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NYY@MIN: CC strikes out 10 over eight innings of work

This isn't exactly how one pictures a season-ending series between the Yankees and Red Sox, with Boston closing out its first losing season since 1997.

The Yankees have plenty to play for, however, entering Monday's series opener against Boston tied with the Orioles atop the American League East.

With three games remaining, Yankees manager Joe Girardi and his team know their fate is in their own hands.

"Our club knows what we have to do," Girardi said. "It's been that way the whole month. We just have to go out and win games -- that's the bottom line."

Although they clinched a postseason berth with the Angels' loss to the Rangers on Sunday night, the Yankees likely won't have an opportunity to rest their starters, as they fight for the division crown. Girardi said he wishes he could give some of his players a breather, but he doesn't view his team's situation as a negative.

"I think it's good," Girardi said. "Would you like to rest some guys? Yeah, but I don't think it hurts having to focus every day and stay focused. You think about some of our guys that are a little bit nicked up -- you wouldn't mind giving them a couple days off to see if it would help. You can't."

CC Sabathia is showing no need for rest, as the left-hander has worked eight innings and posted double-digit strikeout totals in each of his last two starts. He's opposed the Red Sox only once this season, on July 28, when he allowed six runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision.

Righty Clay Buchholz gets the ball for the Red Sox, who are 23 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Buchholz has faced the Yankees just once this season, back in April, and is 2-4 with a 5.84 ERA in eight career starts against them.

Buchholz is winless in his last seven starts, having posted a 4.31 ERA in that span.

Even though the Red Sox were eliminated from postseason play long ago, they'll come to play in the Bronx.

"Whether it's the Yankees or anybody else, we want to win," said reliever Clayton Mortensen. "It would be great to be on their home field the last three games of the season and disappoint them and get them out of the playoffs. That would be awesome.

"We just want to get a win more than that. If not, so be it. If they don't get to the playoffs because of that, even better."

Red Sox: Salty nearing mark
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia's 24 home runs are one shy of the most by a Boston player who primarily played catcher. The all-time Red Sox mark is held by Carlton Fisk, whose 26 homers in 1973 and '77 all came in games he was catching. All but two of Saltalamacchia's homers this year have come in games he's caught; he hit one while serving as the designated hitter and another as a pinch-hitter.

• Red Sox relievers have combined for 33 strikeouts in their last 28 innings, walking only nine batters in that time.

Yankees: Teixeira expected back
• Mark Teixeira will return to the Yankees' lineup on Monday against the Red Sox, as Girardi has the slugger batting fifth and playing first base.

Teixeira was working out in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday after playing in an instructional league game over the weekend. He had no issues with the strained left calf that had sidelined him for more than three weeks, paving the way for his return.

"It's the first time we'll have our whole lineup for a long time, which is really good," Girardi said.

• Robinson Cano has 15 hits in his last 24 at-bats and has multihit efforts in each of his last six games. The second baseman also knocked two doubles on Sunday to post his third straight 45-double season, which matches Lou Gehrig for the most in Yankees history.

Worth noting
• The Red Sox have lost seven of their last 12 road games.

• Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .286 against AL East opponents this season.

• Alex Rodriguez (.409, 9-for-22) and Cano (.435, 10-for-23) have hit Buchholz well in their careers.

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