Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Toronto0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 160
Minnesota2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 x 351
  W: P. López (1-0)   L: K. Gausman (0-1)   S: J. Duran (1)
1:38 PM PT2:38 PM MT3:38 PM CT4:38 PM ET16:38 ET20:38 GMT4:38 1:38 PM MST3:38 PM EST4:08 PM VEN0:38 UAE (+1)2:38 PM CT, October 3, 2023
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 38,450

Twins host Blue Jays, seek to end major drought

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins

  1. The Blue Jays and Twins split their six head-to-head games this season, with each team winning two of three on the road (May 26-28 at Minnesota, June 9-11 at Toronto). Their only previous postseason matchup is the 1991 ALCS, which the Twins won, 4-1.
  2. The Blue Jays were 46-35 on the road and 43-38 at home this year. It was their first season with a better record on the road than at home since 2003. Two other 2023 playoff teams had a better road record than home record this season: the Astros and Orioles.
  3. George Springer has hit 19 postseason home runs (in 65 games), which ties him with Albert Pujols for fifth most in MLB history, behind Manny Ramirez (29), Jose Altuve (23), Bernie Williams (22) and Derek Jeter (20).
  4. Kevin Gausman was 14-6 in 2021 (for the Giants), 12-10 in 2022 (for the Blue Jays) and 12-9 this year. The only other MLB pitcher with 12 or more wins and a winning percentage above .500 in each of the last three seasons was the Yankees' Gerrit Cole (16-8, 13-8, 15-4).
  5. The Twins' current 18-game postseason losing streak is the longest in MLB history by five games (second longest: 13 games by the Red Sox, 1986-1995). Thirteen of those 18 losses were to the Yankees (A's, 3, Astros, 2). The Twins' last postseason victory was in Game 1 of their 2004 Division Series at Yankee Stadium (won 2-0).
  6. Pablo Lopez was 5-6 with a 4.22 ERA in his first 20 starts this year but 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 12 starts over the remainder of the season. His 234 strikeouts this year were the most ever by a pitcher in his first season with the Senators/Twins. Dean Chance (220 in 1967) is the only other pitcher to record 200 or more strikeouts in his first season with the franchise.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 10/3/2023 thru 10/3/2023
(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

The Minnesota Twins will try to end a nearly 19-year-old playoff victory drought when they host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of an American League wild-card series on Tuesday afternoon in Minneapolis.

The Twins' most recent playoff victory was Oct. 5, 2004, against the New York Yankees. Since then, Minnesota has lost a record 18 straight postseason games.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays also are eager to turn around their recent playoff fortunes. Toronto has been swept in each of its past two wild-card series, in 2020 against the Tampa Bay Rays and last season against the Seattle Mariners, and it is searching for its first postseason win since Oct. 18, 2016, against Cleveland.

Toronto (89-73) won more games this season than Minnesota (87-75), but the Twins will have home-field advantage because they won a weaker AL Central. The Blue Jays finished in third place behind the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

The winner of this series will play the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series.

Toronto manager John Schneider said he and his players felt relief and excitement.

"Baseball is hard and this (East) division is hard," Schneider said. "I think getting here probably takes a lot of weight off of the players' shoulders. Looking back at spring training, there were very high expectations.

"People can say we either met them or fell short of them, but the fact that we are in. I think the guys really like that. They're really looking forward to it because of how good they are."

The Twins' lineup includes several young players without playoff experience, but veteran shortstop Carlos Correa is looking to provide leadership and perspective. Correa went to the World Series three times with the Houston Astros.

Correa hit only .230 this season with 18 homers and 65 RBIs. He said those statistics carried no weight anymore, and that he felt healthy and ready to start in Game 1.

"You throw the numbers out the window and the (new) season starts," Correa said. "This is the season that matters. It's time to go."

High-quality, consistent pitching helped propel both teams into the playoffs.

Twins right-hander Pablo Lopez will get the ball in Game 1 after posting an 11-8 record with a 3.66 ERA in 32 starts during the regular season. Lopez recorded a team-high 234 strikeouts in 194 innings, and he limited batters to a .238 average.

This will be Lopez's second career playoff start. His first opportunity came with the Miami Marlins in 2020, when he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings against the Atlanta Braves.

In two career starts against Toronto, Lopez is 1-0 with a 5.59 ERA.

The Blue Jays will turn to right-hander Kevin Gausman to start the series. He went 12-9 with a 3.16 ERA in 31 starts this season, and he led the American League with 237 strikeouts in 185 innings.

Gausman has appeared in seven playoff games and started two. He is 0-1 with a 4.57 ERA in those contests, which have included appearances with Baltimore, Atlanta, San Francisco and Toronto.

In 11 career starts against the Twins, Gausman is 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA.

The Twins and Blue Jays faced each other six times this season, with each club winning three games. Minnesota had a narrow 28-26 advantage in runs.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 3, 2023