By Joe McDonald at 20 September, 2012, 6:51 am
The Juice is going strong in its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
How bad do you want it? : One of the aims of the new playoff system was that it'd put a premium on winning your division in order to avoid the random nature of the do-or-die wild card play-in game. Nowhere is that dynamic more evident in the AL East, where the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are clawing at each other for the ALDS-guaranteeing safety of first place. Both teams have won four straight games with the Yankees again taking a slim half-game lead after sweeping a day-night doubleheader from the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday with 4-2 and 2-1 wins at Yankee Stadium .
The Orioles, meanwhile, kept their extra-inning magic alive on the west coast, sweeping the Mariners as Adam Jones' 11th-inning home run gave Baltimore a 3-1 win .
The most impressive performance from either team came from Ichiro, who collected seven total hits. Three came while batting leadoff for Derek Jeter in the matinee and his total output — which included four stolen bases in the nightcap — impressed the Yankees shortstop.
''That's tough to do,'' (Derek) Jeter told reporters. ''Doubleheader. I don't think I've ever done that in a doubleheader. I've been on the other side of it maybe an 0 for 8.''
The Yankees have a game in hand on the Orioles with two weeks left to play and they received another encouraging sign during Wednesday's opener as Andy Pettite pitched well in his first start back from a broken fibula. The lefthander pitched five scoreless innings in his return.