Mood music - New York, New York
After a season riddled with indecision and poor play, Jorge Posada played the role of hero tonight for the New York Yankees. He broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning with a bases loaded, two-run single to pave the way to an American League East Title. It's the first time since 2009 that the Yankees have won the AL East.
The Yankees had already clinched a spot in the postseason earlier in the afternoon by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2. They did it again just 6.5 hours later.
But they couldn't have done it without some help from the Baltimore Orioles, who captured three of four against the Boston Red Sox and took the last game of the series today by the score of 6-4. Boston has managed to compile a horrendous record of 5-16 during the month of September and could, potentially, choke the hardest of any regular season team in modern day history. Tampa Bay remains two games behind Boston.
Does anyone remember this lovely article written on January 2nd of this year? Yeah, me too.
But enough about Boston. This is New York's night.
Robinson Cano helped the Bombers get on the board first with a solo shot to right-centerfield in the bottom of the second inning. Jesus Montero grounded into a bases loaded double play that pushed Curtis Granderson across home plate to extend their lead to 2-0.
CC Sabathia wasn't at his best, but he still managed to give the Yankees 7.1 innings of pitching after the bullpen was exhausted by a 6.1 inning workload earlier in the day. His two mistakes that counted most were surrendering solo shots to both Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively. Although Sabathia loaded the bases before exiting in the eighth inning, David Robertson entered and did what he's done all year long: Induced a double play to escape a jam.
The bottom of the eighth was a long one. Nick Swisher's pinch-hit double with one out set the tone for the rest of the inning. Mark Teixeira would work a walk followed by a Rob
Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth inning to put away the Rays.
What I believe makes a championship team is how it responds to adversity. The Yankees experienced more than their fair share of injuries (See: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia, Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano, Damaso Marte, Rafael Soriano... you get the point) and persisted. They battled through one of the most grueling divisions in the history of baseball with two very talented teams in the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays as well as the tough Toronto Blue Jays and pesky Baltimore Orioles.
But in the end, the Yankees prevailed as the winners of their division.
However, any Yankee player will be the first to tell you that winning the AL East was only the first step. Now that they've been invited to the dance, they'll look to take the show for the 28th time in franchise history.
The playoffs start in nine days.
Are you ready?
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