Two batters into the game the Royals had their response to replacing the game’s best defensive outfielder.

Jarrod Dyson, sprinting to catch up to Grady Sizemore’s drive, made the over-the-shoulder grab just before hitting the fence.

The Rays’ John Jaso, running from first, believed like everybody else in Kauffman Stadium that the ball would elude Dyson.

This made it easy for Dyson to double up Jaso at first base and get the Royals off to a terrific start in an 8-3 victory before 32,308.

Alex Gordon and the platinum glove he won as baseball’s best defensive player last season will be sorely missed.

But the second double play started by Dyson in two games since replacing Gordon, who suffered a groin strain Wednesday and is lost for eight weeks, brought a sense of relief that one of the team’s defining characteristics — defense — will remain strong.

“I didn’t know the ball was going to travel that far,” Dyson said. “When he hit it I thought it was routine pop up. The wind kind of took it and I was able to make a play.”

It was the “most incredible” defensive play Royals manager Ned Yost said he’d seen from his team all season, and that’s a mouthful, considering some of the gems by Gordon and center fielder Lorenzo Cain.

The importance of the play was magnified by the pitching situation.

Yordano Ventura was making his first start since June 12, out for most of the month recovering from an ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow that caused numbness in his fingers.