KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez made a young fan’s night by coming through on his promise to hit a home run.
A few hours later, a couple kids on the Kansas City Royals hit their own memorable shots.
Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier became the first rookies ever to hit back-to-back home runs to tie and win a game in the ninth inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals over the Cleveland Indians 5-4 on Friday night.
O’Hearn and Dozier went deep off closer Cody Allen leading off the ninth, capping a wild finish that followed an odd game featuring a 30-minute delay when a broken water pipe near Kauffman Stadium’s outfield fountains led to flooding on the warning track.
“This is an incredible game, fun to be a part of,” Royals rookie right-hander Brad Keller said. “That ninth inning was so wild. I’ve never seen back-to-back homers to walk off a game. It was crazy. It’s fun. Baseball every day is different. That’s what makes it fun.”
It started before the game, when six-time All-Star catcher Perez guaranteed a fan in a wheelchair, Colin Couch, that he would hit a home run after meeting him before the game.
After Whit Merrifield opened the game with a walk and Alex Gordon followed with a single, Perez made good on the promise by smashing a 454-foot, opposite-field home run — the longest by any Royal this season — into Kauffman Stadium’s iconic right field fountains.
“We were talking and I said, ‘I’ll hit a homer for you today, OK?’” Perez said. “He was so happy and all that. After I hit a homer I was looking, he was close to my family in the family (seating), so he was excited.”
Yonder Alonso socked a two-out, two-run home run off Brandon Maurer to put Cleveland ahead 4-3 in the eighth. Alonso also went deep in the fourth, marking his fifth career multihomer game and second this season.
O’Hearn and Dozier then rescued Kansas City from a sixth straight loss with their homers off Allen. O’Hearn, a rookie first baseman, tied it with a blast into the left field bullpen, and Dozier followed with a wall-scraper to right-center field.
“I was just honestly trying to get a fastball to hit,” said Dozier, who has seven home runs. “I wanted to hit it out.”
It was the fourth blown save of the season for Allen (4-5), whose ERA climbed to 4.50 in the loss. Wily Peralta (1-0) picked up the victory for the Royals, who were fresh off a four-game sweep at the Tampa Bay Rays.
The fountains sprang a leak during the fourth inning. Relievers in the Royals bullpen jumped and yelled to alert game officials and maintenance workers, triggering the stoppage.
“I thought I was back in the minor leagues,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Nobody knew what was going on.”
As maintenance personnel worked to stop the flow of water, more than a dozen grounds crew members armed with squeegees wicked water from the warning track as it poured from under the fence. They also created a sandbag barrier to keep standing water from reaching the outfield grass.
Rookie right-hander Brad Keller shrugged off the unusual delay, which came after Yan Gomes’ two-out double, and struck out Greg Allen to get of the inning with the lead intact.
Home plate umpire Ramon DeJesus ejected Royals bench coach Dale Sveum during Brantley’s at-bat leading off the eighth inning. It was Sveum’s 16th career ejection — 10 as a manager, five as an assistant coach and once as a player.