9/22/2013 8:15 P.M. ET
Royals grateful for fans' support in comeback season
By Kathleen Gier and Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- After a walk-off win on Sunday, the Royals had their best record at Kauffman Stadium since 1992, matching that season's mark of 44-37.
"We're getting to be a better team. That's why we have a better home record and we've got a better road record than we've had in a lot of times," manager Ned Yost said. "Especially the last month, the fans have really been behind us with a lot of excitement at the stadium. They talked earlier in the year about playoff atmosphere, not so much, but last night and the night before absolutely. That's the excitement that we want to bring to the stadium every single day."
Then the Royals went out Sunday and notched their 44th home win, their 11th in the last 15 games at Kauffman. Jeremy Guthrie said the fans have been a big part of his personal success at home, where he leads the Royals with a 9-5 record.
"They've been into every game and that's all you can ask for," Guthrie said. "They come out and supported us and I think that is usually the case when you win. You deserve to have the fans and our fans have responded, so that is a credit to them."
The Royals' hunt for the playoffs created a September surge in home attendance and the club finished with a total of 1,750,754 tickets sold, an average of 21,614 for 81 dates.
The home season finale on Sunday had a paid attendance of 27,899, but more than 31,000 were at Kauffman Stadium as season-ticket holders traded in unused tickets for the game against Texas.
This year's total was up from 2012's 1,738,859, but the average was down because last year there were just 80 dates for an average of 21,736.
Maxwell capitalizes on starting opportunity
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals started Justin Maxwell in right field to give them another right-hander in the outfield against Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando, and the decision paid off. Maxwell went 2-for-4 with a single off Ogando and a walk-off grand slam against former Royals closer Joakim Soria.
Maxwell joined lefty Alex Gordon and righty Lorenzo Cain in the outfield, leaving lefties David Lough and Jarrod Dyson on the bench.
"[Ogando has] a real good changeup that he gets lefties out with," manager Ned Yost said. "He's got a nice slider, but it's not really a swing-and-miss slider, it's a bigger-type slider. Righties have a much higher slugging percentage, a much higher on-base percentage than lefties do against him so we decided to go that way."
Entering Sunday's game, right-handed batters were hitting .270 against Ogando, which is the highest in his career, while he held left-handed batters to a career-low .190 average.
Maxwell is hitting .271 (36-for-133) against right-handers this season.
Dominant Holland has chance to set saves record
KANSAS CITY -- To cap off an already impressive first season as the Royals' closer, Greg Holland has a shot to tie or break the franchise single-season saves record.
Holland, a first-year All-Star, entered Sunday's game with 44 saves this season, which puts him in second place on the list. One more save would tie him with Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery, who recorded 45 saves in 1983 and '93, respectively.
"We don't really think about personal success that much," Holland said. "For us, we are still trying to make the playoffs so we just want to win games at this point. I really don't think that much about it."
Entering Sunday, he had converted 37 of his last 38 and 44 of his 47 save opportunities this season for a 94 percent success rate. He had allowed just four earned runs in 46 one-inning appearances since May 30 for a 0.77 ERA, while also recording 70 strikeouts for a 13.4 strikeouts-per-nine ratio.
"The bottom line is, 'Are you going to save a game for us? And are you going to do it on a real consistent basis?' The answer to that is yes, every time, with him," manager Ned Yost said.
Holland has added consistency to the back of a bullpen that led the American League with a 2.55 ERA entering Sunday's game.
"As soon as we got the last out in the eighth inning and we've got the lead, I relax," Yost said.
Perez impresses with all-around skills
KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez has been so impressive behind the plate this season that other teams are taking notice.
"He's a stud. He's a he-man. He can do some things," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He can receive, he can block, he can call a game, he can hit and he can throw. And he's young. It looks like he's got a head on his shoulders. He just needs to take care of himself."
After catching two runners stealing on Sunday, Perez has thrown out 22 would-be basestealers. He also holds the franchise record for pickoffs by a catcher with nine in his career.
He's also been a force on offense lately, batting .365 (35-for-96) with 26 RBIs since Aug. 23. Perez's .288 batting average ranks second among AL catchers.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.