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How the East was Won

NEW YORK - MAY 13:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves runs against the New York Mets on May 13, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Braves defeated the Mets 8-7 in twelve innings.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jeff MoodyContributor IMay 25, 2009

Yankees vs. Red Sox is Major League Baseball’s biggest rivalry, which immediately makes the American League East the proving grounds of baseball dominance, especially considering Boston’s recent success and the rise of Tampa Bay and Toronto as contenders.

This year’s AL East is a four-team race, but the nation should not miss the intriguing story lines in the National League East. The reigning World Series champ resides there, as well as New York’s other team and the one-time perennial playoff bound Atlanta Braves.

This year’s interleague games took place between these two divisions. With all of the attention given to the AL East, one would think that they would dominate these matchups.

Well, they did not.

Philadelphia won two of three from the Yankees, and Boston had to win Sunday to avoid being swept by the Mets. The Braves swept the Blue Jays, who led the AL East coming into this series.

The story lines were great. Brad Lidge, who was perfect for Philadelphia last year, blew two saves over the weekend, forcing the Phillies into a loss on Saturday and an extra innings win Sunday.

The Mets, without one of their best hitters and a shaky bullpen, managed to win two of three from Boston, showing why they will continue to contend.

Atlanta's 33-year-old Japanese rookie Kenshin Kawakami went pitch-for-pitch with Roy Halladay and kept the Braves close enough to get the run they needed in the late innings after Halladay’s exit. Add in a shaky ninth inning for Mike Gonzalez and a fantastic bases loaded one out rescue by Rafael Sorino, and we had the makings of a great dramatic series.

Both divisions will go down to the wire with three teams in the NL East and four teams in the AL East that will contend for the title.

The NL East finished the first weekend of interleague play 7/9. The true results will be seen as the year progresses through the rest of interleague play, but the NL East has begun its case to be named baseball’s most dominate conference.

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