Toronto – From late August to late September.

When the New York Yankees were the best team in baseball in the first half of the season and their Super Bowl appearance in doubt in the second half, what seemed like a foregone conclusion was made official Tuesday night. A 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays gave the Yankees their 20th American League East title.

It’s New York’s first division pennant since 2019, the year Aaron Boone won his first title as coach.

Gleyber Torres He had three hits and three RBIs Aaron Judge He walked four times to chase his 61st home run in the win. The Yankees won for the eighth time in the last nine games Jameson Taillon He entered the eighth inning for his 14th win of the season.

“This was never easy. The division is as good as it’s ever been,” Boone said in a postgame on-field interview. “We’ve taken a lot of punches this year, we’ve survived, and we’re going to have fun tonight.”

Judge, who extended his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff hit, went 0 for 1 to go along with four strikeouts.

But Anthony Rizzo He had two hits and one RBI, and Kyle Higashioka He had three hits and two runs, providing enough offense to clinch the division four days before the calendar turned to October.

“There’s a lot of different people contributing now. And it takes everybody,” Boone said.

The judge agreed.

“We have a lot of bad dudes in this room,” the judge said. “Certainly hungry guys, when you put guys in here who are special players and have that hunger and that drive, anything is possible.”

The Yankees, who looked to be running away from the American League pack before stumbling through August, appear headed for the No. 2 postseason seed behind the Houston Astros. Tuesday’s win was their 39th away win and 95th overall.

“We had some bad times, especially in August,” Boone said. “But they were never too down. They always had faith that they would get through this.”

Toronto fell to 17-9 in September while still looking to secure the AL’s top wild-card spot. George Spring He finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and his 24th home run of the season. It was Springer’s 52nd career home run, one shy of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (53) for third all-time.

But the Yankees scored two runs in the third inning on RBI singles from Torres and Rizzo and never looked back. Torres now has 23 RBI this month, third most in baseball in September.

Judge is one homer away from tying Roger Maris’ American League all-time mark and the Yankees will close out the series at Toronto on Wednesday night. Gerrit Coll On the mound. New York returns home to open a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

“It’s been a long year so far, we’re definitely not done, but this is a big first step to getting out there and winning the World Series,” Judge said. This is definitely something special with this group of guys.

Before Tuesday’s game, Judge met and passed in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs star Austin Matthews, the NHL MVP last season. Matthews threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Judge’s first at-bat.

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