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story.lead_photo.caption Salvador Perez of the Royals celebrates his three-run home run against the Athletics during the sixth inning of Tuesday night's game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Photo by Associated Press / Fulton Sun.

KANSAS CITY (AP) — Salvador Perez is having the kind of season the Kansas City Royals won't soon forget.

The Oakland A's are having the kind of September they might want to forget real soon.

Perez hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning Tuesday night, giving him 43 on the season and the big league lead in RBI, and the Kansas City bullpen bailed out starter Jackson Kowar as the Royals rallied from a six-run deficit for a 10-7 victory that knocked the sliding Athletics further out of playoff contention.

"I just try to think about how the team needs me in that situation, and not, 'OK, Salvy, the team needs a homer,' because that's not going to work," Perez said. "It's a lot of hard work. I like to compete. Play the game hard until the last out."

Kyle Isbel hit his first career homer and Hunter Dozier also went deep, but the star was the Royals' good-natured, power-hitting catcher. Perez finished with four RBI, most coming on his towering homer off Yusmeiro Petit (8-2) over the visiting bullpen in left field, to pull him within two home runs of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead.

Perez needs five more down the stretch to match Jorge Soler's single-season club record.

"This guy lives for these moments," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "He just finds something in those spots every single time, to the point you're shocked it doesn't happen. This is a special season."

Ervin Santana, Joel Payamps, Jake Brentz (5-2), Domingo Tapia, Josh Staumont and Scott Barlow surrendered just one run during the final eight innings. Barlow walked the first two in the ninth before finishing for his 13th save.

"It was a special night for our 'pen," Matheny said.

Meanwhile, the A's (77-66) have lost three straight and seven of their last 10 games.

"We're still grinding," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin, whose club began the day 2 1/2 games back of the second A.L. wild-card spot. "We know where we're at. We've had some tough games along the way in the last couple weeks. It looked like we were on our way out of it and we got bit. We have to win games."

The A's have struggled on the mound during their September swoon, and Kowar did just about all he could to stake them to a lead too big to blow. His pitching line: five runs on three hits, four walks and a wild pitch while retiring three batters.

The A's still managed to give the lead away.

Frankie Montas, who'd been 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his last four starts, promptly coughed up three runs on a string of hits in the third inning. Then in the fourth, Dozier took the Oakland starter deep to pull the Royals within 6-4.

"I was not locating my pitches really well since the game started," Montas said, "and those are the days I have trouble."

The A's got a run back in the fifth, but the Royals kept coming. Isbel's one-out single off Petit began the go-ahead rally, Whit Merrifield added his third base hit, Nicky Lopez got on board with an RBI single and Perez cleared the bags and gave Kansas City the lead with his three-run shot into the cool night sky.

Isbel's two-run homer off Sergio Romo in the seventh provided the Royals all the cushion they needed.

Notes: Athletics RHP Domingo Acevedo's contract was purchased from Triple-A Las Vegas and RHP Burch Smith was designated for assignment. Acevedo pitched a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night. Royals RHP Payamps was reinstated from the injured list in place of RHP Scott Blewett, who was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. The A's send former Royals LHP Sean Manaea (9-9, 3.79) to the mound to night against LHP Mike Minor (8-12, 5.05). Manaea is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two career appearances against Kansas City.

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