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Yankees 5, Rays 0: New York Closes In On AL East Title

The New York Yankees closed in Tuesday night on an American League East title virtually no one thought they could win when the 2011 season began. With a 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays the Yankees reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to two. A victory in either half of Wednesday's doubleheader with the Rays and the Yankees are in.

Meanwhile, the faltering Boston Red Sox can thank the Yankees for helping them out for at least one more day. The Red Sox lost to Baltimore, 7-5, but stayed two games in front of Tampa Bay in the chase for the AL wild card thanks to the Yankee victory.

Two of the individuals most responsible for the Yankee success this season put their talents on full display Tuesday. Ivan Nova improved to 16-4 on the season with 7.2 impressive shutout innings. He has not lost a start since June 3, more than three months ago, and has won 12 straight decisions. Is there any doubt the 24-year-old right-hander has to be the Yankees' No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia in the playoffs? I think not.

The other player is center fielder Curtis Granderson. He drove in four runs, three with a bases-loaded double, to increase his league-leading RBI total 119. He also has 41 home runs. Granderson's previous career highs were 30 home runs in 2009 and 74 RBI in 2007.

Final - 9.20.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay Rays 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
New York Yankees 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 X 5 14 0
WP: Ivan Nova (16 - 4)
LP: Wade Davis (10 - 10)

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