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Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012

Yankees' Path to the Postseason: Sept. 14, 2012
BOSTON -- The Yankees have now successfully fended off five challenges from the Orioles to wrestle away control of the top spot in the American League East, opening play on Friday once again deadlocked for the top spot in the division.

That's five chances that the Orioles had to knock the Yankees from their perch, only for New York to somehow find a way to keep a share. How much longer can the Yankees' good fortune hold up? About 19 more games, if manager Joe Girardi has his way.

"I hope it lasts," Girardi said in the visiting manager's office at Fenway Park, permitting himself a chuckle. "We have a resilient group. I've said it all along. We've been through a lot this year. We have a resilient group."

The clubhouse television had been fixed upon all 14 innings of the Orioles' 3-2 victory over the Rays at Camden Yards, with many players keeping an eye fixed upon the action. More importantly for the Yankees, they went out and took care of their own business, as Phil Hughes pitched 7 1/3 strong innings to lead the way to a 2-0 win over the Red Sox.

"We knew they won, but you can't put any more importance on this game than the next," Hughes said. "We just have to go out and worry about ourselves, not worry about what they're doing or anything like that. Just go out and win every game we can control."

The Yankees have now won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 13-15 against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. Winning a third straight will be a challenge; the Rays are the next entry on an emotional swing that seems to fluctuate more than the craziest stock-market indexes.

"Now we're on a winning streak, so we're good again, right?" Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "You know what I mean? It was great to win this series, it really was, but we start all over tomorrow when we get home. Tampa always plays us tough. They're a handful, so we have to be ready to play, because the teams we're playing want to beat us."

Today's key games to watch (all times ET)

Rays (Price, 17-5) at Yankees (Sabathia, 13-5), 7:05 p.m. Preview >

Orioles (Saunders, 8-11) at A's (Milone, 12-10), 10:05 p.m. Preview >

If the postseason started today ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best AL record vs. Third-best AL record | Best AL record at Wild Card winner

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Wild Card: Second Wild Card at First Wild Card
Division Series: Second-best NL record vs. Third-best NL record | Best NL record at Wild Card winner

Postseason Bracket »

Postseason 101

Magic numbers
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.

Tiebreaker scenarios
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.

Tiebreaker rules »

2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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