The New York Yankees are in the American League playoffs for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons. The Yankees clinched a playoff berth Wednesday afternoon with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of a doubleheader. The Yankees can clinch the American League East title outright Wednesday night in the second game if they win and the second-place Boston Red Sox lose to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees trailed, 2-1, heading to the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday. Eduardo Nunez tied the game with a solo home run off Tampa Bay started James Shields. Later in the inning Robinson Cano drove a double over the head of Rays center fielder B.J. Upton to drive in two runs and provide the Yankees with their winning margin.
Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leaders, closed the game with a perfect ninth inning.
Phil Hughes was supposed to start for the Yankees, but he was replaced by Hector Noesi due to the lingering effects of back spasms. The Yankees wound up using eight pitchers and their bullpen put together 6.1 innings of shutout relief.
Yankee ace CC Sabathia will seek his 20th victory of the season in the second game.