On Tuesday afternoon, for the first time since 2004, the Minnesota Twins won a playoff game.
It turns out the 19th time was the charm.
The bat of Royce Lewis was the real charm, as the rookie sensation launched home runs in back-to-back plate appearances to power Minnesota's 3-1 streak snapping victory over Toronto. Lewis becomes just the third player in baseball history to homer in his first two playoff at-bats, joining Gary Gaetti and Evan Longoria.
Lewis led the offense while Pablo Lopez held things down on the mound, pitching 5.2 innings and allowing just a single run while striking out three Blue Jays. It was a dominant performance that fully vindicated the trade the front office made back in January to acquire him, and was worth the price paid.
Beyond Lopez, the relief pitching that came in after him looked phenomenal. Minnesota's bullpen was a source of anxiety all season, including as recently as the AL Central clinching win over the Angels. Louie Varland, Caleb Thielbar, Griffin Jax, and Jhoan Duran combined to lock down Toronto's offense, only allowing a single hit and zero runs in 5.1 innings of relief work.
Everything went right for the Twins on Tuesday and the streak couldn't have died in a more glorious or convincing way.
Needless to say, fans throughout Twins Territory letting off a nearly two decades of angst and pent up frustration was as cathartic as it sounds.
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Minnesota came into the day with the worst losing streak in professional sports history -- not just baseball -- but did more than simply end it. Fans were telling themselves coming into the game that this team was built different, and what we saw lived up to that expectation and more.
Lewis looked like a superstar, the pitching was solid, and nothing about the Twins looked anything like what we've seen from them in any of the 18 other playoff appearances. It's only the first win since 2004, but the vibes from Game 1 indicated this isn't the end of a streak but the beginning of sustained success.