Yankees Bash Red Sox, Hold Off Orioles to Win AL East

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees congratulates Alex Rodriguez #13 after Rodriguez scored on a home run by Robinson Cano in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox on October 3, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 before the Yankees score went final Wednesday evening, but New York's 14-2 beating over Boston made things official just a short while later.

The New York Yankees are the 2012 American League East champions, and it only took 162 games to figure it out. They also own the top seed and home-field advantage in the AL playoffs with this latest victory.

The Yankees entered the regular-season finale with a one-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles, creating an intriguing scenario. Had the Yankees lost and the Orioles won, the baseball world would have been treated to a one-game playoff to decide the division winner on Thursday. Instead, the Yankees victory made things much more straightforward.

Baltimore will now play Texas on Friday in the wild card play-in game, and the Yankees will travel to face the winner of that game on Sunday.

New York's 14-2 win over Boston was made possible by six Robinson Cano RBI and an excellent seven-inning start from Hiroki Kuroda. The Red Sox started the game's scoring with a Cody Ross one-run single in the opening inning, but the good news stopped there for Bobby Valentine and his club.

Curtis Granderson's three-run home run in the second inning jump-started New York's offense, and they wouldn't look back. Cano smacked two two-run home runs along with a two-run double to pace the offense. He's one of the best hitters in baseball, proving that once again with this latest dazzling performance at home.

Jose Iglesias interrupted New York's scoring with an RBI single in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop the Bronx Bombers from piling it on their arch-nemesis. Granderson hit his second home run of the night in the seventh frame, followed by four more Yankees runs.

Baltimore will still play on, but the AL East crown is New York's for the 13th time in the last 17 seasons.