Carlos Pena made his Omaha swan song a productive one.
Pena, 35, one of six players called up to the Royals on Tuesday, drove in four runs Monday in Omaha’s 8-4 victory over Round Rock. The victory, coupled with a loss by Memphis earlier in the day, sealed the Storm Chasers’ third straight North Division crown and playoff appearance.
“It was a good time,” Pena said of his five-game stint at Class AAA Omaha, where the veteran hit .333 (six-for-18) with two home runs and six RBIs. “We were making a run for the playoffs, and I did what I could do to help. We accomplished the goal, and I had fun doing it.”
Omaha (70-74) became the first team from the Pacific Coast League to qualify for the playoffs with a losing record since the full-season qualifying format was adopted in 1998.
The Chasers had to win their final two games, and Memphis had to lose twice to clinch the division, and that’s what happened.
The Chasers will meet Oklahoma City (82-60), which posted the best record in the league. The best-of-five series begins tonight with Omaha’s Yordano Ventura (5-4, 3.74 ERA), going against Asher Wojciechowski (9-7, 3.56).
The Royals promoted six from Class AA Northwest Arkansas to replace the departed players: catcher Mitch Carham, infielder Rey Navarro, outfielder Lane Adams, starting pitcher Ryan Verdugo, and relievers Spencer Patton and Jason Bergmann.
Second baseman Chris Getz left the game prior to the third inning because of what the Royals characterized as a “precaution” because he was experiencing an “upset stomach and mild dizziness.”
Yost said Getz was also being examined for a possible concussion.
Getz banged his head while making a diving play in the second inning on Mike Zunino’s grounder to the hole between first and second base. Getz got to the ball but bounced the throw to first.
The ball got past first baseman Billy Butler for what was scored as an infield single, and a error on Getz for permitting Justin Smoak to reach third base from first.
Getz remained in the game while Royals starter Bruce Chen stranded the runners at first and third by retiring the next three hitters on two infield pop-ups and a soft liner. The first pop and the soft liner went to Getz.
Emilio Bonifacio came to the on-deck circle to bat for Getz in the bottom of the inning. Bonifacio replaced Getz at second base to start the Seattle third.
In case you’re making plans
Major League Baseball announced its postseason schedule Tuesday, and the American League wild card game is set for Oct. 2, a day after the National League contest.
Both best-of-five NL Division Series start Oct. 3, with both AL games on Oct. 4.
The best-of-seven NL Championship Series starts Oct. 11, with the AL starting on Oct. 12, and by virtue of winning the All-Star Game, the 109th World Series will begin in the park of the American League champion Oct. 23.
If the World Series goes the distance, the seventh game will be played Oct. 31. Trick or treat.
Cain can’t, not yet
The wait on outfielder Lorenzo Cain, out since early August with a strained left oblique, continues.
“It’s getting closer, but he still feels a little when he swings,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Entering Tuesday’s game, Royals starters had worked at least six innings in 101 games, 19 more than all of last season. The rotation had already pitched 98 more innings than last year’s starters in 137 games.
The bullpen has been a beneficiary of the starters’ work ethic. Royals’ relievers haven’t had to pull as many innings and they are the most efficient group in the American League, leading in ERA at 2.51.
If that marks holds up, it would be the second-best in the American League since 1990 for a season.
First baseman Eric Hosmer and right-hander James Shields were picked as the Royals’ player and pitcher of the month for August in a media vote.
Hosmer won the award for a third straight month. His 40 hits were the second-highest total among American League players in August.
Shields won the pitchers award after going 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA in six starts. Closer Greg Holland won the award in each of the three previous months.