NEW YORK -- The Yankees took full advantage of their doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, sweeping the twin bill at Yankee Stadium and heading into Thursday's series finale with a half-game lead over the Orioles, who edged the Mariners, 3-1, in 11 innings.
"It's huge, and all our games are big, but doubleheaders are tough," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter. "It's tough to beat a team twice in one day. We had two close games, but our pitching deserves credit."
The Yankees welcomed veteran Andy Pettitte back from the disabled list and into the pennant race for the first game of their doubleheader, which they won, 4-2. They took the nightcap, 2-1, behind Ichiro Suzuki's seventh hit of the day that drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
While the Yankees are still not fully healthy -- Mark Teixeira remains out with a Grade 1 left calf strain -- they believe the return of Pettitte provides stability for a rotation they will rely on for the stretch run.
"You're talking about almost like a living legend when you're talking about Andy Pettitte in New York," Nick Swisher said. "To have him back really solidifies our starting rotation."
A's (Milone, 13-10) at Tigers (Sanchez, 8-12), 1:05 p.m. Preview >
Blue Jays (Laffey, 3-5) at Yankees (Hughes, 15-12), 7:05 p.m. Preview >
Red Sox (Buchholz, 11-6) at Rays (Price, 18-5), 7:10 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
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.
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
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.