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Rays Beat O’s to Keep Baltimore Game Back From Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles are one game back from the Yankees with two games to go. In one of the most highly-anticipated finishes in recent memory, can the Yanks hold off the underdogs and win the division like so many fans (and gamblers) expected? Or can the heavy underdog O’s pull out a division win for the ages? Time will tell, though the Orioles did not get off on the right foot in the first game of their final three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The O’s lost, 5-3.

“We didn’t take care of our business. We lost,” Orioles star Adam Jones said after the game. “When it comes to the Yankees, we can’t control them. We can’t control if they win or lose.”

At this point, the O’s know they’re in, but they’re seeking the greatest prize of all: defeating the Evil Empire and seizing the division lead.

“We’ve clinched a spot, but we’ve got an opportunity to win the East. That’s big,” Jones said before the game. “You get to put up a banner at Camden Yards. It speaks something about the team. It means you finished ahead of the Yankees and Boston and Tampa Bay, everybody.”

Despite winning the game, they Rays were officially knocked out of playoff contention when the Oakland A’s defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3 late last night. The Rays held on to a slim ray of hope after the game concluded.

“It is frustrating when it’s out of your hands, but we put ourselves in that position. We could have held our own destiny,” Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said. “Even coming into the last road trip we had that chance, but we let a couple slip that we wish we could have had back, but we’re doing all we can now with what we have.”

Yankees Trounce Red Sox 10-2

On Monday night, as the Rays were beating the Orioles, the Yankees were thoroughly thumping their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, to take a one game lead in the AL East. And the Yanks didn’t just win: they did it in record style with four players (Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson) each hitting home runs in a nine-run second inning.

“There’s a lot of teams that would love to be in our position right now,” Teixeira said after the game. “You can count all of the things that have gone wrong but, hey, we’re right here where we want to be. And if we keep winning, we’ll be division champions and have a chance to make a run in the playoffs.”

With the impressive win, the Yankees are in the drivers seat the rest of the way. While Baltimore is playing a feisty Tampa Bay team, the Yankees can close out the season with a sweep against the wretched Red Sox and claim the division.

“That’s what you want,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what you hope that you have all the time when you’re playing this game, that you can control your own destiny.”

If New York fails to lock up the division and it comes down to a one game wild card playoff, Sabathia would be the top candidate to start the game even on short rest. But Girardi’s keeping his cards close to the vest.

“I’m not worried about Friday. I’m worried about today, and now that today is over, I’m worried about tomorrow,” Girardi said. “I think if you start thinking too far ahead, you can get yourself in a bad position.”

However, I don’t believe it will come to that. The Yankees are getting hot at the right moment, and look fully capable of sweeping the Red Sox and finally winning the division. I would bet on the Yanks to pull it out and win the AL East.

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