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Colon gets to contribute in win over Athletics

Rookie provides solid defense at third, bunt single that leads to big third run

Colon gets to contribute in win over Athletics play video for Colon gets to contribute in win over Athletics

KANSAS CITY -- Five hours prior to the Royals' 3-0 win over the A's on Wednesday night, even before the L-screen was wheeled out onto the field for batting practice, Christian Colon was beginning his pregame routine in solitude.

This isn't unusual for Colon, who manager Ned Yost has lauded for his pregame preparation this season, despite playing a reserve role. But Colon practiced early on Wednesday with the knowledge that he'd be giving third baseman Mike Moustakas a respite that night.

Colon made the start count, contributing to Kansas City's victory with a bunt hit in the fifth inning -- he later scored on Salvador Perez's sacrifice fly -- and solid defense at third base.

"I thought he did a great job," Yost said. "He's that special little player, doesn't do anything fancy, just helps you win. He's a winning-type guy, solid wherever you put him."

Colon led off the fifth inning with the Royals holding a 2-0 lead on Omar Infante's two-run home run in the third. In Colon's previous at-bat, he roped a line drive right at left fielder Sam Fuld. Colon took a different approach this time, laying a bunt down after seeing third baseman Josh Donaldson playing back. Donaldson made it close, but Colon beat it out.

Two batters later, Infante collected his second hit on a slow roller to shortstop Jed Lowrie. Colon, after advancing to second on Nori Aoki's sac bunt, moved to third on the hit, then scored on Perez's sacrifice fly.

"He read it perfectly, got a great jump on it," Yost said on Colon's move to third base. "It gave us a big run. That third run was a huge run for us right there."

On Aug. 3, Colon started at third base and helped jumpstart the Royals' eight-game win streak -- snapped on Tuesday -- with a 4-2 victory over Oakland. But Colon watched from the bench as his team rattled off the next seven wins.

Yost again called on Colon against Kazmir on Wednesday, a win Kansas City hopes will kick off another long winning streak.

"That's why I'm here. Just go in there, and give a couple guys a breather and contribute," Colon said.

Before the win, Yost discussed Colon's maturity.

"It's tougher for a younger guy, older guys they know what's expected of them, but he acts like an older guy, he keeps himself prepared every single day for anything that can happen," Yost said. "He takes ground balls at short, he takes ground balls at second, he takes ground balls at third. You'll see him out there, before his group hits, running the bases in case we need him to be a pinch-runner."

Prior to the game, Yost said he was "thinking about giving Omar a break [Thursday]" before adding: "We'll see how it goes." How it went was Infante came out of a 1-for-16 slump with a big home run and added a single and a walk.

Regardless of whether he starts on Thursday, Colon is singularly concerned with contributing in whatever fashion Yost asks him.

"I'm concentrating [on being] the best at being a bench player or a role player, or pinch-hit, pinch-run, whatever it is, to do it the best I can," Colon said.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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