KANSAS CITY -- The Royals truly believe they went out like champions.
The Royals, the defending World Series champions, officially were eliminated from postseason play despite Wednesday's 5-2 win over Minnesota, their fourth straight victory. Baltimore also beat Toronto, ending the Royals' dreams of going to a third straight World Series.
"The team hasn't lost the fight at all," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "It just didn't work out for us this year. A lot of ups and downs, a lot of injuries. But I do think there's a lot of positives to take from this year, guys like Whit [Merrifield] and Cheslor [Cuthbert] coming up, making a name for themselves and proving what they can do at this level.
"I really think it gives us a lot of enthusiasm moving into next year."
Alex Gordon, who signed a four-year deal in the offseason to stay with Kansas City, agreed.
"We had a lot of obstacles this year. Guys got injuries," Gordon said. "I don't like making excuses. It was definitely a good two-year run. Even though we're eliminated, we're focused on next year and getting back to where we need to be. I thought we played well this year. We had our ups and downs but we fought hard."
Right-hander Edinson Volquez may have pitched his last game for the Royals. He is a potential free agent.
"It's going to be hard to go home," Volquez said. "These guys are great in this room."
Several players said they didn't think they'd be able to watch the postseason on television.
"It's tough and it's sad," outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. "I don't think I can."
Added Hosmer, "It's definitely going to be hard. We've been right in the thick of things the last few years, but that's just baseball. That's how it goes.
"We're still confident in the guys we have, we're still confident in our team. We can get pretty much everybody back and see if we can make another run at it."
The Royals still can finish above .500 for the fourth straight season, something the organization hasn't done since 1975-80 when it was above .500 six straight seasons.
"We're not trying to play for a .500 or winning season," Gordon said. "We're trying to make the playoffs and do what we've done the last two years. … We've got some work to do."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.