Yankees Clinch AL East with 5-2 Win vs. Blue Jays

Adam WellsSeptember 28, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Josh Donaldson #28 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammates Harrison Bader #22,Gleyber Torres #25,Anthony Rizzo #48 and Aaron Judge #99 after Donaldson drove in the game winning run in the 10th inning at Yankee Stadium on September 22, 2022 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in 10 innings. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Yankees are American League East champions for the first time since 2019.

Thanks to their 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Yankees clinched the division title.

The Yankees already clinched a playoff berth with their 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 22. This is the sixth consecutive year the Bronx Bombers will be in the postseason.

There was a little bit of sweating among Yankees fans about their team's division lead down the stretch this season. They have struggled since the All-Star break with a 31-31 record, which coincided with their lead in the AL East going from a season-high 15.5 games on July 8 to as little as 3.5 games on Sept. 9.

That period of struggling did overshadow what was a fantastic first half for the Yankees that allowed them to open up a significant lead in the AL East. Their 64-28 record mark before the All-Star break was the best in Major League Baseball.

In the midst of the team-wide issues, Aaron Judge was able to keep the train on the tracks for the most part before they started to turn things around in September. The AL MVP frontrunner entered Tuesday's contest hitting .364/.506/.818 with 27 homers and 58 RBI in his last 60 games since July 21.

New York Yankees @Yankees

No. 60 ties The Sultan of Swat for 2nd all-time in American League history!<a href="https://twitter.com/TheJudge44?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheJudge44</a> 👨‍⚖️ <a href="https://t.co/DNwFXsJFMC">pic.twitter.com/DNwFXsJFMC</a>

This marks the 21st AL East title for the Yankees, including 15 since MLB adopted the three-division-per-league format in 1995. They haven't gone more than five seasons between division titles in the past 27 years.

The Yankees are also in position to benefit from the new playoff format, which rewards the top two division winners in each league with a bye to the Division Series. They have the second-best record in the American League behind only the Houston Astros.

The last time the Yankees won the AL East in 2019, they advanced to the American League Championship Series before losing to the Astros in six games. They are seeking their first World Series appearance since 2009.