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Yankees Make Postseason for 10th Year in a Row

New York clinches at least a wild-card berth with a 7-3 victory over the Devil Rays.

September 24, 2004|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — After clinching another postseason trip, there were no high-fives or celebratory handshakes in the New York Yankees' clubhouse. It was business as usual -- except for all the rookies dressed in Elvis Presley outfits.

Derek Jeter hit a leadoff home run, Jon Lieber pitched into the eighth inning and the Yankees clinched their 10th consecutive playoff berth with a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday.

"It's nice, but we expect that coming in," Alex Rodriguez said.

John Flaherty also homered for the Yankees (96-57), who are assured of no worse than a wild-card spot.

They're guaranteed of finishing among the top two in the American League East, and no team can finish second in the AL Central or AL West with more than 95 wins.

"We don't come in here saying, 'Let's get to the postseason,' " Jeter said. "We've made the postseason before. We want to win the division."

New York has a 4 1/2 -game lead in the AL East over the second-place Boston Red Sox. The Yankees go to Fenway Park for a three-game series this weekend.

While most of the Yankees were putting on suits for the trip to Boston, rookies such as Andy Phillips, Scott Proctor, Brad Halsey and Bubba Crosby were slipping into sparkly different-colored Elvis outfits -- complete with wigs and sunglasses -- while classic tunes from Presley played over the loudspeaker as part of a team hazing ritual.

The Yankees took a low-key approach instead of celebrating clinching a playoff spot.

"We just don't do that," Manager Joe Torre said. "If you're sitting in first place and celebrate just getting into the playoffs, you've already taken a psychological dip."

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