MINNEAPOLIS— With a 6-1 victory over the Twins on Sunday, the Royals officially clinched the American League’s best record, giving them home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Royals are now off until Thursday, when they will open the best-of-five American League Division Series at home against the winner of the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. The Wild Card Game will be played between the Astros and Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
Johnny Cueto gave up just one run over five innings and fellow starter Edinson Volquez tossed two scoreless frames in relief. Meanwhile, the Royals knocked around Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, stringing together three straight hits in the second to jump out to a three-run lead and ending his day with Salvador Perez’s two-run home run in the third.
“I feel great about where we’re at,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “Our starting pitching has been excellent. Our defense has been great. We’re swinging the bats well. We’re a little dinged up, but [we’ve] got three days to heal now.
“We’re all ready. We were ready to get the regular season over with and get on to the next season, the playoffs.”
After being officially eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday, the Twins sat most of their regulars, putting together a lineup full of youngsters. Right fielder Max Kepler picked up his first career hit in the third inning. Four innings later, Royals pinch-hitter Francisco Pena, the son of Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena, also collected his first career hit.