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The New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings to limit the Boston Red Sox.
The New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings to limit the Boston Red Sox.
Jim McIsaac
The New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings to limit the Boston Red Sox.

Hunger drives Yankees to the league crown

A burning desire to win the World Series again inspired the New York Yankees to a 4-2 triumph over their rivals the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

A burning desire to win the World Series again inspired the New York Yankees to a 4-2 triumph over their rivals the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. With that they not only secured their 16th American League East title, but home-field advantage for the post-season as well. The Yankees also recorded their 100th win as Andy Pettitte pitched six strong innings and Hideki Matsui had a clutch two-run single as they also completed a series sweep.

Melky Cabrera and Mark Teixeira also homered for the dominant Yankees. "Everything is clicking right now. When you miss out, it makes you a little more hungry to get back there [in the play-offs]," an ecstatic Pettitte later said. "I think the way last year ended [when they failed to qualify for the post-season] it left a bad taste in all our mouths," the manager Joe Girardi said. "There's a lot of excitement. This has been a fun group, and they enjoy it."

Meanwhile, the Central leaders Detroit were unable to make use of a defeat for the second-placed Minnesota as the Tigers lost 8-4 to the Chicago White Sox. That means the Tigers have a two-game advantage going into their crucial four-game series against the Twins. The White Sox win was set up by a first Major League victory for the starter Daniel Hudson and four RBIs from Carlos Quentin.

Zack Greinke gave the Twins several chances but closed the door every time as the Royals won 4-1. Greinke won his 16th game for Kansas City as he claimed eight strikeouts. Yuniesky Betancourt hit a three-run homer and scored on a wild pitch. The Los Angeles Angels set up a West title clincher with the Rangers, with a 7-4 defeat of the Oakland Athletics knowing one win in the three-game set would be enough. Kendry Morales was the star for the Angels as he went three-for-three with a homer and three RBIs.

Edgar Gonzalez struggled for the second straight start, allowing five runs and the A's stayed silent for six innings before a three-run seventh that proved a false dawn in their comeback bid. Kelly Shoppach hit a three-run homer as Chris Tillman was punished with a six-run first inning as the Cleveland Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-0. The Cleveland starter David Huff cruised to his 11th victory as the Orioles suffered a 10th consecutive defeat.

Rod Barajas's RBI double off the starter Ryan Rowland-Smith in the eighth inning capped a fine rally as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Seattle Mariners 5-4. The Mariners hit four solo home runs, three of them given up by Brian Tallet in his seven strong innings, giving up three from five hits and two walks. Ben Zobrist scored singles in the eighth and ninth and Francisco Perez dropped a sacrifice bunt as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 7-6.

* With agencies

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