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Yankees Clinch AL East Title With Doubleheader Sweep Over Tampa

The New York Yankees clinched the American League East title for the 12th time in 17 years by sweeping a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays while the Boston Red Sox were losing at home to the Baltimore Orioles.

Jorge Posada pinch-hit a two-run single to break a 2-2 eighth-inning tie as the Yankees won 4-2 tonight to wrap up the Major League Baseball division crown.

In Boston, Vladimir Guerrero’s two-run single in the eighth inning broke a 4-4 tie. The Orioles trailed 4-1 in the sixth before scoring five unanswered runs off Josh Beckett (13-6).

In their first game today at Yankee Stadium, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning and seven relievers combined for 6 1/3 shutout innings as the Yankees won 4-2.

Cano doubled off Rays reliever J.P. Howell to drive in Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter in the opening game. Eduardo Nunez started the eighth inning with a solo home run to tie the score 2-2.

Yankees starter Hector Noesi allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings filling in for Phil Hughes, who was scratched before the game because of back spasms. Mariano Rivera earned the save to extend his major-league record to 603 for his career.

“The pitching was wonderful,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. “Hector did a nice job and then the bullpen did a tremendous job getting outs. They had some base runners but our guys got big outs when they needed them.”

The Yankees have made the playoffs each of the past 17 years except 2008, winning five World Series championships during that span.

Early Lead

In the first inning of the opening game today the Yankees took a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring double by Alex Rodriguez. Rays rookie Desmond Jennings hit a two-run home run, the 10th of his career, in the top of the third off Noesi.

Rays starter James Shields took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning and was chased with two on, one out and Cano coming to bat.

The Yankees are now 42-12 in day games this season, the best daytime record in the major leagues

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