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The Yankees Clinched a Playoff Spot!

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21:  Mark Teixeira #25, Alex Rodriguez #13 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It's official! For the sixteenth time in seventeen years, the Yankees will play October baseball. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion, but this afternoon's 4–2 victory over the Rays guaranteed that, even if they choose to henceforth field a lineup of sleepy toddlers and lose their remaining games, New York will be at least a wild card. Despite that plan's potential for cuteness and fun for the whole family, the Yankees are striving for greater goals, and are withholding celebration as another opportunity presents itself immediately. Today's win, which included a lively eighth inning comeback and yet another Mariano Rivera save, was the first of a doubleheader. The second game is this evening, and a win there, combined with a Red Sox loss, would cement the Yankees as the AL East champion. What an eventful day that would be!

Tune in at 7 p.m. to see CC Sabathia take the mound as the Yanks get another shot at the Rays. At best, they'll finish the night with that divisional pennant. At worst, they'll be a sure thing for the postseason. And there's still the toddler option. [ESPN box score]

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/2011 Getty Images