Perez adds to Target Field legacy in loss

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Salvador Perez has found plenty of success in Minnesota over his eight-year career and punished Twins pitching once again on Friday. But it wasn't enough to carry the Royals to a win.

Perez, who owns the most home runs ever at Target Field by an opposing player, launched a three-run dinger in the third inning to finish off a Kansas City offensive outburst, but the Royals fell, 10-6, to the Twins in their series opener.

Kansas City batted around and unloaded six runs in the third to chase Minnesota starter Stephen Gonsalves. Alex Gordon smashed a two-run double to knot the game at 2. Jorge Bonifacio later added an RBI single to give Kansas City the lead.

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When Alan Busenitz came on in relief, Perez hammered a 1-2 fastball and sent it into the Royals' bullpen. It was his 17th long ball in 62 games at Target Field.

The six-time All-Star now has 24 homers on the season, the most among Major League catchers.

Perez's shot gave the Royals a 6-2 lead, but it didn't last long as Minnesota answered back with four runs of its own in the bottom of the third. Kansas City starter Heath Fillmyer yielded four consecutive hits to begin the inning, including a run-scoring double by Jake Cave that trimmed the Royals' lead to 6-4. Cave later scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

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Before Cave's double, Fillmyer suffered a bit of bad luck and gave up a pair of singles to Eddie Rosario and Logan Forsythe that, according to Statcast™, had a 35 percent and 16 percent chance of resulting in hits. Those came after Jorge Polanco put down a bunt single to lead off the inning.

"Really good bunt and two ground-ball base hits just out [of reach]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "If we had been over one step or two steps more, we would have made plays. The only ball that was hit really hard was Cave's double. … We just couldn't find a way to get the ball hit at somebody."

Minnesota tacked on three more runs in the fifth to take a 9-6 advantage as it tore into the Kansas City bullpen. Fillmyer tossed just 2 1/3 innings and the Royals needed to use five relievers to get through the rest of the game.

"Kind of just one of the days where it felt like everything found holes," Fillmyer said. "If I'm gonna take credit for myself, I didn't work ahead of everybody and I didn't work as well as I should have. Some of those things end up happening when you don't execute as fine as you want to. You get bloop hits and you get bleeders that kind of go between third and short. It felt like everything was kind of one step behind us. But that's part of the game and you've got to move forward."

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The Royals' bullpen held Minnesota in check for a stretch of two innings before Rosario padded the Twins' lead with a massive homer to right field in the eighth. In the ninth, Perez nearly went yard for the second time on the night, but left a soaring fly ball on the left-field warning track for the second out of the inning.

Perez now owns a .338 batting average in 240 career at-bats at Target Field. Among visiting players who have at least 200 career plate appearances at the ballpark, that is the third-highest mark in history, trailing only Detroit's Victor Martinez (.356) and Miguel Cabrera (.340).

The Royals will continue their three-game set with the Twins Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Jorge Lopez (1-4, 4.24 ERA) will get the start for the Royals, fresh off the best outing of his career. Lopez tossed seven innings and struck out eight while allowing one run against the Orioles on Sunday. Minnesota will counter with All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios (11-10, 3.92 ERA).

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