The New York Yankees clinched their ninth consecutive American League East title on Wednesday despite a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Minnesota's 8-2 win over the Red Sox made it impossible for second-placed Boston to catch the Yankees at the top of the division, while the win also kept the Twins on track for a playoff berth.
The Yankees celebrated their 12 straight post-season appearance in customary champagne-spraying fashion and join the crosstown rivals Mets as the first two teams to make the playoffs, keeping the possibility of a Subway Series on track.
"It never gets old," champagne-drenched Yankees captain Derek Jeter told reporters.
"It's something that's difficult to do. If it was easy everyone would be doing it so you really appreciate it. Every time is different but this is very special because it's been a tough year," he said.
With the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball at nearly US$200 million, division crowns are the very least expected by demanding Yankees supporters and so are World Series titles.
But while division titles have become routine in the Bronx, the Yankees have not celebrated a World Series since 2000.
As the playoffs approach, expectations are again sky high among the Yankees faithful that the drought is about to end.
"We have a long way to go, a long road to get down," Yankees manager Joe Torre added.
"You see how difficult it is for clubs to repeat. But just getting to a World Series, winning one World Series is not what this organization is about," he said.
The Yankees sent a rookie starter to the mound for the third-straight contest, but 25-year-old lefthander Sean Henn (0-1) was chased from the game three-and-two-third innings into the contest, after he gave up three runs on four hits.
Henn, however, did last longer than Toronto's Roy Halladay, who exited after three-and-a-third innings with a strained right forearm.
The Yankees had hoped to celebrate their postseason berth on the field, but they were forced to wait and watch in the clubhouse as the Twins closed out their win.
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Red Sox loss hands title to Yankees
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