The longest postseason losing streak in the history of North American pro sports has reached 18 games. Wednesday afternoon at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins were swept out the best-of-three Wild Card Series by the Houston Astros. The Astros won Game 1 on Tuesday (HOU 4, MIN 1) before completing the sweep in Game 2 on Wednesday (HOU 3, MIN 1).
Runs were at a premium throughout the two-game series and Carlos Correa gave Houston the lead for good with his seventh inning solo home run Wednesday. Kyle Tucker had a pair of RBI singles as well. Former Twin Ryan Pressly closed out the series with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
In Game 1 on Tuesday, Jose Altuve drew a bases-loaded walk against Sergio Romo to give the Astros a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning. That came after Jorge Polanco's throw to second pulled Luis Arraez off the bag, allowing the inning to continue. It would have been the final out of the inning.
"We didn't give ourselves enough room to work," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, including MLB Daily Dish's Andersen Pickard, following the Game 1 loss. "In a tight situation, anything you're not going to execute comes back to bite you and that's what happened in today's game."
Tuesday's loss set a new North American postseason losing streak record, breaking a tie with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago lost 16 straight playoff games from 1975-79. The second-longest postseason losing streak in baseball history belongs to the Red Sox, who lost 13 straight from 1986-95. That losing streak started with the Bill Buckner game.
Here are the longest postseason losing streaks in North American sports, according to YES Network researcher James Smyth:
- Minnesota Twins: 18 games (2004 to present)
- Chicago Blackhawks: 16 games (1975-79)
- Detroit Pistons: 14 games (2008 to present)
- Los Angeles Kings: 14 games (1993-2001)
- Several tied at 13 games
As noted by MLB.com's Sarah Langs, 28 of the other 29 MLB teams have won a postseason game since the Twins last won one. The Mariners (haven't reached the postseason since 2001) are the lone exception. Since then 18 teams have won at least 10 postseason games and 10 have won at least 20.
The Twins have not won a postseason game since Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. Their starting pitcher that day was Johan Santana. Thirteen of these 18 consecutive postseason losses have come against the Yankees (2004 ALDS, 2009 ALDS, 2010 ALDS, 2017 Wild Card Game, 2019 ALDS), three have come against the Athletics (2006 ALDS), and now two against the Astros.
With the sweep, the Astros advance to the Southern California hub and await the winner of the Athletics vs. White Sox series in the ALDS. That series will begin Monday. The Twins will go home for the winter and again try to figure out how they can get over the hump in October.