in the sixth inning after taking a sharp liner to the face on a ball laced by Oakland first baseman Ryan Noda.

Yarbrough had stifled the Athletics’ bats to that point. The lefty’s final line was 5 2/3 innings with just one run allowed — he threw 66 pitches, 49 for strikes, and issued no walks. The A’s managed just three hits against him, scoring their lone run in the fourth.

“That was what I’m used to seeing a lot out of him — vintage,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “A lot of strikes. A lot of soft contact. You see all the weak popups. Frustrating guys with being able to spin the ball and sneak in a fastball and (his) location. That’s really him in a nutshell, right there.”

But Athletics starter Mason Miller didn’t make many mistakes, either. He exited after six having given up six runs on five hits. He threw 98 pitches, 62 for strikes, and walked one.

The Royals got on the board in the first inning courtesy of Perez’s mammoth solo homer. They tacked on another in the fourth on a Maikel Garcia single.

Royals outfielder Nick Pratto double in the eighth, driving in two more, and before the inning ended, Michael Massey lofted a sacrifice fly in for the hosts’ final run.

Missed the last two games?

Game 1 of A’s series: Royals’ comeback attempt comes up short

Game 2 of A’s series: Former Royals pitcher gets a bit of revenge

Scary moment in the 6th

Noda’s 106 mph comebacker to the mound that struck Yarbrough in the face during the sixth inning led to some tense moments inside a hushed Kauffman Stadium.

Yarbrough eventually walked off the field with some help from the KC training staff. He was holding a towel to his face.

Carlos Hernandez relieved Yarbrough and got the Royals out of the inning.

The Royals tweeted shortly after the game that Yarbrough was alert and undergoing further medical evaluation.

Salvy’s tape-measure job

Thanks to Perez, the Royals didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard.

The All-Star catcher connected on a four-seam fastball from Miller, belting the ball out to deep left. According to Statcast, Perez hit the ball 462 ft. — the longest-tracked homer of his career.

“I hit the weight room before the game,” Perez said with a smile.

Up next

The Royals begin a three-game series against Chicago White Sox on Monday. Zach Greinke will face Chicago’s Dylan Cease in the opener.