Perez homers, makes key pickoff to lead Royals over Mariners
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Salvador Perez picked a perfect time for his first pickoff of the season.
The star catcher homered, then helped protect the lead by trapping Kyle Seager off first base in the eighth inning to lead the Kansas City Royals over the Seattle Mariners 5-3 Saturday.
Perez hit a solo home run off the foul pole in the seventh that gave the Royals a two-run lead. Moments later, the World Series MVP made the defensive play of the game.
With runners at the corners and one out, Perez threw down to first baseman Eric Hosmer for his 18th career pickoff.
''That was Hosmer,'' Perez said ''He gives me a sign and I throw the ball right to him. I think he knows more than me.''
In turn, Hosmer credited the catcher.
''That's all him,'' Hosmer said. ''Just knowing he's behind the plate you've got to stay close to the bag at all times because he's so quick back there.''
''The pitch takes him that way and he just throws it right back over there, just an unbelievable play and that's why Salvy's the best. He changes the game, just completely took all the momentum away from them right there. First and third with one of their big hitters up, it was a huge play.''
Even Seager had to compliment Perez.
''You can't get picked off in that situation, but he's pretty special back there. But, I obviously got off too far.''
Edinson Volquez (8-8) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.
Kelvin Herrera pitched a perfect ninth for his first save since April 10, 2013.
Wade Miley (6-6) gave up 10 hits. He left after Cheslor Cuthbert's RBI single made it 4-3 in the sixth.
Cuthbert also doubled and finished with two RBIs.
Seager hit his 18th homer, tying it at 3 in the fourth. Nelson Cruz added two hits for Seattle.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas threw a simulated game and manager Ned Yost was encouraged by the progress he showed. ''Looked good, really good,'' he said. ''Three pitches, good changeup, fastball with life. Good breaking ball, good first step.'' Yost anticipates Vargas could make a return in September.
The Cleveland Indians claimed LHP Tyler Olson off waivers from the Royals and will be sent to Triple-A Columbus. Olson was designated for assignment by the Royals on July 5.
In Sunday's finale, former Royals draftee LHP Mike Montgomery (2-3) will get the start for the Mariners against RHP Dillion Gee (3-2). Montgomery was selected in the first round in 2008 and was part of the December 2012 trade with Tampa Bay that brought pitchers Wade Davis and James Shields to Kansas City. ''Probably cool for Mike,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''I know he was drafted by the Royals, was a high prospect there. The anxiety of going back and pitching against your friends, your teammates, your former teammates, but he's been away long enough now, I hope that it's kind of gone away and I'm sure he'll give us a good effort.''