CLEVELAND (AP) – Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for home runs for a catcher in a season. And the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 7-2 on Monday night in the first game of a doubleheader.
Perez hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, surpassing Bench’s 1970 total to record the most for a player who played at least 75% of his games as a catcher.
“It was incredible,” he commented. “I thank God for this. It’s amazing.”
Starting again behind the plate – the star has also served as a designated hitter – Pérez sent a 1-2 pitch by Triston McKenzie into the left field stands, a slam that traveled 429 feet. Pérez pointed to the sky after crossing the plate and was hugged by several of his companions when entering the booth.
Perez also tied Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead in home runs. The Venezuelan leads the majors with 115 RBIs.
Royals manager Mike Matheny considered it an honor to have witnessed that.
“It’s hard to take in, to be honest,” Matheny said. “The long history of this sport and how many incredible players have passed. For him, doing something that no one else has done is amazing.”
For the Royals, Venezuelan Pérez 4-2 with one run scored and two RBIs. The Dominican Carlos Santana 3-0.
For the Indians, the Dominicans José Ramírez 2-1 with two RBIs, Franmil Reyes 3-1. Venezuelan Andrés Giménez 3-0. The Colombian Oscar Mercado 3-0.