(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays take aim at their second American League East title in franchise history this afternoon when they wrap up their regular season against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The Rays, who secured their second postseason berth in team history earlier in the week, head into the final day of the regular season tied with the New York Yankees atop the division standings. However, the Rays can capture the division crown today with either a win in this afternoon's finale or a loss by the Yankees in Boston since they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of taking the season series with New York, 10-8.
Winning the division would also guarantee homefield advantage for the Rays throughout the AL playoffs.
Should Tampa win the AL East it would host the AL West champion Texas Rangers on Wednesday in the ALDS. However, if they wind up as the wild card, the Rays will visit the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
Tampa snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday, as Matt Joyce hit a two- run triple to help the Rays take a 4-0 win.
Carl Crawford homered and B.J. Upton added an RBI for the Rays, while Chad Qualls (2-0) picked up the win after retiring two batters in the third inning. Starter Andy Sonnanstine turned in 2 1/3 scoreless frames, scattering five hits.
Billy Butler and Mitch Maier each posted two hits for the Royals, who had won four of five coming in, including the first two games of this series. The loss, though, guaranteed KC its sixth last-place finish in the AL Central in 10 years.
Kyle Davies (8-12) was charged in the loss for six hits and four runs while fanning four and walking three in 5 2/3 frames.
"I pitched better than I did last time but it still wasn't good enough to win," Davies said. "I just wasn't as consistent in the strike zone as I need to be to have success."
This afternoon Tampa will turn to rookie right-hander Wade Davis, who is 12-10 with a 4.14 ERA. Davis lost for the first time since late June his last time out against Baltimore, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Davis beat the Royals earlier in the year in his only appearance against them, scattering three hits over seven scoreless innings back on May 2.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will turn to righty Sean O'Sullivan, who hopes to end his campaign with three straight wins. O'Sullivan won his second straight start on Tuesday against Minnesota, as he held the Twins to a run and five hits in six innings to run his record to 4-6 on the year to go along with a 5.91 ERA.
O'Sullivan did not get a decision in his only other start against the Rays.
Tampa will likely once again be without third baseman Evan Longoria, who has missed the last nine games because of a sore left quadriceps. He should be ready to go once the playoffs begin, though.
These teams split a four-game series in St. Petersburg from April 29-May 2. The Rays took nine of 10 bouts with the Royals in 2009 and swept a three-game set in their only trip to Kauffman Stadium last year.