Major League Baseball: Yankees’ magic number is 1
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2009
NEW YORK ó Put the bubbly on ice for the first clinching celebration at the new Yankee Stadium. With another dominant performance by CC Sabathia, the New York Yankees’ magic number for winning the AL East is down to one.
“We’ve got a lot of work left to do,” Sabathia said after smothering the Boston Red Sox by allowing just one hit over seven innings in a 3-0 victory Saturday. Then the big man quickly added: “It feels good right now.”
Sabathia (19-7) combined on a two-hitter with Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera to become the major leagues’ first 19-game winner, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking, opposite-field homer in the sixth against Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-6) that bounced off the top of the left-field fence and Johnny Damon slapped a soft, two-run single in the eighth off Billy Wagner.
Already assured of no worse than the wild card, the Yankees (99-56) have won eight of nine against their rival after starting the season 0-8 against Boston (91-63). They can wrap up their first division title since 2006 on Sunday when they play the Red Sox for the final time this season.
“We need one win basically in the next seven games,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You’d like to clinch as soon as possible.”
Boston’s magic number for a playoff berth stayed stuck at three.
“I don’t think it matters,” Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. “Both of us are probably going to the playoffs unless we don’t do something right.”
Sabathia threw shutout ball over 7 2-3 innings that day. He retired his first 11 batters before walking Victor Martinez in the fourth.