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The Yankees beat the Rays, clinch a playoff spot

Sep 21, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game One Getty Images

For the Yankees, it’s 16 playoff appearances in 17 years. For the Rays: missed opportunities. For the Red Sox: some breathing room, at least for a bit.  The Yankees beat the Rays 4-2 in the front end of a double header today.

The game was decided in the eighth when James Shields allowed a homer to Eduardo Nunez to tie it up.  Joe Maddon left Shields in the game and he struck out Eric Chavez before allowing Brett Gardner to single and then reach second on a stolen base. Derek Jeter then walked, bringing up Robinson Cano.

Shields was at 120 pitches at this point.  He was likely gassed, and it was a totally defensible call to bring in a reliever. Whether he brought in the correct one, however, in J.P. Howell is something Rays fans are likely still asking themselves. Howell has been the worst guy in that Rays pen all year. Yes, he’s a left and you want a lefty to face Cano in that situation, but Howell? That’s a major “hurm” moment if I’ve ever seen one. Cano doubled off Howell, scoring Gardner and Jeter. Which was basically the ballgame.

For the Yankees, the playoffs await again. For the Rays, another missed opportunity to put pressure on the Red Sox.  A Red Sox team which, even if it keeps losing games, won’t lose any ground if the Rays do the same.

Oh, and the Yankees did not have the champagne shower after this game. It would have made the nightcap a bit too difficult to get through, I would reckon.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    In Yankee land, Champagne is typically reserved for winning the WS and not much else. Maybe if the clinch the division tonight, but you will probably just get the quotes like, “We have not accomplished our goal yet.”

    • narrabeen23 - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      didn’t they celebrate a wild card birth last year?

      • zakharovsa - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        It was unclear who was going to win the division at that time. Here, not so much. Also, it’s BERTH, for crying out loud.

        To the first guy, they will celebrate if they clinch the division, guaranteed.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      No, no, no, get with the program. What’s this “Yankee land”? Even I, a non-yankee fan, knows that such statements must start with the phrase: In the Universe….

    • Kevin S. - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      Actually, the Yankees typically do a champagne bath when they clinch the division. Pauley Pavillion refusing to hang Final Four banners they ain’t.

  2. mianfr - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I’m sorry, did David Wells not pitch a perfect game while hungover?

    That’s disgracing your past, Yankees. This is why you’ll never live up to the ’98 team.

  3. EAST SIDE RYNO - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Remember during spring training when EVERYONE thought the Yanks weren’t going to make the playoffs?

    • aleskel - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      well, to be fair, there were a LOT of players who outperformed expectations: not just Jeter, Colon, Garcia, and Nova, but Martin, Granderson, and Robertson to boot. A lot of things fell in the Yanks’ favor this year

    • Ari Collins - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      Remember when most people thought the Yankees were maybe two games behind the Red Sox on paper and the likely wild card? And instead they’re a few games up and the likely division winners?

      WOW people were wrong.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Oh, NOW the Yankees fans are coming out of the woodwork. (Not you, Sabathia, be ready for tonight)
    BTW, right now Rangers and Tigers are tied. Pick your poison. Either way has it’s merit.

  5. SmackSaw - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Great! Now for the Red Sox to lose and the Angels to win…

  6. zidanevalor - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    The Yankees could have had two champaigne showers today: one for clinching a playoff berth after Game 1 and one for clinching the division (with a win in Game 2 and Red Sox loss tonight). That would have been awesomely excessive.

  7. aceshigh11 - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Congrats to the Yankees…definitely a better team than the Red Sox.

    They sure didn’t seem it going into the season, but the records speak for themselves.

    Red Sox start in 30 minutes…sigh. At least Beckett is on the mound…

  8. dailyrev - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Eight pitchers they used in that game 1, 4 of whom I’d never heard of. That’s not just a good team, it’s a great organization. Yeah, having the money’s one thing; making the right decisions, though, is quite another. I don’t see the Sawx callups getting many outs in the middle and late innings.

  9. kinggeorge96 - Sep 21, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    I don’t have any stats in front of me, but I believe Cano is better average wise against lefties this year?? iPad is about to die, so not gonna waste the time to look either… but my point being that a lefty might be standard practice to face a lefty batter, but in Cano’s case… the guys an animal!

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