Salvador Perez, who twice had failed to drive in runs from third base earlier in the game, pulled a base hit past a diving third baseman Josh Donaldson to score Christian Colon and end a nearly five-hour battle.
The action-packed victory in the one-game showdown sent Kansas City to a best-of-five AL Divisional Series against the Angels starting on Thursday in Los Angeles.
The National League Wild Card playoff is set for Wednesday between the visiting San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Among the highlights of the evening was Kansas City Police’s tweet, which read: “We really need everyone to not commit crimes and drive safely right now. We’d like to hear the @Royals clinch this.”
At the time of writing it had amassed over 19,000 retweets and 13,187 favourites.