Powered by a nine-run second inning that featured four homers, the New York Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the American League East with a 10-2 shellacking of the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a regular season-ending three-game series from Yankee Stadium.
Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and a returning Mark Teixeira all went deep during the second-inning outburst that propelled New York one game ahead of Baltimore for the division's top spot. The Orioles were dealt a 5-3 defeat at Tampa Bay on Monday.
"That's what you hope to have all the time when you're playing this game, that you have control of your own destiny," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Now we have to go out and win a ballgame tomorrow."
The four homers tied a Yankees' record for one inning, set initially at Toronto on June 30, 1977 and matched against Tampa Bay on June 21, 2005.
Cano finished 3-for-5 with three RBI and Granderson collected two hits and knocked in two runs, while Teixeira reached the seats in his second at-bat of his first game back from a strained left calf that had sidelined the slugging first baseman for 30 of the Yankees' last 31 contests.
CC Sabathia (15-6) did his part on the mound as well, limiting the Red Sox to two runs and four hits while striking out seven over a sharp eight-inning stint that cemented his sixth straight season of at least 15 wins.
Counterpart Clay Buchholz (11-8) wasn't nearly as effective for Boston, permitting eight runs and six hits -- including three of the homers -- before being removed with two outs in the second.
"It's tough whenever you leave pitches out of the middle of the plate and every one of them gets hit," said Buchholz. "That's what [New York] is known for. They hit mistakes."
Daniel Nava had a solo homer and Che-Hsuan Lin went 2-for-3 for the spiraling Red Sox, losers of six straight and 10 of their last 11 outings.
Buchholz retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, but failed to make it out of a second inning in which the Yankees pounded out eight hits and sent 13 men to the plate.
Cano began the barrage with a screaming line drive that easily cleared the center field wall on Buchholz's first pitch of the frame. After Nick Swisher singled two batters later, Granderson launched his 41st homer of the year just inside the right field foul pole for a 3-0 New York lead.
Martin followed with an opposite-field shot that was upheld after a replay review determined a fan did not reach into the field of play, and Buchholz issued back-to-back walks to Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter before Ichiro Suzuki singled to load the bases.
Chavez would come home on Alex Rodriguez's sacrifice fly, and Cano ended Buchholz's night with a two-run double to center that extended the Yankees' margin to 7-0.
Alfredo Aceves then came on in relief and was greeted by Teixeira's blast into the middle deck in right field that capped New York's power binge.
"For us to get nine [runs in one inning], that just doesn't happen," said Teixeira. "You don't see that very often. It took the pressure off the rest of the game."
Nava put Boston on the board in the fourth with his second homer in as many games, but Sabathia set down nine of the next 10 hitters before running into a little trouble in the seventh.
Mauro Gomez led off that inning with a walk and took second on a Sabathia wild pitch before advancing another base on a ground out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Boston's second run.
Melky Mesa's pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth accounted for the Yankees' 10th run, and Freddy Garcia closed things out with a 1-2-3 inning in relief of Sabathia.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia sat out the game after jamming his left ring finger in the team's loss at Baltimore on Sunday ... Cano is now batting .621 (18-of-29) during a seven-game hitting streak ... Buchholz gave up five homers over six innings in a Apr. 20 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park ... Granderson reached the 41-homer mark for the second straight season, and his 82 long-balls since the start of 2011 are the most in the majors ... Swisher finished 3-for-4 in the win.