July 12, 2024

Perez highlights 5-run, 2-out rally in eighth with RBI double as Royals rally to beat Marlins, 5-1

Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez celebrates after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Monday, June 12, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez highlighted a five-run, two-out rally in the eighth inning with a go-ahead double down the left-field line, and the Kansas City Royals went on to beat the Miami Marlins 5-1 on Wednesday to pick up the series win.

Angel Zerpa (1-0) got the final two outs of the eighth in relief of Brady Singer, who allowed an RBI single to Vidal Bruján in the second inning but little else on a sunny afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. James McArthur handled the ninth to finish it off.

“Just incredible,” Singer said. “For those guys to grind back, that’s how we’re going to win games.”

Indeed, Kansas City had been shut down by Valente Bellozo and the Miami bullpen until the eighth, when Bobby Witt Jr. started the rally with a triple off Huascar Brazoban (0-1). Vinnie Pasquantino followed with a tying single, and after pinch runner Dairon Blanco swiped second, Perez delivered the double that gave Kansas City the lead.

Nick Loftin added an RBI single and Freddy Fermin drove in two more runs to provide McArthur some breathing room.

“We had been pretty dead offensively,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “Two outs, nobody on, right? Just the quality of what they were swinging at, too. The guys put some really good swings on it.”

The outbreak came after Kansas City had scored two runs or fewer in five of its last seven games.

“Momentum is huge, and that’s who we are,” Witt said. “It was just a matter of time.”

Singer allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five, though he again was victimized by poor run support: The Royals have scored two runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts, and he has not won since May 19 against Oakland.

“The efficiency of him was the most impressive thing,” said Quatraro, whose team had lost four straight series and been 2-7 in series-deciding games this season. “He wanted to keep going. He had it in his mind that he was going to carry us.”

Meanwhile, Bellozo was dominant in his big league debut for Miami, pitching five innings of two-hit ball.

The only bit of trouble the 24-year-old from Mexico ran into came in the second inning, and it wasn’t entirely his fault: Hunter Renfroe hit a two-out single, then Bruján lost Fermin’s popup in the sun and it landed for a double. But Bellozo promptly struck out Garrett Hampson to leave the runners on second and third.

He then retired his final 10 hitters before getting a swarm of high-fives in the Marlins dugout.

“I had a lot of adrenalin, a little nervous, but we controlled the game and did a really good job,” Bellozo said. ”Play with the zone, attack with the breaking balls and make all my pitches work.”

ROSTER MOVES

Marlins: LHP Kent Emanuel was designated for assignment to clear space for Bellozo on the roster. Emanuel had allowed eight runs, seven earned, while appearing in five games this season.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Head to Philadelphia to open a four-game series Thursday night with Trevor Rogers (1-8, 4.90 ERA) on the mound.

Royals: Welcome Cleveland to town Thursday night with RHP Michael Wacha (4-6, 4.07) getting the start.