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Playing 1B, Salvy pulls off no-look flip for out

All-Star catcher provides strong defense as corner infielder
MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez made just his fifth career appearance at first base for the Royals on Monday night, but he looked like a natural in the fifth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Tigers.

Jim Adduci led off the frame with a sharp grounder directly at Perez, who got his glove on the ball as he charged in, but it deflected to his left side.

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KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez made just his fifth career appearance at first base for the Royals on Monday night, but he looked like a natural in the fifth inning of a 5-4 loss to the Tigers.

Jim Adduci led off the frame with a sharp grounder directly at Perez, who got his glove on the ball as he charged in, but it deflected to his left side.

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Stopping on a dime, Perez, with his back to the bag, barehanded the ball and flipped it to pitcher Heath Fillmyer, who stretched to record the out.

"When I saw it hit off his glove, turn around, I just tried to stay in a reflex mode, put myself in a good position," Fillmyer said. "Sure enough, he flipped it. It was great. It was a hell of a play."

Perez's flip earned him an ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd, which he responded to with a tip of the cap and his patented big smile. The six-time All-Star catcher wasn't done flashing the leather, though.

Two batters later, Jose Iglesias sent a grounder to Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield, whose throw to first came in a bit short as the speedy Iglesias raced down the line. That didn't stop Perez, though, who dropped to one knee and stretched to make the play.

Video: DET@KC: Merrifield nabs runner after call overturned

First-base umpire Sam Holbrook initially ruled Iglesias safe, but a replay review overturned the call.

Perez made another big play in the seventh when Alcides Escobar ranged far to his right on a Nicholas Castellanos grounder and made a cross-field throw near the left-field grass. Perez stretched out onto one knee with his glove extended and right hand steadying himself on the dirt, to retire Castellanos.

Manager Ned Yost wasn't worried about his catcher stepping into a relatively new position.

"Salvy's played first before," manager Ned Yost said. "He's got experience over there. He's got really, really good hands, and he's got good feet. He's athletic for a big guy. I don't have any concerns when I put him over there, knowing that he's gonna be able to play the position adequately. He can stretch, he can do a lot of things over there."

Jordan Wolf is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez