ST. PETERSBURG -- Catcher Salvador Perez has returned to Tropicana Field, the site of his impressive Major League debut a little more than a year ago, on Aug. 10, 2011.
"I was so excited," Perez said.
So were the Royals after seeing him perform. Perez not only got his first hit, first run and first RBI, he caught five popups -- including a bunt in front of home plate -- picked off two runners and almost nabbed a third.
Perez remembers it all vividly.
"The pop flies, the bunt, the throw-outs -- everything," he said.
More forgettable was the end of the game, as the Rays wiped out a four-run Royals lead with a five-run ninth against relievers Aaron Crow and Joakim Soria. The tying and winning runs scored when Sam Fuld hit a triple and scored when the throw from second baseman Johnny Giavotella hit him as he slid into third and rolled away for a game-ending error.