New York Yankees win first AL East title since 2012

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The New York Yankees claimed their first MLB American League East title since 2012.

New York ended their drought in the AL with a 9-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.

It has been a remarkable season for the Yankees, and not only because of the superb individual performances but by how many players contributed to the title.

Players like Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford were relatively unknown to the Yankees before the season started, but they have combined to hit 44 home runs and drive in 139 runs this year as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks all missed significant amounts of time.

However, the Yankees' studs still performed well.

Second-year second baseman Gleyber Torres has hit 38 homers this season. Luke Voit has 21 while Brett Gardner, who has more than Judge and DJ LeMahieu, has been an MVP candidate in his first season in the pinstripes.

And even though Luis Severino just made his first appearance of 2019, the New York bullpen held down close games night after night. Starters like James Paxton (14-8, 3.88 ERA) and Domingo German (18-4, 4.09) also gave the Yankees a good enough rotation to support a potent line-up.

They entered Thursday's game with a franchise-record 288 home runs this year, trailing just the Minnesota Twins (289) in a race to set the all-time mark for a team in a season — they have both already broken the record which New York set last year.

Now, the Yankees turn their attention to the postseason where they have not won a pennant nor World Series since 2009. The last chance the Yankees had was in in 2017, when they lost to the Houston Astros in seven games in the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees' path likely goes through Houston again and now they have to compete with the Astros for the best record in MLB and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Astros hold the tie-breaker over the Yankees by virtue of winning the season series 4-3.

But the Yankees' story is just getting started.