The Yankees clinched a playoff spot with a come-from-behind 4-2 win in game one of a doubleheader on Wednesday, then wrapped up the American League East with another thrilling 4-2 triumph in the nightcap.
Jorge Posada provided the heroics in the second game, as he came up with a pinch-hit, two-run single in the eighth inning, and that coupled with Boston's loss to Baltimore helped the Yankees to their 17th AL East crown and their 12th in the last 16 years.
"It's always satisfying, but like I always say, you can't sit down and figure out what's going to happen before a season starts," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "You have to go out there and you have to play the games. We know how good everyone is in our division and the other teams are in baseball, but we had confidence in our own team."
New York is five games ahead of both Detroit and Texas for the league's best record.
The wild card chase is still in full swing, though, as the Rays remain 2 1/2 games back of Boston, with the Angels tied with Tampa Bay.
"We were fortunate that the Orioles helped out once again," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "At the end of the day, the effort was great, but once again the inability to get the big hit at the right time is kicking out butt a little bit."
New York will hand the ball to righty Bartolo Colon this evening, as he tries for his first win since July 30. Colon is 0-3 in his last nine starts and received a no-decision his last time out on Saturday in Toronto, but was awful, as he allowed six runs and seven hits in just four innings of a 7-6 win.
Colon lost to the Rays the last time he faced them and is 9-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 20 games against them.
Getting the call for the Rays will be left-handed prospect Matt Moore, who will be making his first big league start. Moore has appeared in two games out of the bullpen for the Rays and has allowed three earned runs in 4 1/3 frames.
"I'm happy about it," Moore said. "It's the same opportunity that was presented to me when I got called up. It's exciting. I'm going to do my best [Thursday] to take my pregame as I always have. You know it's a mound and it's 60 feet away. As long as I can stay within myself I feel confident."
The Yanks have won nine of their 14 meetings with the Rays this season.