The Minnesota Twins is partying like it’s 2002.
They took down the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of their Wild Card Series, 2-0, to win their first postseason series in 21 years.
Minnesota snapped their 18-game losing streak in the postseason on Tuesday that began way back in 2004. They had lost nine consecutive postseason series, their last victory coming in the 2002 ALDS – before Wednesday’s victory
The Blue Jays made a questionable move to take out former Twins pitcher Jose Berrios in the fourth inning after he put the first two guys on base. Yusei Kikuchi walked the next batter in relief, and then allowed an RBI single to Carlos Correa. A double play brought in another run, but that was all Minnesota scored in the inning – all things considered, it could have been much worse.
Toronto tried to take advantage, but couldn’t come through. In the top of the fifth, the Blue Jays had runners in scoring position with Bo Bichette at the dish, exactly who you want up for a chance to drive in a pair to tie the game. But the Twins caught Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sleeping and picked him off at second base to end the inning.
In the next frame, Toronto had the bases loaded and one out with Matt Chapman at the plate. After narrowly missing a bases-clearing double by inches, Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play on the very next pitch.
The Blue Jays got the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth after a Santiago Espinal single, but were unable to do anything with it.
It’s the second-straight year, and the third time in four seasons, that the Blue Jays have been swept in the wild card round.
Likely AL Cy Young Award finalist Sonny Gray tossed five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out six. Louie Varland, Caleb Theilbar, Brock Stewart, Griffin Jax, and Jhoan Duran tossed the final four frames, with the dominant closer in Duran striking out three batters.
Minnesota’s reward for the victory? Facing the defending World Series champs in the Houston Astros for a chance at their first ALCS since 2002.
But manager Rocco Baldelli wants the challenge. Speaking with the ESPN broadcast after the win, he kept it blunt.
“We have a lot more to show.”