NEW YORK – Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees wrapped up the A.L. East title and home-field advantage throughout the postseason with a neat bow, beating the Boston Red Sox 4-2 Sunday for their 100th win of the year.
Hideki Matsui’s go-ahead single in the sixth inning energized the damp fans and put them on notice that a party was coming. The first real celebration at the new Yankee Stadium began with a most familiar scene — Mariano Rivera on the mound, closing out another clinching victory.
“This one is special. We haven’t been there,” Rivera said, pausing to smile in a champagne-soaked clubhouse, “since last year.”
Catcher Jose Molina leaped up from behind the plate even before Rivera had fielded Jacoby Ellsbury’s soft comebacker for the final out. The Yankees swarmed Rivera on the first-base side of the mound while players in the bullpen streamed in.
Nick Swisher wasted no time putting on an A.L. East Champions hat. The crowd responded with a standing ovation as the Yankees began walking off the field, with captain Derek Jeter at the front and several teammates pulling on gray championship T-shirts.
“It’s nice to come here and do what we were capable of doing,” Swisher said.
The Yankees won their first division title since 2006. They missed the playoffs last year.
Despite the defeat, the Red Sox remain in firm control of the wild-card race. Their magic number remained at three to beat out Texas for the final playoff spot.
Vizquel wants more
Omar Vizquel wants to extend his term as the oldest position player in the major leagues.
The 42-year-old Rangers infielder said Sunday that he’s planning to play another season.
“I’m going to play. I’m going to try to give it another shot,” Vizquel said before the Rangers’ home finale against Tampa Bay. “I still feel physically pretty good. When my body feels like that, I better take advantage of it.”
Vizquel is wrapping up his 21st major league season, his first in Texas. He signed with the Rangers last winter knowing he would serve primarily as a mentor to rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus.
An 11-time Gold Glove winner, Vizquel’s 2,680 games at shortstop are a major league record. Only Ozzie Smith has won more Gold Gloves at shortstop (13), but Vizquel is the only shortstop to win the award multiple times in the American and National League.
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