HOUSTON (AP) Fresh off winning the MVP award in the World Series, Salvador Perez kept waiting for his first real big hit of 2016.
On Wednesday night, he delivered.
Perez tagged Houston reliever Ken Giles for a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals over the Astros 4-2 Wednesday night.
The champion Royals have taken two of the three from the team they beat in the decisive Game 5 of the AL Division Series last October. This four-game set wraps up Thursday.
“I have struggled a little, but every time I go to hit, I try to do the best I can do to do something to help us win,” Perez said.
Giles (0-1) retired the first two batters in the eighth before walkingAlex Gordon on a full count. Perez followed with a drive off the facade above the Crawford Boxes in left field for his first homer of the year.
“He got a slider and he didn’t miss it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Giles has given up three home runs in four games, and flung his glove in the dugout after this latest shot. He was acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason after giving up a total of three homers in 113 games over the past two years.
“Nothing happened to Giles, it’s more a mistake at the wrong time to the wrong hitter and he took advantage of it,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said.
The Royals scored twice in the sixth following pitcher Scott Feldman‘s error. Feldman fielded Kendrys Morales‘ dribbler and overthrew first base, allowing Lorenzo Cain to score before Perez hit a sacrifice fly.
Royals starter Yordano Ventura gave up one run on four hits with six strikeouts in six innings. He walked three after walking six in his first outing.
Royals: OF Jarod Dyson (right oblique strain) went 1 for 4 in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha after playing a full nine innings on Tuesday. Dyson is 4 for 13 in four games. Yost said Dyson will be back soon but doesn’t know exactly when.
Astros: Max Stassi, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list after undergoing surgery to remove the hook on the top of his left hamate bone, is taking a few days off from his rehab in Florida because of oblique soreness. It is not an injury but more of a delay in his day-to-day work for a couple of days, Hinch said.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (1-0) will start the finale of the four-game series Thursday in Houston. He will try to repeat his first outing of the season after he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Minnesota Saturday.
Astros: RHP Doug Fister (1-0) will make his first home start for the Astros after earning a win in his first outing of the year, allowing three runs in five innings Saturday against Milwaukee.
GATTIS BEHIND THE PLATE
Coming back from a sports hernia injury, Houston’s Evan Gattis has been working since the winter on different aspects of the catching position. The last time Gattis caught was with the Atlanta Braves in 2014.
“I’m a little anxious to get back there,” Gattis said. “I don’t know what the timetable is but I’m excited to get in a big league game.”
Gattis said he expects to catch a bullpen session on Thursday and could catch in a game in the next few weeks.
Soria’s save was his first since Aug. 2, 2015, against Cincinnati as a member of the Pirates, but it was also his first as a Royal since 2011 when he had 28 saves in 35 chances. Soria, who is third in club history with 161 saves, said his parents flew in from Mexico to see the game.