DETROIT -- Left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic was zoned in and the Idaho Falls Chukars took the opener of the Pioneer League Championship Series over the Helena Brewers, 2-1, on Saturday night.
Dziedzic held Helena to two hits in six scoreless innings and struck out eight. It was the longest outing of the season for the product of Humble, Texas, and Lamar University. He was a 13th-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
In 12 regular-season games, including 11 starts, Dziedzic had a 2-0 record, a 2.68 ERA and 47 strikeouts against 14 walks in 50 1/3 innings.
The Chukars scored both their runs in the third inning, as right fielder Elier Hernandez delivered an RBI single and scored on third baseman Hunter Dozier's double. Dozier, the MLB.com's No. 7 Royals prospect, hit .303 in the regular season with seven homers, 24 doubles and 43 RBIs in 56 games.
The best two-of-three series will resume Monday night in Helena, Mont.
Royals still marveling at Perez's big play
DETROIT -- Not surprisingly, the Royals were still buzzing on Sunday about one of the season's best plays -- the game-ender in Saturday night's 1-0 win over the Tigers.
The most amazing part, to most observers, was that catcher Salvador Perez, despite losing sight of the ball behind runner Prince Fielder, still was able to catch shortstop Alcides Escobar's relay from left fielder Alex Gordon.
"I lost the ball at one point, the ball was behind him and I didn't see it for a second," Perez said. "It was a short hop, I caught it and tagged him."
"From my angle, it didn't look nearly as difficult as it was," said Royals manager Ned Yost, an ex-catcher.
"Your instincts kind of take over there. You know that it's over there, you slide over, pick it up and then, boom - bam! That's one of those when you don't think, you just react."
Pitcher Greg Holland, backing up the play, saw how the ball disappeared from Perez's view.
"I was standing right behind Salvy, and I don't know how he picked that ball because it went right behind Fielder," Holland said. "For him to be able to lose the ball behind the baserunner and pick it and make the tag like that is pretty incredible."
All credit to Salvy," Escobar said. "Two good throws and one great play."
Yost mulls how replay will work next season
DETROIT -- Major League Baseball plans to give managers a certain number of flags to toss to bring up video reviews of disputed plays by umpires next year.
Manager Ned Yost figures Saturday night's play on which Emilio Bonifacio was picked off first base would bring out his flag. Bonifacio was ejected by the umpire for throwing his equipment after the call.
Yost raised an interesting point about what might happen on such a review next year.
"Say, obviously, he was safe and the umpire called him out and ejected him from the game," Yost said. "They come back and say, 'No, he was safe,' do they reinstate him into the game?"
Yost and others likely will bring up those types of questions at the annual Winter Meetings.
"Trust me," he said. "There are a lot of things."
Quote to note
"We feel like we've got a great shot. We can't gain any ground unless we win so we've just got to worry about what's going on here and that's it."
-- First baseman Eric Hosmer on the Wild Card chase.
• Sunday's 3-2 loss was the Royals' 52nd one-run decision, second-most in the American League. Their record: 28-24.
• Gordon's latest assist gave him 15, second among Major League outfielders to Gerardo Parra's 16 for Arizona. Since moving to left field in 2011, Gordon has an MLB high of 52 outfield assists.
• If the Royals maintain their staff ERA of 3.50 to end of the season, it would be the team's lowest since the World Series championship year of 1985, when it was 3.49.
• Pitcher Luke Hochevar marked his 30th birthday on Sunday. Another Royal, England's Prince Harry, shares the same date.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.