Royals seek to build on wild card win

Kansas City, back in baseball`s playoffs for the first time in 29 years, will try to build on a truly wild wild-card win when they take on the Angels in the American League Division Series.

New York: Kansas City, back in baseball`s playoffs for the first time in 29 years, will try to build on a truly wild wild-card win when they take on the Angels in the American League Division Series.

The Royals rallied to beat Oakland 9-8 in 12 innings on Tuesday, with Kansas City manager Ned Yost calling the contest "the most incredible game that I`ve ever been a part of."

But things will only get harder for the Royals now as they take on the American League West division champion Angels in a best-of-five series starting on Thursday in Anaheim.

The second American League Division Series also starts on Thursday on the opposite coast, where AL East champions Baltimore will host AL Central winners Detroit.

The Angels made it back to the post-season for the first time in five years in impressive style, with a 98-64 regular-season record.

They won their division by 10 games, despite a season-ending knee injury to rising young pitcher Garrett Richards on August 20.

Rookie Matt Shoemaker and veteran Jered Weaver helped fill the void left by Richards, and Shoemaker appears to be recovered from the ribcage strain that forced him to miss the final fortnight of the regular season.

The Angels also expect former American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton to be at full strength after shoulder and other injuries saw him miss 21 of their last 22 games.

"We`ll probably bat him down lower to where he`ll have a chance to swing the bat and contribute," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But not to much pressure to where if he`s not quite locked in it will make a big difference in our lineup."

The Angels own another big weapon in MVP contender Mike Trout, who hit .287 in the regular season with 115 runs scored, 36 home runs and 111 runs-batted-in.

Baltimore, back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, are in pursuit of their first World Series appearance in 31 seasons.

The Orioles overcame two serious injuries -- catcher Matt Wieters` season-ending elbow injury in June and a leg injury that required surgery for third baseman Manny Machado in August.

Baltimore will also be without 2013 home run champion Chris Davis, who was suspended in September for the use of amphetamines, although the Orioles still boasted an American League-leading 211 home runs thanks in large part to the 40 of Nelson Cruz.

The Tigers clinched their fourth straight AL Central crown -- but not until the final game of the regular season.

They are trying to get back to the World Series for the second time in three years, in search of a first title since 1984.

Detroit feature stellar starting pitching with Max Scherzer getting the call in game one to be followed by fellow Cy Young award winners Justin Verlander and left-hander David Price.

The winners of the two division series will meet in the American League Championship Series for the chance to take on the National League champions in the World Series.