Accolades for Alcides after eye-popping play

Royals shortstop runs into short center for over-the-shoulder grab, then fires to first for double play

Accolades for Alcides after eye-popping play

HOUSTON -- Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar made the play of the 2016 season. At least so far.

After Carlos Gomez led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single on Thursday night -- the first hit for the Astros off Royals starter Ian Kennedy -- Marwin Gonzalez sent a looping fly to short center that appeared set to fall in for a hit.

But Escobar ran toward center, with his back to the infield, and made an incredible sliding, over-the-shoulder snag for the out.

It gets better.

Escobar then rose to his feet, pivoted, and threw a one-hop strike to first baseman Eric Hosmer that nipped Gomez at first by an eyelash for a double play. The Royals went on to win, 6-2.

Escobar, Hosmer on win

Royals players and coaches were astonished at the Escobar play.

"It's probably the best play I've ever seen in person," Kennedy said.

Hosmer, who has seen plenty of great plays from Escobar, including the magical 90-foot sprint and sliding catch in Cleveland in 2014, said this one has to be at the top.

"The one in Cleveland was unbelievable," Hosmer said. "But this one has to be as good or better because he also got the double play. Both sides of it were unreal."

Hosmer said the play at first was close.

"But I knew we had him," Hosmer said. "It was a perfect throw."

Royals manager Ned Yost doesn't even try to rank Escobar's great plays anymore.

"You see them so often," Yost said, "you just assume he's going to make them all. But that was just a great play."

Even Escobar seemed to give himself a tip of the cap.

"That was a really hard play," he said. "You're running really hard and you're trying to find the ball. And then I catch it and [Lorenzo] Cain is yelling, 'Throw to first!' So I get up and throw.

"Wow. That's a really good play."

Better than the catch in Cleveland?

"Yes, because we got a double play," Escobar said.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.