Perez Enjoys Big Night as the Royals Hammer Struggling Wainwright in 12-8 Win over the Cardinals

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, right, celebrates with Edward Olivares (14) after hitting a solo home run during the second inning of a baseball game St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez went 4 for 4 with a home run and four RBIs as the Kansas City Royals clobbered a struggling Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 12-8 on Friday night.

Bobby Witt Jr. hit a three-run homer and Nelson Velazquez went deep in his first at-bat with the Royals, who won their seventh straight home game.

In an interleague matchup of last-place teams, Kansas City jumped out to a 9-0 lead before letting the Cardinals back in the game. Willson Contreras finished 3 for 3 with a homer and five RBIs for St. Louis.

“It was pretty explosive (at the start),” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “They had a good plan. We know Wainwright is going to have a good curveball and I think they had a good plan hunting it. They made him pay for some mistakes.”

Wainwright (3-7) allowed eight runs and nine hits in one inning plus four batters. In his last seven starts, the 41-year-old right-hander is 0-6 with a 14.87 ERA in 23 innings. He remained two wins shy of 200.

“I didn’t have anything tonight,” Wainwright said. “I didn’t have good location and when I did they still found holes. This was a non-competitive day for me. Just really let our team down, let our fan base down today. Just got to get ready for next time.

“I just keep thinking I’m going to turn the corner and be great for this team down the stretch. I just let us down again. I deserve all the negative that I’m getting right now. I deserve it. I can stand up to that. I deserve it and I’ve just got to wear it and keep going.”

Angel Zerpa (1-1) won in relief despite allowing five runs and five hits in four innings.

St. Louis lost for the third time this season when scoring eight or more runs.

Kansas City scored quickly against Wainwright. Maikel Garcia extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff single, Witt reached on an infield single and Perez drove in both runners with a double.

MJ Melendez followed with an RBI double to right-center and scored on Edward Olivares’ single up the middle.

Velazquez led off the second with a home run, becoming the first Royals player to homer in his first at-bat with the club since Lucas Duda on opening day in 2018. Velazquez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline for pitcher José Cuas.

“I hit it pretty well,” Velazquez said. “I’ve got more, but at the end of the day I’m happy it went for a homer. This field is huge. The gap is 387 (feet). Wrigley is 365; this is 22 feet farther. I have to hit it hard.”

After Kyle Isbel and Garcia reached on singles, Witt homered to chase Wainwright. Garcia also exited the game with left upper-body discomfort.

The Royals added another run in the second on Perez’s opposite-field homer.

The veteran catcher was asked if any of his four hits stood out.

“The homer,” he said. “The oppo-taco.”

Contreras got the Cardinals on the board with a three-run double in the third. They got two more on a homer by Tyler O’Neill in the fifth and added another run in the sixth on an RBI double by Lars Nootbaar.

Perez’s fourth hit drove in Michael Massey in the seventh, and Matt Duffy drove in two runs with a single in the eighth.

Contreras launched a long two-run homer in the ninth.

With his fourth hit, Perez passed Alex Gordon for the Royals’ all-time lead in interleague hits with 211.

Kansas City opener Dylan Coleman hit the first batter he faced with a pitch and walked three others but didn’t allow a run in one hitless inning.