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Pompoms are out for Yankees

Bernie Williams got an afternoon full of ovations, a reward for 15 years of thrills he's given fans at Yankee Stadium.

Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang got to dress up as cheerleaders, a reminder that even though the pair starred in a critical win, they're still rookies.

Cano hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, Gary Sheffield added a three-run shot in the eighth, and Wang got another big victory, leading the Yankees over the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-4, yesterday in New York's final scheduled home game of the regular season.

''This was a game that we had to win," Williams said after perhaps his last game with New York in Yankee Stadium.

Cano and Wang did their best to get Williams a few more games in pinstripes and kept New York tied with the Red Sox in the East at 91-64 with a week to go.

Then they found some flamboyant attire at their lockers for the start of the final trip, a rookie hazing ritual. Williams was far more dignified, sartorially splendid in a gray suit, blue dress shirt, and multicolored tie.

''I can see they love Bernie here," Cano said.

A fan favorite since he came up to the Yankees in 1991, Williams went 1 for 4 and repeatedly was applauded by the sellout crowd. The 37-year-old center fielder, whose production has declined the past three years, can become a free agent after the season.

New York, which won for the 12th time in 14 games, headed to Baltimore for a four-game series. The Yankees close the season with three games at Fenway Park.

Royals 5, Indians 4 -- Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore lost Paul Phillips's ninth-inning double in the sun, allowing Angel Berroa to score the winning run for host Kansas City.

The Indians, who fell 2 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the Central, lost for only the third time in 20 games, trimming their wild-card lead to a half-game over the Red Sox and Yankees.

Rangers 6, Athletics 2 -- Rod Barajas hit a three-run homer and Michael Young extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games with an RBI double, leading visiting Texas past Oakland, which remained four games behind West-leading Los Angeles.

White Sox 4, Twins 1 -- Mark Buehrle pitched a four-hitter and Paul Konerko homered as host Chicago beat Minnesota for its third straight win.

Devils Rays 8, Angels 4 -- Jorge Cantu and Aubrey Huff homered on consecutive pitches, and visiting Tampa Bay ended Los Angeles's eight-game winning streak.

Tigers 8, Mariners 1 -- Curtis Granderson scored twice and drove in two runs for host Detroit.

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