Christian Colon turned his first appearance in this year’s postseason into the most memorable occasion of his baseball life.
The Royals reserve infielder, whose action during the World Series had been limited to congratulating his teammates, got to be on the receiving end of those cheers when his 12th-inning single proved to the be the hit that won the World Series.
Colon’s single drove in Jarrod Dyson from third base with one out in the 12th inning and broke a tie. The ignited Royals went on to a 7-2 victory, but Colon lit the fuse.
“That was the best at-bat of the World Series right there,” shortstop Alcides Escobar said.
Colon went to the plate as a pinch hitter in the 12th, an inning that opened when Salvador Perez dropped a single along the right-field line.
Jarrod Dyson pinch ran for Perez and promptly stole second. Alex Gordon’s grounder to first base moved Dyson to third.
Up stepped Colon. He fell into a 0-2 hole against Mets reliever Addison Reed.
“I didn’t make it bigger than it was then,” Colon said. “I just wanted to put it in play and get Dyson in.”
Colon took a pitch low, and fouled off the fourth offering.
He then laced a single to left field, and Dyson jogged home with the lead run.
If he was thinking about his base-running responsibility at the moment, Colon couldn’t remember.
“I felt incredible,” he said. “I wanted to look in the dugout as I was running, but I really couldn’t turn around.”
Correct. He was running to first and the Royals occupied the third-base dugout. But when he got to the bag, he saw all the teammates he had cheered for throughout the playoffs.
“I tried to find everybody,” Colon said. “I was so pumped up. Just an incredible feeling that I’ll never forget.”
Neither will the Royals.
Colon came around to score later in the inning on Escobar’s double, and Lorenzo Cain cleared the bases with a double to pad the score.
But Colon’s at-bat was the critical moment of the inning, and he called his shot.
Before the inning began, Colon had a feeling he’d be hitting. The pitcher’s spot was due up third, and Colon shared a premonition with Dyson.
“I told him I had a feeling I’m going to hit with you on third,” Colon said. “That was before the inning started. Three minutes later, I’m hitting with him on third.”
Dyson was impressed with Colon’s approach.
“Dude didn’t have an at-bat in a month, and looked what he did,” Dyson said.
That’s right. Colon’s game-winning hit was his first appearance in this postseason, but it wasn’t his first major contribution in the Royals’ current playoff era.
Colon was a central figure in the Royals’ AL Wild Card Game victory over the Oakland A’s that got their current playoff era started.
In the 12th inning of that game at Kauffman Stadium, Colon came to bat with one out and Eric Hosmer on third base, having tripled with the Royals trailing by one run.
Colon’s swinging bunt got Hosmer home. But Colon wasn’t finished. He stole second and scored the game-winner in Perez’s base hit down the left field line.
Colon appeared in 64 games for the Royals this season, appearing at third base, shortstop and second base. The former first-round draft pick spent 51 games with the Omaha Storm Chasers.
When the postseason roster was announced, he was a logical choice for inclusion because of his versatility.
Sunday, Colon came through with his bat. Again.