Yankees clinch A.L. East while blowing out Red Sox

Well, we'll not have any Thursday baseball.

The Yankees and Rays took care of that Wednesday night, when the Yankees blew out the last-place Red Sox and the Rays beat the Orioles, 4-1.

For Thursday baseball, of course, we needed the Yankees to lose to the Red Sox and the Orioles to beat the Rays. The odds of that never looked real good, with Daisuke Matsuzaka starting for Boston and the Orioles playing on the road. But then again, the odds never looked real good for the Orioles to be playing an important game on the last day of the season. So you had to watch, and hope.

But it wasn't a close thing. The Yankees ripped Matsuzaka for five early runs, and tacked on plenty more later when -- among other things -- both Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson hit their second home runs in the game. Meanwhile, the Sox could do little against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up just two runs in seven innings. It was perhaps a fitting end to Boston's dreadful season, as they were swept by the Yankees in this critical series.

Even if the Yankees hadn't won 14-2, they still would have clinched their 13th division title in the last 17 seasons because, down in St. Petersburg, the Orioles couldn't do a thing against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, while at the same time Evan Longoria was hitting one-two-three home runs. He also hit two homers in the last game of the 2011 season, which means he has almost certainly obliterated whoever had the old record. The Orioles finally got on the board in the ninth inning, but their one run wasn't nearly enough.

The Orioles, however improbably, are the American League's second Wild Card, and will visit the Rangers Friday night for their one-game playoff, the prize a best-of-five series against these New York Yankees.

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