The Boston Red Sox have clinched three consecutive AL East division titles for the first time in franchise history by defeating the New York Yankees.
Pop open the champagne bottles. The Boston Red Sox are AL East champions once again, defeating the New York Yankees in the Bronx to clinch their third consecutive division title for the first time in franchise history.
There was no lack of suspense as the Red Sox kept us waiting to celebrate. They entered the series in New York needing only one win to clinch the division. Facing a sweep after dropping the first two games, the Red Sox calmed our nerves by exploding for six runs over the final few frames to crush the slim hopes of the Yankees with a comeback victory.
It’s been over a week since Boston secured their third straight playoff berth, matching a franchise record. Both previous postseason streaks (2003-2005 and 2007-2009) were aided by the Wild Card. Winning the division is far more meaningful, especially now in the era of two Wild Card teams. It’s that much sweeter when you clinch the division on the home field of your fiercest rival.
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The clubhouse mood was far more energetic than the somber atmosphere the last time the Red Sox clinched a division title in Yankee Stadium. Boston backed their way into the AL East crown in 2016 on a night in which they lost to the Yankees on a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira. A Toronto Blue Jays loss earlier that night meant the division title was already secured, yet Red Sox players hardly felt like celebrating in the wake of a gut-wrenching loss.
Boston wrapped up the division with a win over the Houston Astros on the second to last day of the 2017 season. They would meet the same team again days later in the ALDS, only to get steamrolled in four games by an Astros team on their way to a World Series title.
This time feels different. Not only did they earn the clinching game with a victory, but Boston also secured their division title with over a week left in the regular season while owning the best record in baseball.
The Red Sox have stood alone at the top of the AL East since July 2 when they defeated the Washington Nationals to move a game ahead of the Yankees, who lost in extra innings to the Atlanta Braves that day. Boston hasn’t looked back since, increasing their lead to five games by the end of July and leading by as many as 12.5 games this month.
Boston now has 104 wins this season, tying the 1946 club for second-most in franchise history. One more victory will tie the franchise record set in 1912. With nine regular season games left on the schedule, it’s a good bet we’ll be seeing a new record soon.