Kauffman Stadium special place for Panda

Kauffman Stadium special place for Panda

KANSAS CITY -- Pablo Sandoval's return to Kauffman Stadium on Friday night brought back about the fondest baseball memories a player can have.

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Back at the end of last October, when Sandoval was still with the Giants, Madison Bumgarner made Royals catcher Salvador Perez pop up to Sandoval for the final out of Game 7, clinching the World Series for San Francisco.

"I enjoyed that last one," Sandoval said. "It was a tough ball, and we were down in the playoff bracket. We were like 11 games out of first place, and like eight games out of second place."

It just so happened that Perez and Sandoval, both Venezuelan, are also great friends, another reason Sandoval likes playing the Royals.

"It's unbelievable. He's a great player, a great catcher," Sandoval said. "We have fun together. It's just a tough moment. … The last out in the World Series to your best friend. It's just kind of weird.

"It is the last out in the World Series, so I had to catch it."

Sandoval on being benched

Back in the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for violating the team's social media policy, Sandoval wasn't about to let a memory or friendship distract him from the tough matchup that awaits the Red Sox in the next three games.

"They're like the same team," Sandoval said. "They added a couple guys. Great team, know how to play the ball right."

"But after the game, it's nothing serious [with Perez]."

Jordan Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.