'I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come."
A great old rhythm and blues anthem from the 1950s and not a bad credo for the Kansas City Royals as they prepare for their critical Friday night showdown here against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays feel like they control the momentum after playing a near picture-perfect Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on Wednesday.
With Marco Estrada lights-out on the mound, the Blue Jays won 7-1 in their fourth elimination game of the postseason, trimming the Royals' lead in the best-of-seven affair to 3-2 to send the playoff back to the midwest.
And while the Blue Jays are flying high after the big win, the Royals are saying, hold on a second, we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish in Toronto – which was win at least one of the three games north of the border.
That ensured a return engagement back in the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals will have two opportunities to take care of Toronto. The winner faces the rested New York Mets in the World Series, beginning Tuesday in the American League park.
As Royals manager Ned Yost pointed out after Wednesday's setback, having to return to K.C. to determine the outcome of the series is not exactly a kick in the teeth.
The Royals had the American League's third-best home record during the regular season at 51-30, and they have already won four successive postseason games in 2015 at Kauffman.
"Again, we knew it was going to be a tough series," Yost said.
"But after winning the first two games, in reality your goal is to come to Toronto, and kind of a foreign environment, a hostile environment, and at least win one. Then you get to go home and win one there and the series is over.
"Now we're going back to a place where we're completely comfortable. That's why home field [advantage] was so important to us. We really wanted to play four games in our park. And we're taking a three-game-to-two lead back to where we are comfortable and back to our home fans that support us and are fantastic."
The Blue Jays will start David Price, an ace in every respect except in the postseason, where his career record is 0-7 in seven playoff starts.
Price will face Yordano Ventura in a rematch of last Saturday's Game 2, in which Price was throwing a gem, having retired 18 straight and Toronto leading 2-0 heading into the seventh inning.
A bloop single by leadoff hitter Ben Zobrist and it all came crashing in on Price and the Jays as the Royals went on to score four runs en route to a 6-3 victory.
Price is well aware that his playoff pitching struggles is tainting what has otherwise been an exemplary career, one that included a Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the AL in 2012.
And he could very well earn another one this year after going 18-5 over the regular season with the Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers with an AL-best 2.45 earned-run average.
Price was candid on Thursday, where the Blue Jays conducted an optional practice at Kauffman Stadium, when he was asked if he felt he had something to prove heading into Friday's start.
"Yeah, I haven't got a win as a starter in the playoffs," he said. "I guess I have to prove that I can pitch at this point in the season in the playoffs. I get that. But I don't have to go out there and prove that I'm a good pitcher. I think I've done that over the seven years of my career.
"So I'm just going to go out there, throw my game, have fun, have good things happen, get good results and good things are going to happen. I know they are."
Against a scrappy Kansas City lineup that can produce hits one-through-nine in the lineup, Price said his postseason problems might stem from him trying to be too perfect in his execution.
"You know, trying to be too good, trying to be maybe too fine or whatever it is," he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing, I think everybody in this room knows what I'm capable of doing. And I think I just kind of want to do it too bad.
"And it's been long overdue for me to get a win as a starter in the playoffs. And I'll be ready to change that story [Friday night]."
Toronto manager John Gibbons, who expects to have left-hander Aaron Loup available out of the bullpen for the game after Loup missed Wednesday's game dealing with a personal family matter, said he has the right guy making the start on Friday night.
"You get to be one of the elite pitchers in the game for a reason," Gibbons said. "Those are kind of the guys that get you here. Without David, we're not here, anyway. So it's a moot topic there.
"Who knows. It's hard to say. But I'm glad he's going [on Friday]. I'm not hesitant one bit to throw him out there, because I've only seen him good."