KC Royals lose game, and maybe Salvador Perez, against Mets Sunday

Injury makes defeat harder to bear.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Just days after thankfully avoiding what could have been a disastrous infield collision during their runaway 13-3 series sweep-clinching victory over Houston Thursday, the KC Royals may not be so lucky after dropping Sunday's road game to the Mets 2-1.

The Royals, who entered Sunday's play with a slim half-game lead over Cleveland in the American League Central, ended the afternoon and headed for Chicago for a three-game series not knowing how badly star catcher Salvador Perez might be injured.

Perez's leadoff double in the second inning was Kansas City's only hit when, during a close play at the plate in the bottom of the fourth, New York's Starling Marte slid into him; a moment later, the Royals' eight-time All-Star left the field limping. Per Kansas City broadcaster Joel Goldberg, the in-game report from the club indicated Perez injured his left hip and groin on the play.

Backup catcher Freddy Fermin replaced Perez and finished the game. Omaha backstop Logan Porter, who's hitting well in Triple-A, is a likely candidate to replace Perez should he end up on the Injured List.

How serious are Salvador Perez's injuries?

How severe Perez's injuries are, and how long he might be out of action, weren't known after the game. He'll undergo additional examination Monday.

The loss of Perez for any length of time will hurt. He was slashing .339/.369/.565, leading the Royals in RBI with 15, had hit safely in six straight games, and was locked in a tie with Bobby Witt Jr. for most KC home runs with four when he left Sunday's contest.

Kansas City couldn't touch New York pitching Sunday

Why the Royals lost this one is no mystery — they couldn't muster anything at the plate. Besides Perez's double, only Bob Witt had even a single until surging Vinnie Pasquantino clubbed a too-little-too-late solo home run with two outs in the ninth. And the Mets issued only one walk, a fourth-inning pass Pasquantino drew to start the Kansas City fourth.

Sunday's loss had other consequences for the KC Royals

The injury to Perez, the defeat, and the club's quiet day at the plate weren't the only negatives Sunday. Thanks to what happened Saturday — Kansas City beat the Mets, Cleveland lost to the Yankees, and Detroit dropped a doubleheader to Minnesota, the Royals started Sunday with the AL Central lead. But combined with their loss, the Tigers' victory over the Twins, and the Guardians' win at home, the Royals left New York trailing Cleveland by a half-game.

KC's inability to muster any real offense laid waste to Cole Ragans' fourth good start of the season. After surrendering only five runs over his first three outings, Ragans had held the Mets scoreless for six, and struck out eight, when manager Matt Quatraro replaced him with John Schreiber to start the seventh, a move presumably triggered by the fact Ragans was one pitch short of 100.

Schreiber shut out New York, but Chris Stratton walked four and coughed up the only two runs the Mets needed in the bottom of the eighth.

What's next for the Royals?

Kansas City, now 10-6, plays the first of three games with the White Sox, over whom they completed a four-game sweep last Sunday, Monday evening in Chicago.

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