MLB

Late Perez home run lifts Royals against the Yankees, Alvarez and Riley both deliver walk-offs

By Sports Desk July 31, 2022

The Kansas City Royals avoided a series sweep on Sunday with a 8-6 come-from-behind win on the road against the New York Yankees, with a pair of late home runs turning the tide.

Both starting pitchers finished with mediocre figures, but they were both spotless early, holding the game scoreless through the first four innings. The fifth inning was a different story, with the sides combining for seven runs. 

The Royals struck first as Nick Pratto came through with a two-run, bases loaded single, before Maikel Garcia followed him with an RBI double, and they capped off a four-run frame with an RBI groundout from Whit Merrifield.

But the best team in baseball this season answered right back, with Kyle Higashioka batting in a run with his single, before D.J. LeMahieu brought him home with a homer to the short porch at right-field. 

Later in the seventh inning, with Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks on base, Anthony Rizzo shot the Yankees into a 6-4 lead with the longest hit in the game up to that point, a 418-foot home run over the right-field wall.

Kansas City's Hunter Dozier topped that the next inning with a 420-foot shot to left-field, trimming the margin to 6-5 and setting up an exciting finish.

Needing three outs to secure the win, the Yankees brought in elite relief pitcher Clay Holmes for the save, but it did not go to plan.

Holmes got the first out, but then issued a five-pitch walk to Merrifield, before hitting Bobby Witt Jr with a pitch to put runners on first and second with Salvador Perez at the plate.

Perez had been swinging a hot bat as of late with three home runs in his past seven games, and he added one more with a monstrous 441-foot nuke to center-field, jumping ahead 8-6 in the final frame.

Instead of handing the ball to a new closer, the Royals let Taylor Clarke head back out for his second inning to finish the job.

Yankees superstar Aaron Judge finished hit-less, but he contributed with two walks and a run.

The win is only the Royals' second from their past 12 meetings with the Yankees.

Austin Riley walks it off for the Braves

A quality pitching duel broke out in the Atlanta Braves' 1-0 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Austin Riley batting home the first run of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Braves ace pitcher Max Fried allowed four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in his seven scoreless innings, while Arizona's Merrill Kelly was slightly better, conceding three hits and two walks to go with eight strikeouts over the same stretch of innings.

The Braves had five hits in the game, and two of them were by Riley, who has quickly established himself as a realistic NL MVP candidate. 

Riley is fourth in the league in home runs (29), and second in total bases (239) – trailing only Aaron Judge.

Alvarez plays the hero in Houston

Speaking of players having unbelievable under-the-radar seasons, Houston Astros star Yordan Alvarez continued what is arguably the best hitting season in the majors with the winner in his side's 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

He went zero-for-four in regulation, but with scores tied in extra innings he came through with a clutch hit to drive in the winning run.

Alvarez leads the league in on-base percentage (.417) and trails only Judge in slugging percentage (.670 compared to Judge's .671).

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