It's October, and it's the same old song for the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins' run of October futility reached record heights in the Bronx on Friday, as the AL Central champions fell 10-4 in Game 1 of the ALDS against their longtime nemesis, the New York Yankees. It was Minnesota's 14th consecutive postseason defeat, the longest such streak in MLB history.
Minnesota's most recent playoff win came almost exactly 15 years ago, when Johan Santana led the Twins to a 2-0 shutout win against the Bronx Bombers in Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS at old Yankee Stadium. The losing streak began the following day in a 12-inning Yankees win.
New York has been a major source of playoff pain for the Twins. Eleven of the Twins' 14 consecutive playoff defeats have come at the hands of the Yankees (Minnesota was also swept by the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 ALDS). New York has shown no mercy, scoring first in 10 of those games, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Yankees' 11-game playoff win streak against the Twins is now tied for the longest of all time against a single team, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. The Boston Red Sox also won 11 straight October contests against the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels between 1986 and 2008.
Including their 3-1 series win in 2003, the Yankees are 14-2 all time against Minnesota in the playoffs. The Twins last won a playoff series in 2002, when they beat Oakland in that year's division series before dropping the ALCS to Anaheim.
Things were supposed to be different for the Twins this year, as they held off the equally powerful Bronx Bombers to set MLB's single-season home-run record. They even got off to a fast start in Game 1, holding a 2-0 lead through two-and-a-half innings courtesy of early homers from Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz.
But the Yankees woke up from there, grabbing the lead in the bottom of the third and never looking back en route to the win. Gleyber Torres' fifth-inning double put the Bronx Bombers ahead for good, and DJ LeMahieu and Brett Gardner extended the lead with homers in the sixth. LeMahieu was the offensive hero, going 3-for-5 with two extra-base hits, two runs scored, and four RBIs.
"We had some good swings, we had our moments," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said postgame, according to The Associated Press. "Just by chance, there was no one on base when we popped a few balls over the fence."
Although history and home-field advantage are seemingly on their side, the Yankees aren't resting on their laurels with a 1-0 lead. Gardner characterized Saturday's Game 2 as a must-win contest for his team, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.