by John Viril—For many people, the story of Monday’s 3-1 home opening win was Ervin Santana‘s strong start or the Royals’ three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth. For me, it was all about Salvador Perez‘s defense.
Perez made two massive plays that will seem little more than footnotes in the box score.
In the first inning, Perez bailed out a wobbling Santana by throwing out DH Ryan Doumit at second base to end the inning. Santana had already surrendered a run on three hits and gave up a sharp single to left with runners on first and second. LF Alex Gordon made a strong throw home, which forced Twin’s 1B Justin Morneau to hold up at third. Perez aggressively cut the throw off in front of the plate and caught Doumit straying from the bag at second.
After this play, Ervin Santana dominated the Twins for the next 7 innings. He racked up 6 srikeouts, scattered four more hits, and issued one walk. That walk leads us to Perez’s second important play.
In the top of the seventh, Perez thr...