"This year we had to fight, scratch and claw," Nick Swisher said.
The subdued celebration didn't really start until Freddy Garcia struck Ivan De Jesus looking to end it. Players hugged and slapped fives on the field and put on their AL East champion shirts.
"Now the real season starts," Derek Jeter said.
Cano went 4 for 4 and tied a career high with six RBIs as New York (95-67) finished two games ahead of Baltimore and secured home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The Yankees will open on the road Sunday against the winner of Friday's wild-card game between Baltimore and Texas.
"To have the best record and not know where you're going is strange," manager Joe Girardi said.
New York led the division by 10 games on July 18 but the pesky Orioles caught up on Sept. 4 and were tied with the Yankees after 10 different days in September but many players credit Girardi with keeping the clubhouse calm.
"He's very even-keeled," Granderson said. "You never see him get too excited or down."
New York rode the long ball all season and the four homers in the finale set a franchise record at 245.
Hiroki Koroda (16-11) shut Boston down with an encouraging performance after struggling through much of September. He allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings. Cano hit his 33rd homer in the fifth, followed Alex Rodriguez's double, A-Rod's first extra-base hit since Sept. 14.
As the Yankees celebrated on the field, the Red Sox streamed into the clubhouse and quickly packed up. Dustin Pedroia did not speak to reporters. Jacoby Ellsbury wasn't around when the media was allowed access. Ortiz hugged several teammates and Cherington went from stall to stall to shake hands with each player still in the room.
"It was a long year and we battled. It wasn't good for anybody," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "It was one of those years that we're just going to try to forget about and come back next year and play hard."
NOTES: The Yankees won the season series 13-5, their most wins against Boston since 2001. ... The Red Sox hired Eddie Bane as a special assistant, player personnel. Bane spent the last two seasons as a scout for the Detroit Tigers. He was director of scouting for the Angels from 2004-10. .
- Max Hall talks about his arrest last year and...
- Dick Harmon: LaVell Edwards chimes in on NFL...
- Utah State in the Fiesta Bowl? ESPN's...
- Morning links: Nebraska coach praises BYU...
- Samuel Benson: Whatever happened to the...
- Ranking the 26 Utah ties selected in the NFL...
- Free agent roundup: Where locals signed after...
- Local flavor in the NBA: Bogut, Wilcox...
- BYU announces 2015 football schedule,... 97
- Morning links: Nebraska coach praises... 90
- Free agent roundup: Where locals signed... 52
- Dick Harmon: BYU's 2015 September... 47
- Linehan's leg helps propel BYU past Cal... 43
- Utah State in the Fiesta Bowl? ESPN's... 43
- Doug Robinson: The era (and myth) of... 36
- Max Hall talks about his arrest last... 34