The New York Yankees have had the Minnesota Twins' number come October and that continued on Friday.
The two teams know each other well, especially in the postseason where they have faced each other six times since 2003. In those matchups, New York have always come away with a series – and even wild-card game – win.
The Yankees won all four American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Twins and a 2017 wild-card contest. This time around, they are up one game after their 10-4 win at Yankee Stadium.
Both teams were battling less-than-ideal situations after dipping into their bullpens with the game tied through five innings, but it was DJ LeMahieu who had yet another big night to help push New York ahead.
There will be a quick turnaround for Game 2 which is scheduled for Saturday.
Three takeaways from the Yankees' ALDS Game 1 win
James Paxton wasn't the James Paxton the Yankees know and love
The left-handed pitcher may be in his seventh MLB season, but he was in unfamiliar territory. No, it was not the location. James Paxton has gotten more than comfortable during his first season in New York, especially in the second half of the season. But it did have to do with the setting.
Paxton, who had spent all six of his previous seasons with the struggling Seattle Mariners, made his postseason debut on Friday. He was well aware of his inexperience and sought out veteran team-mates with playoff chops for advice leading up to the start.
"Luckily, a lot of [Yankees] players have had experience in the postseason," Paxton said on Thursday. "I've been talking to team-mates and asking them what it's like, what it's like to pitch in the postseason."
Paxton was entering the game after winning a career-best 10 consecutive starts before leaving his final regular-season start with tight glute muscle. The injury might have been a "non-issue" but the Twins' at-bats certainly were a problem. In 4.2 innings of work, Paxton allowed three runs off five hits while striking out eight and walking one. It was not an ideal start and far from what he has been doing late in the regular season. If it is simply playoff nerves, Paxton will need to shake them off if he wants to help propel the Yankees in the AL.
Choose your fighter: The Bronx Bombers or the Bomba Squad
It should have been a slugfest as these two bomb squads started their series. It looked as if it would start that way after Jorge Polanco hit a home run in the first inning to give the Twins an early lead, but the heavy-hitting stayed one-sided – until a LeMahieu homer got the Yankees rolling.
Both the Yankees and the Twins hit a massive amount of home runs during the regular season. Their respective bats were so hot they became the first two teams to ever hit more than 300 home runs in a single season. But, it did not translate into the postseason – at least not yet.
There were a humble five homers hit on Friday including two more from the Twins and two total from the Yankees.
LeMahieu was the difference maker
It was almost fitting that the Yankee to hit the first home run – and his first postseason home run ever – also broke the game open.
LeMahieu pushed New York's lead to 10-4 after seven innings en route to the Game 1 win to start his first postseason with the team.
He led the way for the Yankees this season recording the most hits (197), having the highest batting average (.327) as well as tallying a team-high 102 RBIs and 109 runs.
But it was not until a three-run double in the seventh that he really showed his stuff. LeMahieu is 11-16 with 27 RBIs with the bases loaded this season, including Friday.
He finished three of five at the plate with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.
|Gettin´ Jiggy Wit It – Braves sign Will Smith|
|Trout wins third AL MVP, Bellinger takes NL prize|
|Mets ace DeGrom & Astros´ Verlander scoop Cy Young Award honours|
|Giants name Kapler as manager|
|Twins´ Baldelli, Cardinals´ Shildt crowned Managers of the Year|
|Alonso, Alvarez named Rookies of the Year|
|Cardinals manager Shildt signs contract extension|
|Nationals celebrate World Series with Trump at White House|
|Mets introduce Beltran as manager|
|Betts, Arenado headline Gold Glove Award winners|
|Strasburg hails Nationals´ fighting spirit after World Series win|
|Nationals make history with World Series win over Astros|
|Was the Astros´ season a failure after World Series loss?|
|Nationals´ Strasburg named World Series MVP|
|Why the Nationals won the World Series|
|BREAKING NEWS: Nationals win MLB World Series|
|This is about the Nationals playing lights out – Dave Martinez deflects controversy|
|Nationals force World Series decider after beating Astros|
|Pittsburgh Pirates fire GM Neal Huntington, put manager search on hold|
|Astros poised for World Series glory after Game 5 win over Nationals|
|Nationals´ Max Scherzer will not start Game 5 of World Series|
|Astros rout Nationals to level World Series|
|Astros alive in World Series after Washington win in game three|
|Yankees GM defends not landing starting pitcher after ALCS loss|
|Phillies appoint former Yankees manager Girardi|
|Cubs hire David Ross as manager|
|Nationals take 2-0 lead over Astros in World Series|
|Astros ace Verlander makes MLB postseason history|
|Cubs expected to hire David Ross as manager|
|Soto has the ´it factor´ - Hinch|
|Nationals draw first blood against Astros in World Series|
|CC Sabathia bids farewell to baseball after 19 MLB seasons|
|MLB umpire Eric Cooper dies aged 52|
|Astros´ Altuve caps ALCS heroics with MVP award: I can´t wait for World Series|
|Altuve´s walk-off homer sends Astros to World Series|
|Yankees keep World Series hopes alive with game five win|
|CC Sabathia removed from Yankees´ ALCS roster|
|Astros on the cusp of World Series after extending ALCS lead against Yankees|
|ALCS Game 4 postponed due to incoming storm|
|Los Angeles Angels hire Maddon as manager|
|´Old guys´ vital in Nationals´ season turnaround – Scherzer|
|Nationals reach first MLB World Series after sweeping Cardinals|
|Cole shuts out Yankees as Astros take 2-1 lead in ALCS|
|Nationals one win away from World Series after taking 3-0 NLCS lead|
|Correa hits walk-off homer as Astros level ALCS with Yankees|
|Yankees slugger Stanton not starting ALCS Game 2, considered day-to-day|
|Yankees rout Astros in ALCS opener|
|Freese announces retirement after 11 MLB seasons|
|Nationals move 2-0 ahead of Cardinals in NLCS|
|Sanchez teases no-hitter as Nationals beat Cardinals in NLCS Game 1|
|Nets´ Irving won´t face Lakers due to facial fracture|
|Yankees will start Tanaka in Game 1 of ALCS|
|Astros defeat Rays in game five to advance to ALCS|
|Gabe Kapler out as Phillies manager after two seasons|
|Nationals upstage Dodgers with 10th-inning slam en route to NLCS|
|Braves catcher McCann retires after NLDS loss to Cardinals|
|NLCS awaits Cardinals after demolition of Braves|
|Tampa Bay force series decider after beating Astros|
|Yankees advance to ALCS after topping Twins|
|Nationals force NLDS decider against Dodgers|
|Cardinals level NLDS against Braves|
|Rays stay alive against Astros in ALDS|
|Joe Maddon meeting with Angels to discuss manager gig, report says|
|Dodgers power into 2-1 NLDS lead over Nationals|
|Braves rally past Cardinals to take 2-1 NLDS lead|
|Cole stars as Astros take 2-0 lead over Rays|
|Yankees take 2-0 lead over Twins in ALDS|
|Strasburg stars as Nationals level series against Dodgers|
|Yankees power past Twins in Game 1|
|Foltynewicz helps Braves draw level against Cardinals|