Royals marvel at Infante-Escobar flip play
CLEVELAND -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas couldn't quite decide which play he enjoyed more: The Eric Hosmer snag of a hot grounder by Michael Brantley to save a run in the seventh, or the circus-act Omar Infante /Alcides Escobar play to get the first out in the ninth of the Royals' 2-1 win on Tuesday night over the Indians.
"Based solely on degree of sickness," Moustakas said, "probably the Omar/Esky play."
Indians catcher Roberto Perez led off the ninth with a ground ball through the middle to the left of second base. Infante, positioned to the right of second base, raced past the bag into short left field to snag the grounder.
But sensing his momentum going too far into left field to make a throw, Infante flipped the ball with his glove toward Escobar, who was gliding the opposite way of Infante and toward right field. Escobar made a bare-handed grab and fired a strike to first to get Perez as the crowd at Progressive Field gasped in dismay.
"Definitely a web gem," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"We never get surprised anymore by what those guys do," first baseman Eric Hosmer said.
Infante said that he and Escobar sometimes practice such plays in batting practice.
"But tonight, I told [Escobar] that with him [Perez], kind of a slow runner, we can try that play," Infante said. "That worked. That's good."
Actually, Hosmer made a brilliant play as well to end the seventh. With a runner in scoring position, Brantley sent a hard, top-spinning grounder at Hosmer. The ball skipped up to Hosmer's right and he somehow picked it in mid-air, then beat Brantley to the bag.
"The degree of difficulty of that play is very, very high," Yost said. "Great play that saved us a run."