Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, right, is congratulated by Andrew Benintendi after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader Monday against the Cleveland Indians. Tony Dejak/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for most by a catcher in a season to highlight the opener, then the Kansas City Royals completed a doubleheader sweep by beating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday night.

Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 7-2 win, topping Bench’s total from 1970 for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher.

Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBI.

In the second game, Perez hit an early double before striking out against Anthony Gose, a former outfielder who returned to the majors after a five-year absence as a hard-throwing reliever.

Gose pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing one run and one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Of his 39 pitches, seven reached 100 mph.

The 31-year-old Gose last played in the majors in 2016 with Detroit.

Joel Payamps, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz, Josh Statamount and Scott Barlow combined on a four-hitter in the second game. Tapia (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Barlow pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

YANKEES 4, RANGERS 3: Gary Sánchez rebounded from poor defensive play with a go-ahead home run, four pitchers combined for scoreless relief and host New York gained in the AL wild-card race by beating Texas.

Sánchez put the Yankees ahead in the second inning against rookie A.J. Alexy (2-1) with his 22nd home run.

His play behind the plate contributed to three defeats during New York’s fall from playoff position: Sánchez failed to tag a runner against the Mets despite catching the throw in plenty of time, allowed a pair of ninth-inning wild pitches at Baltimore and missed a foul popup in a seven-run inning by Cleveland.

With a harvest moon rising above Yankee Stadium, New York built a 4-0 lead before the Rangers closed the gap in a three-run fifth against Nestor Cortes.

Chad Green (8-7) retired five straight batters, Clay Holmes and Joely Rodríguez combined for the seventh and eighth, and Aroldis Chapman got three straight outs for his 28th save in 32 chances.

New York moved within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild card and with 11 games left is two back of Boston, the league’s wild-card leader. The Yankees had lost 15 of 22 following a 13-game winning streak.

RAYS 6, JAYS 4: Shane Baz pitched two-hit ball for five innings to win his major league debut and AL East-leading Tampa Bay beat visiting Toronto.

Tampa Bay holds a seven-game advantage over second-place Boston with 11 games remaining.

The Blue Jays scored twice in the ninth inning and left the bases loaded.

TIGERS 4, WHITE SOX 3: Carlos Rodon was pulled after three rocky innings and viditing Chicago, closing in on the AL Central title, squandered a three-run lead to Detroit.

Despite the defeat, Chicago’s magic number to clinch the division dropped to two when second-place Cleveland was swept by Kansas City in a doubleheader.
The White Sox can wrap up their first AL Central crown in 13 years Tuesday – and secure a second consecutive playoff berth for the first time in franchise history – with a win over Detroit and another Indians loss to the Royals.

INTERLEAGUE

ORIOLES 2, PHILLIES 0: John Means struck out six and stymied Bryce Harper and a Philadelphia Phillies team in an eleventh-hour playoff push to lead visiting Baltimore.

Losers of two straight, the Phillies entered two games behind Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves opened a four-game series in Arizona late Monday night against the 101-loss Diamondbacks.

The Phillies opened a seven-game homestand with three against the 102-loss Orioles and four more against a Pittsburgh Pirates team inching toward 100 losses.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

CARDINALS 5, BREWERS 2: Jon Lester notched his 200th career win, Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer and visiting St. Louis won its ninth straight.

The longest winning streak in franchise history is 14 games, set in 1935.

NOTES

YANKEES: Pitcher Luis Severino was activated by the New York Yankees before Monday’s series opener against Texas and is in position to make his first major league appearance in nearly two years.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone says he plans to use the two-time All-Star out of the bullpen. New York began the day 1 1/2 games behind Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot.

The 27-year-old Severino has completed his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020. The right-hander made four minor league appearances totalling 10 2/3 innings for Tampa, Hudson Valley and Somerset, allowing four runs, five hits and one home run with three walks and 15 strikeouts.

A 19-game winner in 2018, he was limited by shoulder soreness to three appearances in 2019, the first on Sept. 17 and the last on Sept. 28, plus a pair of postseason starts that Oct. 7 against Minnesota in the AL Division Series and Oct. 15 against Houston in the AL Championship Series.

Right-hander Sal Romano was released by the Yankees to open a roster spot.

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