Salvy's clutch pickoff at first helps secure win

All-Star catcher nails potential tying run in 8th to snuff Mariners' rally

Salvy's clutch pickoff at first helps secure win

KANSAS CITY -- The most important defensive play of the day came when Royals catcher Salvador Perez picked off Kyle Seager in the eighth inning of a 5-3 win over the Mariners on Saturday.

But we may never know who called for the pickoff attempt that eliminated the potential tying run at the time.

"It was all Salvy," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "I just take my signs from him."

Incorrect, Perez said.

"Oh, that's all Hoz there," Perez said. "You should talk to him. He gave the signal. It's all Hoz."

OK, so who is telling the truth?

"I can't say," Hosmer said, smiling. "We got to protect the recipe, you know?"

Royals manager Ned Yost said both players actually can provide signs. The important thing is that the pitcher is aware of what is happening.

"I knew something was going on," said right-hander Joakim Soria, who pitched the eighth. "Sal called for a fastball outside to give him a good shot at it, so I knew something was happening."

Soria fired a fastball off the outside corner and Perez zipped a throw to Hosmer, who tagged out Seager. After an umpire review, the call stood for the second out of the inning, as Nelson Cruz stayed at third. Soria then got out of the inning when Franklin Gutierrez flied out, preserving a 5-3 lead.

Soria induces flyout

"That was such a big play," Soria said. "You never know how that inning is going to go if that pickoff doesn't happen."

It was Perez's first pickoff this season, but his 18th since 2011 which leads all Major League catchers.

Statcast™ estimated the throw traveled at 75.8 mph and reached Hosmer in 1.52 seconds. It took Hosmer 0.57 seconds to apply the tag.

"That's what Hosmer does so well," Yost said. "He makes that quick tag. That was just a huge, huge play."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.