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CC Sabathia combined on a two-hitter to become the major leagues' first 19-game winner, Robinson Cano hit a tiebreaking, opposite-field homer off the top of the left-field fence and the New York Yankees closed in on the AL East title with a 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
Sabathia (19-7) allowed just one hit in seven innings to outduel Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-6) as New York cut to one the magic number for its first division title since 2006. Already assured of no worse than the wild card, the Yankees have won eight of nine against their rival after starting the season 0-8 against Boston.
They can wrap up the AL East on Sunday when they play the Red Sox for the final time this season.
Boston's magic number for a playoff berth stayed stuck at three.
Cano homered in the sixth inning, and Johnny Damon added a two-out, two-run single in the eighth off former Mets closer Billy Wagner, who entered to boos in his first game in New York since Boston acquired him last month. The runs were unearned because shortstop Chris Woodward dropped the ball for an error during a rundown after pinch-runner Brett Gardner got caught off third on a ball in the dirt.
Sabathia pitched 5 2-3 hitless innings against Red Sox on Aug. 8 before Jacoby Ellsbury singled and pitched shutout ball over 7 2-3 innings that day. This time he retired his first 11 batters before walking Victor Martinez in the fourth, and he allowed his only hit when Mike Lowell singled up the middle past second baseman Cano leading off the fifth.
Sabathia struck out eight and walked two, lowering his ERA to 3.21. He is 9-0 with a 2.04 ERA in his last 11 starts and has matched his career high for wins, set with Cleveland two years ago. He'll get a chance to reach 20 at Tampa Bay on Friday night.
Phil Hughes struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Mariano Rivera finished for his 43rd save in 45 chances, striking out Mike Lowell with two on to end the game. Boston's Victor Martinez singled off Rivera, extending his hitting streak to 25 games.
In his third start following nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, Matsuzaka pitched to Martinez for the first time and allowed six hits in seven innings, walked five and hit a batter.
Through five innings, the Yankees were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners, including six on second or third. Cano homered leading off the bottom of the sixth, giving him 100 runs and 199 hits this season.
Sabathia got two excellent defensive plays behind him to preserve his no-hit bid. Melky Cabrera made a small jump against the center-field fence to catch Jed Lowrie's drive in the third, and shortstop Derek Jeter ran into short center for a leaping grab on Kevin Youkilis' flare in the fourth.
New York put its leadoff man on in four of the first five innings and loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Rodriguez, just 1 for 16 against Dice-K, hit a dribbler a few feet up the first-base line. Martinez ran out, picked up the ball and dived back, slapping his mitt onto the plate for the forceout ahead of the sliding Jeter. Hideki Matsui then fouled to the catcher and Nick Swisher fouled to Lowell off third.
This program aired on September 27, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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