This set of ten Moments includes the second-biggest stolen base of Jarrod Dyson’s career – which means it’s the second-biggest stolen base in Royals history – a pair of huge leadoff at-bats from Alcides Escobar, two game-tying hits, four at-bats that gave the Royals the lead, and a curtain call. And we still have 50 Moments to go.
Moment #: 60
Date: October 12, 2015
Game: 2015 ALDS Game 4, @ Houston Astros
Score: Kansas City 0, Houston 0, Top of the 2nd
Situation: One out, man on first
Matchup: Salvador Perez vs. Lance McCullers
Result: Home Run, two go-ahead runs score
Summary: Before the Miracle at Minute Maid starts, Salvador Perez crushes an opposite-field home run to give the Royals an early 2-0 lead.
Link to video: Here.
When Salvador Perez was young and new to the major leagues, he crushed opposite-field home runs with some regularity. But over the years he has become far more pull-happy with his home runs, and not coincidentally, his batting average has dropped from .331 to .301 to .292 to holding steady at .260 the last two years. Compare his spray chart from 2012 to the one from 2014-15:
Perez had more home runs to the opposite field in 2012 (4) – when he played in only 76 games – than he did in 2014 and 2015 combined (3).
So it was a very pleasant surprise, and a very welcome relief, when Perez opened the scoring in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS by hitting a 97 mph outside fastball from Lance McCullers on a 1-2 count deep into the right field seats. It came with a man aboard, and were the only two runs the Royals had scored before The Miracle started in the 8th. His home run has been forgotten by all the drama that followed it, but it was enormous in the moment, and even more significant in retrospect. The Miracle only happened because Perez’s home run meant they still had a prayer to begin with.