Colon fulfilled prophecy with Series-clinching hit
Royals infielder had 'vision' prior to go-ahead RBI in only postseason appearance
KANSAS CITY -- Here's a little story about Royals infielder Christian Colon's game-winning RBI single in the 12th inning of Game 5 of the World Series:
Colon called his shot. Well, sort of.
"Before the inning started," Colon told MLB.com by phone, "I was down in the cages with [Jarrod] Dyson and we were just chatting and I told him, 'I have this vision of me at the plate and you on third base.'"
Sure enough, moments later, that was exactly the scenario.
"When I got to the dugout, Skip [Ned Yost] said, 'Hey, you're hitting third this inning,'" Colon said. "So I got ready right away. I mean, I grabbed a helmet and my bat and was good to go."
Salvador Perez led off the inning with a looping single. Pinch-runner Dyson stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Up came Colon in the situation he had envisioned.
"At that point, I had the green light to bunt or do whatever to get him in," Colon said. "I remember the coaches asking me, 'Do you know the signs?' I said, 'Of course I do.'"
Actually, it was a legitimate question. Colon hadn't appeared in the postseason until Game 5.
"I really tried to stay ready throughout the whole postseason," Colon said. "I tried to lift every day and I was watching video every day. I remember at one point [Ben] Zobrist coming in the video room and saying, 'Man, you're here every day.'"
It was simply Colon's method to keep focused in case he would be called upon. He'd had an unusual regular season as well, having been sent to the Minor Leagues in early July, a move that puzzled many observers at the time.
"It was tough, getting sent down," Colon said. "No one wants that. But I understood their explanation. I just wasn't getting enough playing time behind [Alcides Escobar] and Omar [Infante]. I needed to play."
Colon didn't return until September callups and played off and on that month. But he never got off the bench in the postseason until the key moment in the top of the 12th in a 2-2 game.
With Dyson on third, Colon passed on a safety squeeze bunt against Mets right-hander Addison Reed.
"Well, he came right in with a fastball for a strike," Colon said. "And then a slider away and I thought I checked, but it was strike two. I wasn't going to bunt there."
But for some reason, despite all his inactivity, Colon felt confident he would put the ball in play.
"I remember fouling off a tough slider," Colon said, "and then there was a ball away, and then he hung a slider and I just jumped it."
Colon sent a liner over shortstop Wilmer Flores' head and into left-center field, and the Royals took the lead for good en route to a 7-2 World Series-clinching win.
"I just was hoping it was high enough over Flores," Colon said. "And then when I got to first, I was pretty pumped. I couldn't wait to get back to the dugout to celebrate with my teammates."
Actually, postseason heroics are not that new for Colon. His Game 5 game-winning hit provided some symmetry -- Colon was at the heart and center in one of the Royals' most dramatic wins of all time, the American League Wild Card Game in 2014.
Colon knocked in the tying run in extra innings and scored the winning run on Perez's single, and that 9-8 win over the A's was the victory that launched the Royals back into prominence. And now on the other end a year later, Colon helped clinch a championship.
Which moment stands out the most?
"Ooh, that's a toughie," Colon said. "Obviously, Game 5 of the World Series is more important. But for sheer excitement and sheer improbability -- coming back down 7-2 against Jon Lester -- I'd still say the Wild Card Game. There was nothing like that."