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Yankees lose, but still clinch

The New York Yankees needed help to clinch their ninth consecutive AL East title last night, but that didn't stop them from celebrating like first-timers.

New York clinched another division championship when the second-place Red Sox lost to Minnesota. The Yankees began the day needing one win or a Boston loss to wrap up the AL East -- and their 12th straight playoff berth. New York was beaten, 3-2, in Toronto, but the final out in Boston about 30 minutes later set off a wild champagne celebration in the Yankees' clubhouse.

``It doesn't get old," Derek Jeter said. ``This is something that's not easy to do. If it was easy then everybody would be doing it."

Bengie Molina homered for Toronto, and the Yankees couldn't take advantage after Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay left in the fourth with a strained right forearm and Toronto trailing, 1-0.

Sean Henn (0-1), making his first start of the season, allowed three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Molina tied the score with his 17th homer, Reed Johnson hit an RBI single off Brian Bruney, and Alex Rios added a run-scoring double to make it 3-1.

Bernie Williams cut it to 3-2 with a homer off winner David Romero (1-0) in the sixth.

``It's a great moment," Williams said during the celebration. ``Every year that I play it gets more special because I don't know if this is going to be the last one."

Astros 7, Reds 2 -- Roger Clemens picked up career win No. 348 by pitching six scoreless innings for Houston in his final home start of the season -- and possibly his career.

Luke Scott had a three-run triple and a solo homer and Craig Biggio hit a three-run homer as the Astros won for just the third time in 10 games.

The Reds couldn't figure out Clemens (7-5), who struck out six and allowed three hits with three walks. He did not yield an earned run for the fourth time this season and allowed fewer than three for the 15th time in 17 starts.

Tigers 6, White Sox 2 -- Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez homered to help visiting Detroit maintain its slim lead in the AL Central.

The Tigers kept its half-game advantage over Minnesota while pushing Chicago further behind in the division (six games) and wild-card race (5 1/2 games) with 10 games remaining.

Phillies 6, Cubs 2 -- Brett Myers pitched his first complete game in 13 months and Chase Utley hit a two-run homer to lead surging Philadelphia at home. Myers (12-6) gave up six hits, and tied his career high with 12 strikeouts in winning his fourth straight decision as the Phillies won for the seventh time in nine games.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 2 -- Edgar Gonzalez held host San Diego to six hits in seven innings while his teammates knocked around David Wells and the Padres' bullpen for 18 hits in a rout.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 4 -- Freddy Sanchez matched a career high with four hits as visiting Pittsburgh handed Los Angeles its 11th loss in 17 games and dropped the Dodgers into a tie with Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead.

Angels 3, Royals 0 -- Kelvim Escobar (11-13) tossed seven shutout innings and Orlando Cabrera drove in all three runs for visiting Los Angeles.

Devil Rays 4, Orioles 2 -- Host Tampa Bay broke a season-high nine-game losing streak when Ty Wigginton hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth.

Marlins 6, Mets 3 -- At New York, Dontrelle Willis (12-11) hit two home runs, drove in three runs, and pitched into the ninth to bring an end to Florida's four-game skid.

Giants 7, Rockies 4 -- At Denver, Barry Bonds's pinch-hit single in the eighth broke a tie game and San Francisco scored five times in the inning to snap a four-game losing streak.

Brewers 1, Cardinals 0 -- Rookie Carlos Villanueva combined with two relievers on a four-hitter and Geoff Jenkins won it for Milwaukee when he homered leading off the bottom of the ninth.

Athletics 4, Indians 3 -- Milton Bradley homered and singled in the tying run, and Frank Thomas hit a go-ahead double to lead host Oakland past Cleveland.

Mariners 6, Rangers 3 -- Cha Seung Baek (4-1) allowed two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings as Seattle officially eliminated host Texas from the AL West race.

Braves 7, Nationals 3 -- Brian McCann, Andruw Jones, and Jeff Francoeur all homered to power Atlanta in Washington.

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