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MLB playoffs begin

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Minnesota Twins will try to snap the longest post-season losing streak by games in major American sports history on Tuesday when they entertain Toronto in the Major League Baseball playoffs.

The Twins have lost 18 consecutive playoff contests since beating the New York Yankees in the first game of the 2004 American League division series.

That futility run includes dropping three games to the Yankees to lose in 2004 and being swept 3-0 in the first round in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2019 as well as falling in a 2017 wildcard playoff game and being swept 2-0 in a 2020 wildcard series.

“I’ve heard about the 0-18 thing a lot,” Twins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez said. “I feel like, just like anything in life, nothing lasts forever.

“If there’s a group that can lean into this opportunity and embrace it, I feel it’s this group. The majority of us have not been part of that unfortunate streak, but I know our fans have.

“We’re going to use it as motivation and fuel.”

Other best-of-three wildcard series matchups starting Tuesday find Texas at Tampa Bay in the AL and Arizona at Milwaukee and Miami at Philadelphia in the National League.

Defending champion Houston and Baltimore received first-round byes in the AL while Atlanta and the Los Angeles Dodgers have first-round byes in the NL.

Toronto and Minnesota split six games in the regular season. The Blue Jays went 89-73, two games better than the Twins, but Minnesota will host the series by virtue of winning the AL Central division title while Toronto only grabbed the last wildcard playoff berth.

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