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Yanks get help from Twins, clinch ninth consecutive division title

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- The New York Yankees needed help to clinch their ninth consecutive AL East title Wednesday night. That didn't stop them from celebrating like first-timers.

New York clinched another division championship when the second-place Boston Red Sox lost 8-2 to the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees began the day needing one win or a Red Sox loss to wrap up the AL East -- and their 12th straight playoff berth. New York was beaten 3-2 in Toronto, but Boston's game went final about 30 minutes later, setting off a wild champagne celebration in the Yankees' clubhouse.

"It doesn't get old," Derek Jeter said, just before getting drenched by a swarm of teammates. "This is something that's not easy to do. If it was easy then everybody would be doing it."

The Yankees became the second team to qualify for the playoffs, overcoming major injuries to Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield and Robinson Cano this season. The crosstown Mets wrapped up their first NL East title since 1988 on Monday night.

"It didn't look good at the beginning, but these guys persevered," said Sheffield, who came off the disabled list Tuesday. "I'm just so happy.

"We can't leave nothing on the table this time," he added. "This is the year."

The race between the Red Sox and Yankees was close much of the season until New York swept a five-game series at Fenway Park from Aug. 18-21, increasing its lead to 6½ games over Boston.

"The good part is that these guys can rest up a little bit," manager Joe Torre said.

The Yankees' lineup got a major boost when the team acquired right fielder Bobby Abreu in a trade with Philadelphia on July 30, while Boston was hurt by a rash of injuries and illnesses this summer. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon and Jon Lester were among the key players who missed extensive time.

Last season, New York clinched the AL East title with a win in Boston on the penultimate day of the regular season.

"It's special, but it's kind of tough to say one year is more special than another one," Jeter said. "They're all special. But this is a special group. It's special because we've been through a lot.

"They should enjoy it, but also they should realize that the season's just getting started."

Bengie Molina homered for Toronto, and the Yankees couldn't take advantage after Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay left in the fourth with a strained right forearm.

After Bernie Williams fouled off a pitch from Halladay, Toronto manager John Gibbons, pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and trainer George Poulis went to the mound.

Halladay didn't even attempt a warmup pitch before leaving the field. The Yankees led 1-0 at the time.

But New York's Sean Henn, making his first start of the season, allowed three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Molina tied the score with his 17th homer. Reed Johnson hit an RBI single off Brian Bruney, and Alex Rios added a run-scoring double to make it 3-1.

Henn (0-1) gave up three runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The 38-year-old Williams cut it to 3-2 with a homer off David Romero in the sixth.

"It's a great moment," Williams said during the celebration. "Every year that I play it gets more special because I don't know if this is going to be the last one."

Romero (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings for his first major league win.

B.J. Ryan worked a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 38 chances.

Cano's RBI double in the third gave New York a 1-0 lead.

Notes

  • Torre said closer Mariano Rivera feels fine and will probably pitch this weekend. Rivera has been sidelined since Aug. 31 by a muscle strain near his right elbow.
  • Gibbons said his team still has the goal of finishing in second place. "We've been stuck in that third-place rut for years now," he said. Toronto has finished third in the AL East seven of the past eight seasons.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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When Bobby Abreu got shipped to New York, did he know the trade would include free champagne?  (AP)
When Bobby Abreu got shipped to New York, did he know the trade would include free champagne? (AP)

Players of the Game
Toronto

A. Hill
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Toronto

B. Molina
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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New York Yankees
Melky Cabrera, LF3000101 .286
Robinson Cano, 2B4021000 .339
Bobby Abreu, RF4010023 .297
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3000101 .284
Hideki Matsui, DH3000101 .277
Bernie Williams, CF4121000 .282
Aaron Guiel, 1B1000000 .233
   a- Craig Wilson, PH-1B3000001 .256
Miguel Cairo, SS3110000 .230
   b- Jorge Posada, PH1000000 .279
Wil Nieves, C3000000 .000
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a-grounded into a double play for Guiel in the 4th
b-grounded out for Cairo in the 9th
Batting
2B - Robinson Cano (39, Halladay), Bobby Abreu (41, Halladay)
HR - Bernie Williams (12, Romero)
RBI - Robinson Cano (71), Bernie Williams (60)
2-OUT RBI - Robinson Cano (33), Bernie Williams (23)
Team LOB - 6
New York Yankees
Sean Henn (L,0-1) 3.2433341 7.94
Brian Bruney 1.1300110 0.53
Octavio Dotel 0.2100200 10.13
Scott Proctor 1.1000010 3.58
Jose Veras 1000010 2.57
Pitches-Strikes - Sean Henn 82-44, Brian Bruney 25-16, Octavio Dotel 18-6, Scott Proctor 11-9, Jose Veras 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Henn 3-4, Brian Bruney 2-1, Jose Veras 1-1
Batters Faced - Sean Henn 18, Brian Bruney 8, Octavio Dotel 5, Scott Proctor 4, Jose Veras 3
Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF5021000 .322
Alex Rios, RF5021022 .295
Vernon Wells, CF2000212 .305
Troy Glaus, 3B3000123 .251
Bengie Molina, C4111003 .287
Aaron Hill, 2B4020000 .290
Lyle Overbay, 1B3110101 .311
Jason Phillips, DH1000111 .265
   a- Kevin Barker, PH-DH2000012 .273
John McDonald, SS3100101 .213
Totals323836715 
a-hit into fielder's choice for Phillips in the 5th
Batting
2B - Alex Rios (29, Bruney), Aaron Hill (26, Henn)
HR - Bengie Molina (17, Henn)
RBI - Reed Johnson (48), Alex Rios (71), Bengie Molina (50)
2-OUT RBI - Reed Johnson (20), Alex Rios (27)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Glaus-Hill-Overbay
Toronto Blue Jays
Roy Halladay 3.1311110 3.19
Davis Romero (W,1-0) 2.1311111 3.38
Jeremy Accardo (H,10) 1.1000000 4.64
Brandon League (H,9) 1000100 2.58
B.J. Ryan (S,34) 1000000 1.32
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 42-28, Davis Romero 38-22, Jeremy Accardo 15-11, Brandon League 12-7, B.J. Ryan 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 9-0, Davis Romero 3-2, Jeremy Accardo 3-1, Brandon League 1-2, B.J. Ryan 3-0
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 14, Davis Romero 10, Jeremy Accardo 4, Brandon League 4, B.J. Ryan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 33029
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Eric Cooper