KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals clinched the AL Central for their first division title in 30 years, beating the Seattle Mariners 10-4 Thursday night.
"Well it's very special. You know, there's like 25 guys on this team that weren't even born the last time the Royals won a championship. To be able to do it in front of our fans, you guys have been fantastic," jubilant manager Ned Yost said on the field during postgame festivities.
Johnny Cueto picked up his first victory in nearly six weeks, and the win, coupled with the Minnesota Twins' 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, ensured a title. The Royals have dominated the division, leading by as many as 14 games.
It's the Royals first division title since 1985, when they won the AL West en route to their only World Series championship. Second baseman Ben Zobrist said the Royals will remain focused down the stretch.
“It’s a focus now, now that we’re in the playoffs. Obviously it’s a huge deal to win the central division. It hasn’t been done here for a long, long time. Now the focus is going to be winning homefield advantage and playing our best baseball come October,” Zobrist said.
The Kauffman Stadium announced crowd of 32,244 cheered when the Twins' final score was shown on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth. Kansas City became the first team to wrap up a division title this year. St. Louis and Pittsburgh have secured playoff berths in the NL.
While excitement coursed throughout the stadium following the game, like Zobrist, many players talked about getting homefield advantage and returning to the World Series.
“Another year of popping champagne, it doesn’t get any better than that. We definitely gotta keep it going, we want to pop just as many as we did last year and get back to the World Series,” outfielder Lorenzo Cain said.
After the game
After the game the Royals players went to McFadden's on the Plaza to celebrate with fans, where they were greeted with high-fives and loud cheers.
Prior to the game two fans got engaged.
"He said that as soon as the ring came in he was excited to do it, so he wanted to do it right away," Shannon Bellis said. "So he couldn't wait till we got to the game."
The two are both big Royals fans, and celebrated their engagement Thursday night as they watched their favorite team clinch a division title inside of The K.
As the Royals made history on Thursday night with their first division championship in 30 years, they had one fan in attendance who was a part of history. Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole was part of the famed Doolitte Raiders in World War II.
Honored during the game for his heroism, Cole was just as happy to be talking baseball and Royals playoff possibilities.
Lots of support from all over Kansas City
After the Royals clinched the AL Central, local teams and celebs began tweeting their support.