First off, it doesn't appear to be serious. Royals catcher Salvador Perez exited the game early Wednesday after injuring his left thumb in the eighth inning. Yet, in the moments after a 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros at Kauffman Stadium, manager Ned Yost did not appear overly concerned about the ailing finger.
“He’s day to day,” Yost said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
The ailment, which Yost described as a “dinged” thumb, occurred while Perez was receiving a sinker from reliever Scott Alexander. When Houston’s Carlos Beltran struck out on a foul tip in the eighth, the baseball caught Perez’s thumb in an awkward fashion, Yost said.
“Alexander was throwing a tremendous sinker today,” Yost said. “When he struck out Beltran, the ball kind of caught (Perez) on the thumb and dinged his thumb a little bit.”
Reserve catcher Drew Butera replaced Perez in the ninth inning and finished the game. The Royals will conclude a four-game series against the Astros on Thursday night at Kauffman Stadium.
The bottom of the Royals order was especially productive, including second baseman Ramon Torres, called up earlier in the day and making his major league debut.
Torres sliced an RBI double in the fourth inning for his first major-league hit. He added a second hit, an infield single later in the game.
“Very special, he’ll never forget it,” said Royals coach Pedro Grifol, who was interpreting for Torres.
Cuthbert, Alcides Escobar and Torres — hitting 7-8-9 — contributed six hits and six RBIs, and got things started in the second inning off Diaz.
The first run scored in an unexpected way, with Salvador Perez legging home from first on Cuthbert’s double to left.
Perez had singled for the Royals first hit, and with two outs, Cuthbert doubled to the corner. Left fielder Josh Reddick was slow to make a play, and third-base coach Mike Jirschele waved Perez home.
Escobar followed with a sharp single to right that scored Cuthbert.
The Royals had answered the Astros, who got on the board in the second on Brian McCann’s solo home run to center. The blast extended Houston’s streak of games with a homer to 15 and was their major-league leading 94th this season.
Lorenzo Cain’s home run in the third inning, his fourth of the season, landed in about the same place.
Perez opened the fourth with a double off the wall in right center. Escobar poked his second RBI single to right, and Torres followed with his double to right field.
Jorge Bonifacio singled and Cain walked to open the fifth. Moustakas walked to load the bases, and two scored on Cuthbert’s single to right.
The Royals held off an uprising in the eighth when the Astros scored three, the final two on an Escobar error with the bases loaded. Kelvin Herrera closed it out for his 13th save.
Vargas, who improved to 8-3 and struck out five, won his third straight decision and remains among the American League leaders in several categories. He’s second to Keuchel in ERA at 2.18 and victories.
Drew Butera finished the game behind the plate after Perez took a pitch off his left thumb on a pitch from Scott Alexander in the eighth inning. Yost said Perez’s status is “day to day.”