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Sport Astros sweep as Twins lose 18th straight in playoffs

04:40  01 october  2020
04:40  01 october  2020 Source:   ap.org

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The Astros were only 18 th in walks, but this one counted the most. “It’s the same thing as a base hit,” Altuve said. Minnesota was tied with the Chicago Blackhawks, who dropped 16 straight games in the NHL playoffs from 1975-79. Minnesota’s previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct.

The Twins lost 13 straight times to the Yankees after that, including a three-game sweep in the AL division series last year. Maeda turned in five shutout innings for the Twins , his longest career appearance in the playoffs after being limited to the bullpen in the postseason by the Los Angeles

Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez, left, is tagged out by Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado as he attempted to score on a Marwin Gonzalez single in the fifth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez watches to make the call. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez, left, is tagged out by Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado as he attempted to score on a Marwin Gonzalez single in the fifth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez watches to make the call. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Shaken up by a scandal before the virus outbreak shrunk the season, the Houston Astros barely played well enough to reach the playoffs - with the rest of baseball actively rooting against them.

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Twins ' 16 th straight playoff defeat -- a postseason losing streak that matches the longest in all The Twins last won a playoff game in 2004, when they beat the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALDS. have been swept in the ALDS four times and come out on the wrong end of a Wild Card play -in game.

The Houston Astros scored six runs in the sixth inning to jump out to a big lead over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon. Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario and Jason Castro homered for the Twins , who have lost four straight . Hector Santiago (4-5) gave up six runs on eight hits and walked

Well, they're not ready to leave yet.

Carlos Correa hit a two-out, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning for the Astros, who produced another stifling pitching performance and swept Minnesota over two games with a 3-1 victory Wednesday that sent the Twins to a record 18th straight postseason loss.

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, and Houston Astros' George Springer, leap in celebration after they defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in Game 2 to clinch the American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, and Houston Astros' George Springer, leap in celebration after they defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in Game 2 to clinch the American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

''I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don't want to see us here,'' Correa said. ''But what are they going to say now?''

Nine months after Houston's rules-breaking, sign-stealing system was revealed, the Astros advanced to the Division Series in Los Angeles. As the sixth seed, they'll face the Oakland Athletics or Chicago White Sox in a best-of-five matchup starting Monday at Dodger Stadium.

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Bregman fuels Astros ' sweep with HR, 5 RBIs. HOUSTON -- A torrid Alex Bregman got the Astros ' offense going on Wednesday night with a two-run homer in the third inning and he capped one of his biggest nights at the plate with a three-run double in the eighth.

a group of people sitting around a baseball field: Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, right, makes the call after Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez, left, is tagged out by Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado as he attempted to score on a Marwin Gonzalez single in the fifth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez watches to make the call. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, right, makes the call after Minnesota Twins' Luis Arraez, left, is tagged out by Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado as he attempted to score on a Marwin Gonzalez single in the fifth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez watches to make the call. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

''I don't think they necessarily thought that they had anything to prove. They just had to play ball,'' said manager Dusty Baker, who took his fifth different team to the playoffs and advanced for the first time in seven rounds since winning the 2003 NL Division Series with the Chicago Cubs.

The Twins are 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their Division Series at the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2004, a total of seven rounds lost. Since that date, the Astros are 43-35 in postseason play, winning 10 of 15 rounds with three trips to the World Series.

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Kyle Tucker hit two RBI singles for the Astros and made a key throw from left field for the inning-ending out in the fifth.

Rookie Cristian Javier worked three hitless innings in relief for the victory in his postseason debut and Ryan Pressly pitched a perfect ninth against his former team, giving the Houston bullpen a total of 9 2/3 scoreless innings in this wild card series with three hits allowed.

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios celebrates an inning-ending out against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios celebrates an inning-ending out against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning of Game 2 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

''From the very beginning, we envisioned ourselves back in the playoffs and playing real well,'' Tucker said. ''So we never counted ourselves out at any point.''

a group of baseball players standing on top of a dirt field: Houston Astros' Michael Brantley scores on a single by Kyle Tucker off Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios in the fourth inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Houston Astros' Michael Brantley scores on a single by Kyle Tucker off Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios in the fourth inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Nobody on this Twins team has had a hand in more than six of the playoffs losses, but for the second straight year one of baseball's most potent lineups limped through a brief postseason cameo. In a three-game division series sweep by the Yankees last year, the Twins totaled seven runs and 22 hits. Against the Astros, they mustered only two runs and seven hits.

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[Bollinger] The Twins would be the first team to go from 100 losses to playing in the postseason the next year. Springer hits his 4th career grand slam to put the Astros up 9-2. 113 · 53 comments. [Evan Grant] Rangers have never before allowed at least 11 runs in 3 consecutive games.

Playoffs . Houston lost three straight games in Tampa Bay last weekend, including a 3-2 setback on Sunday, and dropped its first series since May 28-30 at Yankee Stadium. Texas is 12-6 since the Astros swept a four-game series from them in Arlington on June 7-10 and have won a season-best

''We put a lot of balls in play, it seemed like, but they were up in the air and, yeah, it seemed like we played into their trap,'' said Max Kepler, one of four starters who went hitless in the series. ''At the end of the day, we didn't get the job done.''

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Houston Astros' George Springer, left, has some words with plate umpire Manny Gonzalez after a call strike in the fourth inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Houston Astros' George Springer, left, has some words with plate umpire Manny Gonzalez after a call strike in the fourth inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Nelson Cruz gave the Twins an RBI double for a second straight game, this time in the fourth inning against starter Jose Urquidy. Luis Arraez aggressively tried to score from first base, but Correa took the throw from Tucker and fired home to beat Arraez to the plate to preserve the tie after third base coach Tony Diaz waved him in.

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy throws against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy throws against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

''I don't know why he sent him,'' Correa said.

Then in the seventh against losing pitcher Cody Stashak, Correa drove a 1-0 slider into the tarp-covered seats above right-center field for his 12th home run in 52 playoff games.

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After winning 101, 103 and 107 games in the last three regular seasons, winning the 2017 World Series and losing the championship in seven games to the Washington Nationals last year, the Astros stumbled through the 2020 season at 29-31 under Baker and new general manager James Click with a slew of injuries after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the schedule to 60 games.

a baseball player throwing a ball: Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy's shadow displays on the mound as he throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) © APWF Houston Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy's shadow displays on the mound as he throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of an American League wild-card series baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

They had the third-worst road record in the major leagues, too, but none of that mattered this week against the third-seeded Twins, who were out of sorts in their two biggest games this year.

Jose Berrios was one of the few who were locked in with five strong innings to start, with just two hits allowed. His two walks were costly, though, issued right before Tucker's single in the fourth.

''I don't think anyone was ready to leave, to end this way,'' Cruz said. ''That's life.''

KIRILLOFF FOR BUXTON

Already missing third baseman Josh Donaldson, the Twins held another one of their most valuable players out: center fielder Byron Buxton. Baldelli declined to confirm whether Buxton was experiencing a recurrence of concussion symptoms that kept him out of the last two regular season games. Buxton was picked off first base after pinch running for Cruz in the eighth.

Kepler moved to center, and Alex Kirilloff - the 2016 first-round draft pick - played right field to become the first Twins player in history to make his major league debut in a postseason game. Kirilloff singled in the fourth. With the bases loaded in the first, he flied out to end the inning.

FEELING BLUE

Both teams took issue with plate umpire Manny Gonzalez's strike zone, with Astros slugger George Springer the first to visibly complain. After being called out on strikes in the fourth, Springer barked, ''No way, man!'' multiple times on his way back to the dugout.

Then in the sixth, the Twins lost left fielder Eddie Rosario to ejection after he argued a called strike two that would've given him a walk if it were called a ball. After swinging and missing at strike three, Rosario yelled again and was quickly tossed.

First base umpire Tim Timmons missed consecutive calls in the eighth inning on grounders by the Astros when he called the runners safe. Both were reversed to outs after replay review.

UP NEXT

The Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series in each of the last three years, will play Monday against either the A's or the White Sox. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. is the only member of their regular season rotation who did not pitch in Minnesota.

The Twins enter the offseason with 10 players set to become free agents, including the 40-year-old Cruz who led the team in home runs and batting average (among players with a qualifying amount of at-bats) for a second straight season. Their 2021 opener is scheduled for April 1 at Milwaukee.

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