Opinion

Is it clinch night? Royals can clinch the Central division title on Thursday night

Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain (left) celebrated with Kendrys Morales and Paulo Orlando after Cain’s game-winning hit in the 10th scored Orlando on Wednesday.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain (left) celebrated with Kendrys Morales and Paulo Orlando after Cain’s game-winning hit in the 10th scored Orlando on Wednesday. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Last fall, the Royals enjoyed quite a few champagne-soaked celebrations on the road to the World Series. So it’s easy to forget that it’s been nearly 30 years since the Royals last won a division title.

It was on Oct. 5, 1985 after the Royals beat the A’s 5-4 in 10 innings and clinched the American League West Division championship. Willie Wilson’s single scored Pat Sheridan and the Royals had a walk-off win (before they were called walk-off wins) at Royals Stadium (which is now Kauffman Stadium).

On Thursday night, the Royals can clinch their first American League Central Division title. Their magic number is two. With a win over the Mariners and a Twins’ loss to the Indians, the Royals will be champs of their division.

The Royals are one of two American League teams that have yet to win a division title since baseball went to three divisions in 1994 (not including the Astros, who moved to the A.L. in 2013). The other team is the Blue Jays, who currently lead the East.

Here are the particulars of tonight’s games, and almost everyone will be scoreboard watching:

The Royals are host to Mariners. Johnny Cueto is on the mound for the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. and is on Fox Sports Kansas City. In Minneapolis, the Twins are host to the Indians. That game also beings at 7:10 p.m.

If everything goes right (a Royals win and a Twins loss), then the Royals will be celebrating a division title around 10 p.m. Follow along at KansasCity.com/sports or on the True Blue app for updates on tonight’s game and any postgame celebration.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.

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