Yanks sweep Rays, secure AL East title

NEW YORK — Jorge Posada came off the bench and helped the Yankees to yet another first-place finish with a go-ahead single in the eighth inning, and New York swept the Tampa Bay Rays by identical 4-2 scores in a day-night doubleheader Wednesday to win the AL East.

Accomplishing most of their regular-season goals with a week to spare, the Yankees earned their 16th playoff berth in 17 seasons by winning the day game behind Robinson Cano's tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth.

For the Rays, it was a damaging day as they missed a chance to move up on Boston in the AL wild-card race. The Red Sox, despite losing to Baltimore, still extended their lead over Tampa Bay to 21/2; games. The Los Angeles Angels also are 21/2; games behind.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 4

At Boston, the reeling Red Sox blew another late lead and lost for the 14th time in 18 games, booed by fans at Fenway Park after Vladimir Guerrero and the Orioles rallied.

Ace Josh Beckett took the mound, hoping to put some distance between Boston and the Rays. Beckett (13-6) allowed just one hit through five innings as the Red Sox built a 4-1 lead.

But Beckett allowed a run in the sixth and two more in the seventh on Mark Reynolds' second homer that tied the game.

Mariners 5, Twins 4

At Minneapolis, Ichiro Suzuki stopped Kevin Slowey's no-hitter with a two-out infield single in the sixth inning and added an RBI double in the seventh, spurring the Mariners to a victory in Minnesota, the 11th straight defeat for the Twins.

Brandon League, who escaped a ninth-inning, no-out, bases-loaded situation to preserve the win the night before, gave up a two-out RBI single to Trevor Plouffe before retiring Brian Dinkelman on a roller in front of the plate with two runners on.

White Sox 8, Indians 4

At Cleveland, Mark Buehrle bounced back from a poor outing and pitched six effective innings, leading the White Sox past the Indians.

Angels 7, Blue Jays 2

At Toronto, Dan Haren's outing ended after he was hit by a line drive on the final out of the eighth inning, Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells homered, and the Angels beat the Blue Jays.

Haren (16-9) was struck on the inside of the left wrist, his non-throwing arm, by Eric Thames' liner. The ball caromed to Maicer Izturis at second base, who threw to first for the third out as Haren fell to the ground in pain. He was able to walk off but headed straight down the tunnel to the clubhouse.

Tigers 6, Royals 3

At Kansas City, Mo., Ramon Santiago drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Don Kelly added a two-run homer and the Tigers beat the Royals.

Rangers 3, Athletics 2

At Oakland, Calif., Ian Kinsler hit a tying home run leading off the eighth and Josh Hamilton followed with another homer two batters later, lifting Texas to a win over the Athletics and reducing the Rangers magic number to clinch the AL West to three.

Michael Young, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli added two hits apiece for Texas, which won its 90th game to match its win total of 2010.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5

At Los Angeles, Justin Christian had three hits and drove in three runs — all with two outs — and the Giants beat the Dodgers to keep their slim NL West playoff hopes alive.

Los Angeles had its four-game winning streak ended as it dropped back to .500.

Ryan Vogelsong (12-7) allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings, struck out three and walked one in extending his career-high victory total. The All-Star right-hander has gone 3-6 in his last nine starts after being 9-1 through his first 20 games.

Diamondbacks 8, Pirates 5

At Phoenix, Miguel Montero had a two-run homer among his three hits and the Arizona Diamondbacks jumped on the Pittsburgh Pirates early in a win that cut their magic number for clinching the NL West to two.

A day after stranding 11 runners in a loss to Pittsburgh, the Diamondbacks put pressure on the Pirates from the start, setting a team record with four stolen bases while scoring three runs off Russ Ohlendorf (1-3) in the first inning.

Cardinals 6, Mets 5

At St. Louis, David Freese drove in five runs with a triple and a three-run homer, and the surging Cardinals beat the Mets.

The Cardinals have won four straight and 12 of 14 to move within 11/2; games of Atlanta in the National League wild-card race. St. Louis, a season-high 17 over .500 (86-69), has seven games left and will go for a sweep of the Mets today.

Marlins 4, Braves 0

At Miami, Javier Vazquez allowed only two hits in seven innings Wednesday against his former team, and the Marlins played the spoiler's role by beating Atlanta.

For the third start in a row, Vazquez (12-11) did not allow a run. He extended his streak of scoreless innings to 25, a Marlins record for a starter.

Cubs 7, Brewers 1

At Chicago, Matt Garza pitched a six-hitter, Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and the Chicago Cubs prolonged Milwaukee's drive to clinch the NL Central, beating the Brewers in the final game at Wrigley Field this season.

The Brewers dropped two of their games against the Cubs and finished 39-42 on the road. They now go to Miller Park to wind up the regular season with a six-game homestand against the Marlins and Pirates beginning Friday.

Reds 2, Astros 0

At Cincinnati, Bronson Arroyo pitched a six-hitter and the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up their home schedule with a win over the Houston Astros.

Padres 4, Rockies 0

At Denver, rookie Anthony Bass pitched five solid innings to help the San Diego Padres complete a rare three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a win in the last game of the season at Coors Field.

Nationals 7, Phillies 5

At Philadelphia, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos each hit two-run home runs to help the Nationals beat Philadelphia, sending the NL East-champion Phillies to their season-worst fifth straight loss.

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