KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' defense always seems to have a few tricks up its sleeve. Even the new guys are happy to get involved.
In the fourth inning of the Royals' eventual 7-5 loss in 10 innings to the White Sox on Tuesday night, White Sox slugger Jose Abreu hit a ground ball up the middle. Royals second baseman Raul Mondesi made a sliding snag on his knees moving to his right, but his momentum would have prevented him getting off a throw in time to first. So instead, Mondesi flipped the ball to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who made a bullet throw over to a stretching Eric Hosmer at first for the first out of the inning.
"They're both tremendous. Both of them have tremendous range," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They both have great baseball instincts, so we feel like we're well covered defensively at the middle of the diamond."
While Mondesi was only playing in his 13th career regular-season game, the sequence was right out of the Royals' playbook. Escobar and former second baseman Omar Infante hooked up for a similar defensive play last season against the Indians.
"This kid, he can move to the middle ... he's got good range," Escobar said. "I like [playing with] Raul Mondesi at second base."
Escobar later returned the favor when he flipped to Mondesi to start a double play.
As for the recipient of the throw, Hosmer said it was a great play, but added he's never surprised with what the duo is capable of. Hosmer noted that, in addition to Escobar, Mondesi has played a lot of shortstop in his career, leaving endless possibilities for what the two can do.
"When it comes to him being at second, you're going to see stuff you haven't seen before," Hosmer said.
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.