KC@CLE: Perez puts Royals up early with solo homer

BALTIMORE -- Catcher Salvador Perez broke out of a 1-for-29 swoon in a big way on Saturday night with three hits in the 10-inning, 3-2 loss to the Orioles.

In the 10th inning, he banged a two-out double to deep right field although the Royals couldn't turn it into a run.

Perez believes that he and the rest of the Royals, who generally have been in an offensive funk, are ready to break loose.

"It's going to happen, we're going to get there," Perez said.

Perez went into Sunday's game with a .226 average after compiling a .301 mark in his first 2 1/2 seasons with the Royals.

"He just went through a slump," manager Ned Yost said. "He's working his way through it. A lot of times a slump will start with a little mechanical issue. He was drifting a little bit, getting a little too far out front. And then, you start to press a little bit and it makes it worse. Then, you get to a point where you work on it hard, you get a couple of hits and, bam, all of a sudden, you're back swinging again. That's baseball, it's stuff that happens every day."

And, wouldn't you know, Perez added two more hits in four at-bats in Sunday's 9-3 victory over the Orioles. So, bam, he's on a 5-for-9 surge.

Escobar's left leg injury isn't holding him back

KC@BAL: Escobar stays in the game after ankle injury

BALTIMORE -- Alcides Escobar's banged-up leg was good enough to have him playing shortstop and batting eighth for the Royals on Sunday.

In Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Orioles in 10 innings, Escobar was sprawled out trying to stop pitcher Danny Duffy's wild throw in the 10th when the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop slid into his left leg, causing a spike wound and soreness.

"It was a hard play, a tough play. It happens," Escobar said.

Escobar finished the game and was treated again on Sunday morning.

"It's good, I'm playing," he said. "It's fine. I'm getting treatment right now. I'm getting in the water -- cold pool and hot -- and getting ready for the game."

With Escobar hitting well -- .364 over his last 10 games -- a reporter asked manager Ned Yost why he didn't move Escobar up in the batting order.

"You've got to have some offense at the bottom of the order, too," Yost said. "I like where he's at. I like the speed at the bottom of the order, I like the fact that we've got a guy down there that's swinging the bat well, and can get on base for the guys at the top of the order."

Besides that, the only logical spot would be No. 2, held down by Omar Infante, who has been one of the Royals' top RBI men and is hitting .320 with runners in scoring position. So, Escobar will stay put for a while.

"He's been real productive and three weeks ago, you guys were asking why I wasn't pinch-hitting for him," Yost said. "So what's it going to be? Now, you're asking why I don't move him up?"

Yost was smiling when he said it.

Reliever Mariot playing left field wasn't plan

KC@CLE: Mariot fans four in scoreless relief outing

BALTIMORE -- OK, maybe the Royals wouldn't have had relief pitcher Michael Mariot playing left field on Saturday night after all.

That possibility was mentioned by manager Ned Yost after it appeared that shortstop Alcides Escobar might have to leave the game with an injury in the 10th inning. The bench was depleted.

However, designated hitter Billy Butler was seen slipping on his glove while Escobar was sprawled on the dirt, his leg hurting. He remained in the game, but what if he hadn't?

"We could've put Billy in the game, we could've done a lot of things," Yost said.

The most likely scenario that would have evolved, Yost decided, was using Butler at first base (and giving up the DH) with Alex Gordon moving from left field to third base, Mike Moustakas moving from third base to second, Omar Infante moving from second base to short and Eric Hosmer going from first base to left field.

Mariot would have stayed in the bullpen. The Royals lost, 3-2, on Nick Markakis' walk-off single in the 10th.

The talk about Butler at first base brought up the annual Interleague topic -- how would that position be handled when the Royals play at San Diego under National League rules on May 5-6-7? Butler or Hosmer at first?

"I haven't gotten that deep into it yet. We'll see," Yost said. "A lot of times if Billy's really hitting the ball good, you give him a start against lefties. If he's not swinging good, you use him off the bench as a pinch-hitter. But you've got to get there before you make a determination."

In the past, Hosmer has taken a turn in the outfield in Interleague Play, but that's not likely to happen at San Diego

"I'm not definitely saying no, but I doubt it," Yost said.