The New York Yankees prevailed in Tuesday's American League (AL) wildcard clash, overcoming the Minnesota Twins 8-4.
The MLB slugfest took nearly four hours to complete, featuring five home runs and seven extra-base hits. Both teams scored three runs in the first inning and had players suffer painful injuries.
The Twins lost Byron Buxton to a back injury while Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez managed to stay in the game despite taking a very unfortunate cup shot.
With the win, the Yankees will face last season's World Series runner-up the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series beginning Thursday at Progressive Field.
SEVERINO, SANTANA FLOP
Starters Luis Severino and Ervin Santana were All-Stars this season. They did not pitch like it on Tuesday. The 23-year-old right-hander Severino lasted less than an inning, giving up four hits, three runs (all earned) and a walk on 29 pitches. He gave up a home run to Twins leadoff man Brian Dozier and followed that up two batters later by allowing a two-run homer to Eddie Rosario.
A half-inning later, Santana walked the leadoff man, gave up a base hit to Aaron Judge and then a three-run homer to Didi Gregorius to tie the game at three with just one out in the first.
This was the first time in the Severino's career that he failed to make it out of the first inning in a start. It was his shortest outing of the season and his shortest start since September 26, 2016. As for Santana, a 34-year-old who led the majors in complete games this season, he was pulled after just two innings. In those two frames, Santana gave up three hits, four runs, two walks and two home runs.
ROBERTSON HAS CAREER PERFORMANCE
In a game where the bullpens duelled from the second inning, the Yankees knew they were going to have a leg up. With the addition of pitchers like David Robertson at the trade deadline, New York have one of the deepest pens in all of baseball.
Robertson had never thrown more than 2.6 innings in his career, but after entering the game in the third inning, the 32-year-old tossed a career-high 3.3 innings, gave up no runs and struck out five.
The Alabama native now has 16 straight scoreless appearances in which he has not allowed a run in 21.3 innings. He has struck out 30 batters in those frames.
JUDGE SHINES IN POSTSEASON DEBUT
The Yankees slugger made his first playoff appearance and he picked up right where he left off in September. Judge started the night with a broken-bat single, then after a groundout in his second at-bat, the All-Star connected for a two-run homer to left field.
Judge finished the night two for four with a walk. He was the first Yankees outfielder to hit a home run in his postseason debut since Shane Spencer in 1998.
ROCKIES AT DIAMONDBACKS
This is why the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20 ERA) to a lucrative contract. The 33-year-old right-hander has a career 3.55 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in the postseason and in a game in which Arizona are taking on one of the most potent line-ups in baseball, they will need him to be great. The Colorado Rockies will counter with Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67 ERA) with the winner of Wednesday's National League (NL) wildcard game advancing to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.