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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez was named the most valuable player of the World Series after the Royals clinched Major League Baseball's Fall Classic with a 7-2 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Venezuelan delivered rock solid defense behind the plate, expertly handled the pitching staff and delivered a clutch RBI in the Royals' Game Five win that closed out the best-of-seven series 4-1.
Perez, the first catcher to win the award in more than two decades, collected a team-high eight hits in the series, with three runs scored and two RBIs.
In what was an all-around team effort in capturing MLB's championship, Perez proved to be the club's spiritual leader throughout the postseason, with his infectious enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude.
"We felt like a family here," he said in the locker room.
"We know we are going to do something special this year. I feel it in the spring training."
Perez played a crucial role in the ninth-inning rally that tied the clinching game when he hit a grounder to third baseman David Wright, who bluffed Eric Hosmer (on third base) back toward the bag before throwing on to first base for the out.
But as soon as Wright released the ball, Hosmer broke for home and first baseman Lucas Duda’s throw to the plate came in wide as Hosmer slid in safely to tie the game and send it to extra innings where the Royals won it in the 12th.
"He just had a phenomenal series," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Reporting by Larry Fine/Andrew Both; Editing by Steve Keating