NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – In a year full of injuries, doubleheaders, and juiced baseballs – there was nothing that could slow the Yankees down in 2019.
New York clinched their first American League East division title since 2012 with a dominating 9-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels Thursday night.
After missing out a shot to clinch the night before, MVP candidate DJ LeMahieu launched yet another hit with runners in scoring position in the second inning – a three-run homer into the right-center field stands which gave New York a lead they would never surrender.
Players decided it was not a night for dog piles, not given how many already have gotten hurt, some in bizarre mishaps.
"We're just trying to avoid injuries," LeMahieu said.
Brett Gardner added his career-high 26th home run in the victory. He also drove in three runs, giving the 36-year-old a career-best 69 RBI.
"You got a team full of savages," slugger Aaron Judge said, invoking the word manager Aaron Boone made famous during his mid-summer rant at an umpire. "It's been a long season, a lot of ups and downs. We're going to celebrate and enjoy tonight, but we got a lot more baseball to play."
Despite putting 30 players on the injured list this year, New York (100-54) made Boone the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons.
"We got a lot bigger fish to fry, but this is the first step along the way," Boone said. "Nothing has got in their way. Whatever has come adversity-wise, they faced it and powered right through it."
The Yankees open the playoffs on Oct. 4, likely against Minnesota, which leads the AL Central, or the wild-card winner.
Although the division is wrapped up, the Yankees still have something to play for in 2019.
They are currently in a battle with the Houston Astros for the league's best record and home-field advantage in the postseason.
The Yankees matched the Astros with 100 wins on the season Thursday, Houston has one fewer loss as both juggernauts head towards October.
New York's 19th AL East title was its first following a run of 13 in 17 years that started in Derek Jeter's rookie season. The Yankees, led by Judge, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres, will be making their 21st postseason appearance in 25 years and 55th overall — 22 more than any other team.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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