Lindor, Ramirez improvise repeat of combo play

Indians infielders team up again to retire Royals' Morales

Lindor, Ramirez improvise repeat of combo play

KANSAS CITY -- The first time, it was planned. When Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez teamed up once again for a jaw-dropping putout of Kansas City's Kendry Morales on Tuesday night, it was improvisation on the part of the Indians' infielders.

"It was reaction," Lindor said on Wednesday.

Tuesday's theatrics arrived in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Tribe's 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium.

Morales chopped a pitch from Indians reliever Bryan Shaw up the middle and into the shift. Lindor, who was playing on the first-base side of second, ranged to his right and made a diving grab of the grounder. From his belly, the shortstop used his glove to flip the ball to Ramirez. The third baseman caught the ball and made a quick throw to first baseman Mike Napoli to complete the inning-ending, 6-5-3 putout.

"I caught it and I felt like I had a chance of doing it. I just flipped it," Lindor said. "We didn't talk about it. This time, it was just reaction. That's why you saw Ramirez catch it a little bad. I just felt like it was the best option in that moment, and I flipped it."

In the ninth inning against the Royals on June 4, Lindor and Ramirez pulled off the same play -- also against Morales -- at Progressive Field. Prior to that inning, the duo actually discussed that specific scenario and planned ahead in the event that they got the type of grounder required. Morales pulled a pitch from reliever Dan Otero to Lindor, who dived, flipped and watched as Ramirez finished the play that time, too. 

It is the kind of thing that might give Morales nightmares.

"It's crazy that it was to him again," Lindor said with a smile.

Of course, the defensive-minded Royals are no strangers to this type of play. On July 28 last season against the Indians, Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar pulled off a 4-6-3 flip play to nab Cleveland's Roberto Perez. Again on Tuesday night, second baseman Whit Merrifield tried to pull off the same play with Escobar on a sharply hit grounder by Lindor, who beat the throw to first base for an infield single in the eighth inning.

"I was scared," Lindor said. "I was like, 'If they throw me out, oh my God.' If he would've thrown me out, I would've been embarrassed. They clearly know how to do it. I just didn't want them to do it to me."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.