The Minnesota Twins looked to get off to a strong start in the ALDS, but several big innings did them in as they fell to the New York Yankees 10-4.
The Minnesota Twins had plans of making a statement in the Bronx on Friday night. As the franchise came into Friday night’s game riding a 13-game postseason losing streak that tied an MLB record, this was a different team than the ones that had built the bulk of that streak which included 10 losses to their current American League Divisional Series opponent, the New York Yankees.
Despite plenty of new faces in this situation, the results remained the same. The Yankees would use several big innings and the Twins couldn’t find the big hit they needed. Throw in a shaky bullpen performance and the Twins would drop their MLB-record 14th straight playoff loss as they fell to the Yankees by a score of 10-4.
Things would actually get off to a great start for the Twins in Game 1 as Jorge Polanco made noise with a first inning home run that would put Minnesota up early. The Twins would extend their lead in the top of the third inning when Nelson Cruz launched a solo homer to put Minnesota ahead 2-0 entering the bottom of the third.
That inning would be the turning point in this game, however, as Luis Arraez couldn’t get to a pop up off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu and a couple batters later, Edwin Encarnacion would deliver a RBI double to put the Yankees on the board. Later in the inning, the Yankees would load the bases for Gleybar Torres, who would appear to ground into an inning-ending double play, but a low throw by Arraez couldn’t be picked by C.J. Cron as a pair of runs would score for New York to take a 3-2 lead.
The score would remain the same until the top of the fifth when Arraez would lead off the inning with a RBI double. He would eventually come home to tie the game on a RBI single by Polanco and after a walk by Cruz, Eddie Rosario had a chance to give the Twins to lead, but flew out to center field to end the threat.
While the game was tied, the performance of Jose Berrios left a little bit of hard luck. The right-hander labored throughout his four-inning outing allowing three runs, but also being done in by the poor defense behind him. That would leave the Twins to go to their bullpen earlier than expected and they would shrivel under the October night.
The Yankees would take the lead in the bottom of the fifth off a two-RBI double by Torres to take a 5-3 lead, but Miguel Sano had an answer in the top of the sixth with a solo home run to make it 5-4.
There would be too much inefficiency from the Twins bullpen on the night to compete, however, as Cody Stashak served up solo home runs to LeMahieu and Brett Gardner in the sixth inning and Kyle Gibson would allow a bases-clearing double to LeMahieu in the seventh inning to blow the game open and hand the Twins the 10-4 defeat to open the series.
The Twins will have to put this game out of memory quickly as they’ll return to Yankee Stadium on Saturday night for Game 2 of the ALDS. The Twins will send Randy Dobnak to the mound (2-1, 1.59 ERA) to square off with Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) in a game they’ll need to have to avoid heading to Target Field down 0-2 and snap the longest postseason losing streak in MLB history.