For a player whose wake-up call came at 3 a.m. Sunday, Christian Colon was pretty chipper during the Royals’ 6-4 victory over the White Sox in the regular-season finale.
Colon entered the game at third base in the fifth inning, and when the Royals batted in the sixth, his double to the right-center gap drove in two put the Royals ahead to stay.
Colon joined the team on Sunday after a disabled-list stint for a fractured finger tip on his right hand.
He got 16 at-bats over the past couple of days in the Instructional League in Arizona, and he figured to see some time on Sunday if the Royals weren’t in the chase for the division crown — they were officially out when the Tigers defeated the Twins about halfway through their game — and if he got back in time.
“The plane left Phoenix about 6 a.m., I got to town and took a taxi and got here about the third inning,” Colon said. “For the Royals to give me an opportunity to meet them here, I really appreciate that.”
Colon added an eighth-inning single, which raised his batting average to .333 (15 for 45) in his major-league debut season. He appeared in 21 games but could be an important piece to the Royals postseason roster as a backup infielder.
“Getting all those at-bats in two days, I felt like I was ready,” Colon said.
Royals manager Ned Yost said he was more concerned about Colon’s release of the ball, and he had the opportunity to make a play on the first batter who stepped in in the fifth. It was Paul Konerko, the White Sox star who was making the final plate appearance of his career. No problem for Colon.
“I was more worried about his throwing, but he looked good,” Yost said.
Colon watched the Royals’ victory over the White Sox on Friday that clinched a playoff spot from his room in Surprise, happy for his teammates and a bit envious he couldn’t be part of the celebration.
“I wish I was here with them, I was in spirit,” Colon said. “But I was happy for everybody.”
Rosters for the AL wild-card game don’t have to be finalized until Tuesday, the day of the Royals-A’s game. This is the third year of a wild-card game and the teams have loaded up on position players at the expense of starting pitchers.
Teams have kept two starting pitchers, some three, along with six to eight relievers. The only pitcher known to be kept on the Royals’ roster is starter James Shields.
Rosters return to normal distribution for the remaining series. But they’re tailored to fit the needs of a one-and-done situation.
▪ The Royals did not hit a home run on Sunday, leaving their season total at 95, the first time they’ve hit fewer than 100 since the club hit 75 in 1992.
▪ Salvador Perez plays a lot. So much that he broke the team record of games played in a season by a catcher with 146. Darrell Porter played in 145 in 1978.
▪ Alcides Escobar became the first Royals shortstop to play in all 162 regular-season games, and the first in the major leagues since the Cubs’ Starlin Castro in 2012.
Royals leaders in major hitting and pitching categories:
▪ Home runs: 19, Alex Gordon
▪ RBIs: 74, Gordon
▪ Batting average: .301, Lorenzo Cain
▪ Hits: 165, Alcides Escobar
▪ Runs: 87, Gordon
▪ Stolen bases: 36, Jarrod Dyson
▪ On-base-plus-slugging pct.: .783, Gordon
▪ Pitching wins: 14, James Shields, Yordano Ventura
▪ ERA: 2.53 Danny Duffy
▪ Saves: 46, Greg Holland
Top 10 season
Postseason qualification makes this one of the Royals’ top seasons, and so does the victory total. Sunday’s 5-4 triumph gives the Royals 89 victories for the year, which ranks ninth on the franchise’s single-season list.
Lost AL Championship Series to Yankees, 3-2
Beat Yankees 3-0 in ALCS, lost World Series 4-2 to Philadelphia
Did not qualify
Lost ALCS to Yankees, 3-1
Beat Toronto 4-3 in ALCS, beat St. Louis 4-3 for World Series title
Did not qualify
Did not qualify
Lost ALCS to Yankees, 3-2
Qualified for AL Wild Card Game