(CBSNY/CBS Local) — Going into Monday’s MLB playoff action, all four division series were on the line. Coming out of Monday, only one was decided, with the New York Yankees sweeping the Minnesota Twins to advance. The other three series — Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros; Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves — continue in the coming days.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at the four division series, as we move deeper into October.
Yankees Eliminate Twins
The Yankees and Twins, both division winners, each surpassed 100 wins this season, breaking the previous single-season HR record en route. But from the moment the series was scheduled, this result almost seemed inevitable. Minnesota had lost 13 consecutive postseason games coming in, 10 to the Yankees.
Those streaks now stand at 16 and 13 games.
The Yankees made short work of the Twins, winning 5-1 in Monday night’s Game 3 to take the best-of-five series in three games. Gleyber Torres hit two doubles and started off the scoring in Game 3 with a home run. Luis Severino pitched four shutout innings before handing off the game to the bullpen.
The series opened with a 10-4 Yankees win, with DJ LeMahieu leading the way. He hit a home run and drove in four RBI, while Brett Gardner added a solo shot and Gleyber Torres contributed a two-run double.
The Yankees jumped out to an 8-0 lead in game two, thanks to a seven-run third inning, highlighted by Didi Gregorius’s grand slam. Masahiro Tanaka struck out seven in five innings, as the Yankees cruised to an 8-2 win.
The Yankees will face the winner of Houston Astros-Tampa Bay Rays series, which continues Tuesday night with Game 4.
Rays Stay Alive Against Astros
The Rays, facing elimination in their division series with the Astros, came out swinging. Kevin Kiermaier hit a three-run homer in the second inning to give the Rays their first lead of the entire series. Tampa didn’t look back, cruising to a 10-3 win.
The Astros probably have the best rotation in baseball, and their pitching had been dominant in the opening two games. Justin Verlander gave up only one hit in seven innings in Game 1. Gerrit Cole struck out 15 in Game 2, the third-most in a playoff game ever.
Zack Greinke would not do so well in Game 3. The Rays offense was due. Austin Meadows added two RBI to Kiermaier’s three, and three other Rays homered. Charlie Morton threw five innings of one-run ball, notching nine strikeouts along the way, though he wasn’t as sharp as he could’ve been.
The series continues Tuesday night in Tampa, when Verlander returns to the mound to try to finish off the Rays.
Dodgers Can’t Put Away Nationals
Going into this National League division series, the Nationals seemed like the one team the Dodgers didn’t want to face to open their playoffs. Their three top starters — Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin — are among the best trios in the majors.
And their pitching in this back-and-forth series has generally been strong. Corbin seemed shaky early, giving up four walks and a run in the first inning of Game 1. The Dodgers extended that lead later against the suspect Washington bullpen, with a Max Muncy single en route to a Game 1 shut out.
The Nats’ bats got to Clayton Kershaw early in Game 2, while Strasburg gave up only one run in six innings. The Dodgers couldn’t rally late, falling 4-2.
The Dodgers offense woke up again in Game 3. Justin Turner delivered a three-run homer as the Dodgers scored seven of their runs with two outs.
The Dodgers couldn’t seal the deal Monday night against Scherzer. Justin Turner homered again, but the Nationals pulled away in the fifth inning on a Ryan Zimmerman three-run homer.
The fifth and final game of the series will be played Wednesday night.
Braves, Cardinals Go To Game 5
In the other NL division series, the Cardinals seem to have the edge going into the deciding Game 5. St. Louis pulled out a close win to open the series on a pair of two-run doubles from Marcell Ozuna and Kolten Wong in the ninth. Atlanta responded with a 3-0 shutout to even up the series in Game 2 and took Game 3 as well, as things got a little heated (again) between Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez and Braves star Ronald Acuna. The Cardinals won Game 4 on Yadier Molina’s sacrifice fly in extra innings.
The deciding Game 5 will be played Wednesday evening.