Yankees did what they had to do for top seed
Forget all those scenarios about the different possibilities facing the Yankees in postseason play based on what they and Baltimore and Oakland and Texas did Wednesday. The Yanks did what they had to do Wednesday night for the best-case scenario without any assistance from anyone.
The Yankees are not only going to the playoffs but also as the top seed in the American League with the best overall record. Their convincing 14-2 victory over the Red Sox that completed a three-game sweep gave the Yankees their 13th division title over the past 17 seasons and 18th overall. They also bought some time to rest up for their 51st postseason appearance which will begin Sunday in the AL Division Series at the home park of the winner of Friday night’s Wild Card Game between the Orioles and the Rangers.
For the record, the Yankees clinched the division title while they were still at bat in the seventh inning when the Rays’ 4-1 final over the Orioles was announced. The Yanks were accorded a standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 47,393. Earlier in the day, the Athletics crushed the Rangers, 12-5, to displace Texas atop the AL West and earn an ALDS date with the Al Central champion Tigers.
“We still wanted to win our game for the fans,” Derek Jeter said after the game in which he got his major-league-leading 216th hit. “They have been behind us all year.”
The Yankees may have lost all of the 10-game lead in the division they had built up by July 18 but never relinquished first place entirely. They had at least a portion of the lead for 114 days since June 12, and on the last day they were all alone atop the division and the league.
Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson combined to drive in 10 of the Yankees’ runs and had two home runs each as the Yankees set a franchise record with 245, besting by one the previous mark set in 2009, the last time they won the World Series.
Cano continued his steamy pace with his career-high ninth consecutive multi-hit game, a 4-for-4 gem that included his 32nd and 33rd home runs, two singles, a walk, three runs and six RBI. The second baseman batted .615 with seven doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI in 39 at-bats in the nine-game stretched and raised his season batting average an astonishing 20 points to .313.
Granderson, the guy who keeps telling everybody that he is not a home run hitter, smacked Nos. 42 and 43 and drove in four runs to finish the season with 105. Yankees manager Joe Girardi must not think of Granderson as a homer hitter, either, because in pinch hitting for his center fielder with rookie Melky Mesa in the seventh inning denied Granderson an opportunity to tie Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera for the league lead.
By that time, Girardi was substituting freely as if a spring-training game to give as many players as possible a chance to appear in the last regular-season game and receive the fans’ appreciation for a wonderful run that can only get better with a successful postseason that the 2010 edition of the Yankees truly earned.