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David Brown

Empire strikes back: Yanks beat Red Sox, clinch East, home field

David Brown
Big League Stew

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After ceding the AL East to the Rays and Red Sox the past two seasons, the Yankees made a brand-new start of it and now find themselves A-number one, top of the list and kings of the hill again.

Thanks to a 4-2 victory against Boston on Sunday, the Empire won its 100th game of the season and ensured itself of the best record in the American League and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

Hideki Matsui(notes) hit a go-ahead single in the sixth and Mark Teixeira(notes) (above, right) hit an insurance homer in the eighth to whip up a frenzy at new Yankee Stadium. Andy Pettitte(notes) won his 14th game and Mariano Rivera(notes) earned the save as the Red Sox stranded the potential tying run at second in the ninth.

What's different about these Yankees than other recent versions, Captain Derek Jeter(notes)?

"I'd say we've got a better team," Jeter told ESPN TV. "Everybody talks about the personality and the chemistry, but winning is the most important thing. The more you win, the more fun you're going to have.

"The big difference is pitching."

Another: New York's ability to beat the Red Sox. Boston took the first eight games, but the Bronx Bombers stormed back to even the season series 9-9.

More fun to come!

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