New York - Soaked to the skin with champagne, Mark Teixeira stood on the giant "NY" logo in the Yankees' clubhouse and shouted like crazy.
“Tastes good!” he hollered.
Favored to win the World Series since opening day, the New York Yankees celebrated like playoff newcomers after beating Boston, 4-2, Sunday to clinch the AL East title and homefield advantage throughout the postseason.
Absent from the playoffs last season, the Yankees put a bow on this title with their major league-leading 100th win.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“Everything is clicking right now,” winning pitcher Andy Pettitte said. “When you miss out, it makes you a little more hungry to get back there.”
Maybe that’s why Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and a roomful of All-Star multimillionaires went wild, chanting and jumping and spraying each other with bubbly. Teixeira and many others wore goggles to stave off the sting – of victory, that is.
“I think the way last year ended left a bad taste in all our mouths,” manager Joe Girardi said. “There’s a lot of excitement. This has been a fun group, and they enjoy it.”
Hideki Matsui’s go-ahead single in the sixth inning energized the damp fans and put them on notice that a party was coming. The first real bash at the new Yankee Stadium began with a most familiar scene – Rivera on the mound, closing out another clincher.
Catcher Jose Molina leaped up from behind the plate even before Rivera had fielded Jacoby Ellsbury’s soft comebacker for the final out. The Yankees swarmed Rivera on the first-base side of the mound while players in the bullpen streamed in.
Nick Swisher wasted no time putting on an AL East Champions hat. The crowd responded with a standing ovation as the Yankees began walking off the field, with Jeter at the front and several teammates pulling on gray championship T-shirts.
“Winning a championship is what I came here for,” pitcher CC Sabathia said. “It definitely feels good – first one in pinstripes, first one in the new stadium, first celebration.”
The three-game sweep extended the Yankees’ winning streak to five. They finished 9-9 against Boston this year, surprising since New York lost the first eight matchups.