The Yankees secured their ninth consecutive American League East title and 12th straight play-offs appearance, keeping alive the possibility of a Subway Series with the New York Mets in the World Series decider later next month.
“It never gets old,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said.
“It’s something that’s difficult to do. If it was easy everyone would be doing it so you really appreciate it.
“Every time is different but this is very special because it’s been a tough year,” added the 32 year old shortstop.
With the biggest payroll in the MLB at close to $200 million, and while regular division titles are becoming a foregone conclusion for the Yankees, they have not won the World Series since 2000 – a fact not lost on manager Joe Torre.
“We have a long way to go, a long road to get down,” Torre said.
The Twins’ victory over the Red Sox kept the team from Minnesota’s playoff hopes alive as they vie for top spot in the American League Central with the Detroit Tigers with 11 matches remaining in the regular season.
Minnesota are just one win behind the Tigers who held on to the lead in the Central division with a 6-2 victory over current World Series Champions the Chicago White Sox.
The struggling White Sox are now 5.5 games behind the Twins in the race for the Amercian League wildcard spot, and now look like missing the playoffs all together after last year’s World Series triumph.
Rocket Roger turns back the clock
Meanwhile, “Rocket” Roger Clemens pitched what may have been his last home match for the Houston Astros, turning in a vintage performance to lead his team to a 7-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
44 year-old Clemens pitched six scoreless innings in his 348th career win, leaving the mound to a rousing standing ovation from the Astros crowd, and although he has two more road starts before the end of the season, the seven-times Cy Young winner is unsure about his future in the game.
Hats off: Roger Clemens on his
“If I decide to come back and play, I have to be able to perform,” Clemens told MLB.com.
“I thought it was over three years ago, and I’ve had to really come back and challenge myself to get it done.”
The right-hander made his debut for the Boston Red Sox in 1984 and also had stints at the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees before joining Houston in 2004.
“You’re just watching an absolute legend who’s not hanging on,” said Astros manager Phil Garner.
“It’s just phenomenal to watch how he manages his game, to watch how he throws and the results he gets.”
Houston are 5.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wildcard race and are unlikely to make the playoffs.