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Welcome to the party, boys

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The Reds welcomed Jay Bruce at home plate after Bruce's ninth-inning home run made them National League Central Division champs.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Matt Garza came prepared with goggles, to keep the beer out of his eyes.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The Yanks and Rays still must decide who will become AL East champs.
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The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays clinched American League playoff spots yesterday and the Cincinnati Reds made it to baseball’s postseason for the first time in 15 years by winning the National League’s Central Division.

The Yankees topped the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1; the Rays shut out the Baltimore Orioles 5-0; and the Reds edged the Houston Astros 3-2 on Jay Bruce’s home run in the bottom of the ninth.

"This was the first step, getting in, now we’ve got a chance to defend our title," said Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who won his 21st game. "I feel like last year everything came a little easy. This year we’ve been grinding and I think that makes for a lot of character on the team. Hopefully it will help us in the playoffs."

The Yankees are a half-game behind the Rays in the race for first place in the AL East.

The victories by the Rays and Yankees eliminated the Boston Red Sox from playoff contention.

"There’s nothing like it," Bruce said as the Reds celebrated.

Bruce’s game-ending shot marked the 22nd time the Reds have won in their last at-bat this season.

"When he hit that one up there, there was a big sigh of relief and the party was on," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

 

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