Perez homers in both games of doubleheader, Royals sweep Cardinals with 6-4 and 8-5 victories


ST. LOUIS — Salvador Perez homered in both games and MJ Melendez added a solo shot in the nightcap to help the Kansas City Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 for a sweep of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

Kansas City took the opener 6-4. The Royals have won three in a row to improve to 51-43 — a season after winning just 56 games.

Michael Wacha (6-6) went five innings for the victory in the second game. He pitched seven seasons in St. Louis (2013-2019) and was the MVP of the 2013 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This was his first start in St. Louis since leaving five years ago.

“There were definitely some emotions there,” Wacha said. “It was hard to treat it like just another start.”

Lars Nootbaar homered for St. Louis in the second game to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second.

Closer James McArthur picked up his 17th save of the season and second of the day. McArthur had not pitched over the previous six days and was ready for the two-game challenge.

“It was just one of those things where you just throw and see how you’re feeling,” McArthur said.

Perez led off the sixth with his 16th of season to pushed the lead to 6-4.

“He makes us go,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said about Perez. “The middle of the order is big for us and no one is bigger than Salvy.”

Perez was 3 for 7 with two homers and four RBI in the doubleheader. It was the second time in his career that he went deep in both games of the doubleheader. The first came on May 21, 2017 against Minnesota.

Melendez began the third with his 10th of the season.

Wacha gave up four runs on seven hits over over five innings. He had allowed two earned runs or fewer in his previous eight starts.

Kyle Isbel added a solo homer leading off the ninth for the Royals, who were playing their first day-night doubleheader since July 15, 2023.

Isbel says the group proved a point with the road sweep.

“It shows what kind of team that we have,” Isbel said. “It was a long day and you just have to stay locked in at all times.”

Bobby Witt Jr. highlighted Kansas City’s a two-run outburst in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly.

St. Louis rookie Gordon Graceffo (0-1) allowed four hits and three runs over 3 1/3 innings in his first start and second big league appearance.

Nootbaar returned to the lineup on Monday after missing 36 games with an oblique strain.

“At the end of the day, the wins would make you feel a lot better,” Nootbaar said.

Garrett Hampson drove in two runs with a double in the opener, while Hunter Renfroe added two hits for the Royals. Nolan Arenado, Alec Burleson and Paul Goldschmidt homered for the Cardinals in the first game.

Alec Marsh (7-6) gave up three runs and three hits in six innings to earn the victory. He struck out eight and walked one. Marsh retired the last 11 batters he faced

McArthur got the save after giving up a one-out solo home run to Goldschmidt and a two-out single to Arenado in the ninth inning.

Andre Pallante (4-4) pitched 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing this season. He took the loss, allowing four runs and six hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

Perez, who will play in the All-Star Game next week, hit a 424-foot homer onto the grass in center field with one out in the sixth, giving the Royals a 4-3 lead.

EXTRA PLAYERS

Royals: Recalled left-hander Walter Pennington from Triple-A Omaha to serve as their 27th man for the doubleheader. The 26-year-old made his big-league debut last week in Colorado, retiring both batters he faced.

Cardinals: Recalled right-hander Gordon Graceffo from Triple-A Memphis to serve as their 27th man for the doubleheader.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: C Iván Herrera (lower back tightness) caught a full nine innings Tuesday at Triple-A Memphis. He also hit a home run.

UP NEXT

Royals: Will open a three-game series at Boston on Friday. Neither team has announced a starter.

Cardinals: RHP Sonny Gray (9-5, 3.30) will open a four-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB



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