Yankees claim AL East title with 100th win

NEW YORK Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:53pm EDT

1 of 5. New York Yankees catcher Jose Molina, relief pitcher Mariano Rivera and first baseman Mark Teixeira (L to R) celebrate after they beat the Boston Red Sox to clinch the American League Eastern Division Championship in their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, September 27, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The playoff-bound New York Yankees wrapped up the American League East title with their 100th victory of the season, a 4-2 triumph over arch-rivals Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

The Yankees (100-56) surged ahead on designated hitter Hideki Matsui's two-run single in the sixth inning to win their fifth consecutive game and sweep the weekend series.

"When you contribute to the actual win of the game, anytime, it's a great feeling," Matsui, speaking through an interpreter, told reporters. "But to clinch the division like this, it couldn't be better."

The Yankees will have home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs because they have baseball's best record.

"It's been a while since we've won one here, and I think everybody is hungry," said Yankees starter and winning pitcher Andy Pettitte (14-7), who allowed seven hits and two runs over six innings.

"We're all trying to push each other and grind through. We want to bring another championship to New York. There's no better place to win than here."

The Yankees have not won a World Series title since 2000 and last won the AL East in 2006.

They did not make the playoffs in 2008.

"I think the way last year ended left a bad taste in all of our mouths," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

"This organization is used to going to the playoffs and playing deep into the postseason.

"It was hard for all of us. It gave us all a chance to self-reflect and evaluate what we do, and it has paid off."

Boston (91-64) dropped its third successive game but is still likely to make the playoffs as the AL wild card entry.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ed Osmond and Greg Stutchbury)

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