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Yankees Clinch AL East, defeat Rays 4-2

CC Sabathia
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

CC didn’t earn his 20th, but the Yankees sweep the double-header and clinch the AL East!

CC Sabathia was going for his 20th win tonight, but came a tad short.  He pitched into the eighth inning, letting up seven hits and two solo home runs.  Those two runs kept CC from earning the decision despite the Yankees winning the game 4-2.

Tampa’s starter, Jeremy Hellickson, kept pace with the ace for the whole game. Hellickson also only let up two runs over his seven innings.

Robinson Cano
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Robinson Cano started the scoring early with a solo shot in the second inning, his 28th of the season.  The Yankees added another run in the fourth with Curtis Granderson scoring on a double-play grounder from Jesus Montero. That gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead after four innings.

The Rays would answer in the fifth and seventh innings.  Cather Kelly Shoppach and right fielder Sean Rodriguez, respectively, each homered to tie the game at 2-2 after seven innings of play.

That all changed in the bottom of the eighth when Jorge Posada stepped to the plate with bases loaded with two outs.  After the Rays made their third pitching change of the inning, César Ramos let up a two run single to Posada that gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead going into the ninth inning.

Jorge Posada
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Rafael Soriano came into the game in the ninth to shut the door and clinch the division.  After getting the first two outs, Soriano let up a single to first baseman Casey Kotchman.  Up after him with a shot to tie the game was Matt Joyce.  Soriano struck him out to earn only his second save of the year and to clinch the AL East for the Yankees.

The only thing left for the Yankees to accomplish in the regular season is earn the AL’s best record.  Their magic number to do that is three. Three more wins and the Yankees will clinch home field throughout the playoffs.

The Yankees play next tomorrow night at 7:05pm, pre-game at 6:30pm.  They face off agains the Rays, making up a postponed game from July 8th. The scheduled starters are Jeff Niemann (11-7, 3.95) and Bartolo Colon (8-9, 3.81). That is the last game of this series before they host a three gamer against the Red Sox. You can catch all your New York Yankees action on 104.5 “The Team” ESPN Radio!

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