The New York Yankees crushed the Cleveland Indians 12-3 in the opening game of their American League (AL) Wild Card Series.
Aaron Judge set the tone with a two-run homer on Shane Bieber's fourth pitch as the Yankees drew first blood against the Indians in the best-of-three matchup in the MLB playoffs on Tuesday.
It was Judge's first home run since returning from the injured list on September 16, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the first inning in Cleveland, where Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres also homered.
The 12 runs scored by the Yankees are tied for the most ever by a road team in a postseason opener, per Stats Perform. The 2002 St Louis Cardinals also had 12 runs away to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
According to Stats Perform, the Yankees are the first team in playoff history to have their seventh and eighth hitters (Torres and Gardner) both have three-plus RBIs in the same game.
Valdez stars as Astros shine
The Houston Astros topped the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in their AL Wild Card opener. Framber Valdez became the first reliever to toss five shut-out innings in a playoff game since Madison Bumgarner in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, per Stats Perform.
Blake Snell impressed as AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in game one. Snell tied a Rays postseason record after allowing one hit, two walks while striking out nine batters.
Lucas Giolito enjoyed a memorable playoff debut for the Chicago White Sox, who downed AL West champions the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on the road. Giolito retired the first 18 batters he faced. He became the fifth pitcher in MLB history to be perfect through six innings of a postseason encounter, according to Stats Perform. Giolito struck out eight and walked one.
Gerrit Cole helped fuel the Yankees by striking out 13, the most by a pitcher in his Yankees postseason debut. He walked none against the Indians.
Bieber struggles, Twins make unwanted history
According to Stats Perform, Indians ace Bieber joined Hal Newhouser (1945) and Clayton Kershaw (2013 and 2014) as the only pitchers to have a sub-2.00 ERA during the regular season and then allow seven-plus earned runs in a game that postseason since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. Bieber gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine) over 4.6 innings.
Minnesota suffered their 17th consecutive loss in the playoffs. The Twins have not won a postseason game since 2004 – a record losing streak not only in MLB but in any of the four major North American professional sports, surpassing the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks (16).
Houston Astros 4-1 Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox 4-1 Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees 12-3 Cleveland Indians
Brewers at Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card game on Wednesday. The Dodgers will start with Walker Buehler, while the Brewers send Brent Suter to the mound midweek.