Different year, same story for Twins

NEW YORK -- Another year, another early exit for the Minnesota Twins at the hands of the Yankees.

Twins right fielder Jason Kubel had a familiar feeling after New York's 6-1 win in Game 3 on Saturday in the Bronx, a win that completed a sweep.

"It's the same feeling -- a good year and then early exit," Kubel said. "We keep saying, 'Next year we'll get these guys.' It's happened a couple of times, and it hasn't worked out. Once again we'll go into the offseason thinking the same thing -- 'Next year we'll get back here and try to fare a little better.'"

The Yankees have now won nine straight postseason games against the Twins dating back to a 2004 AL Division Series. That is tied for the third-longest head-to-head streak in postseason history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Red Sox had 11 straight postseason wins against the Angels from 1986 to 2008. The Athletics had 10 straight wins against the Red Sox from 1988 to 2003. And the Yankees also had nine straight wins against the Rangers from 1996 to '99, a streak remains active, like New York's streak against Minnesota.

Said Twins left fielder Delmon Young: "You're going to have to beat them one way or the other. Them, the Red Sox or the Rays, you're going to have to beat them to get to the World Series. We haven't fared well against the AL East since I've been here. That's one thing we're going to have to take care of in the offseason and during spring training."

Minnesota has lost 12 straight postseason games overall and its past six series. Boston's 13-game postseason losing streak spanning 1986 to 1995 is the longest of all time.

Catcher Joe Mauer had a quiet series. He was nursing a knee injury, although he has not discussed its severity. He mustered only three singles in 12 at-bats and did not drive in a run. Mauer also committed the only error by either team in the series. On Saturday, his throw to second base on Curtis Granderson's fourth-inning steal ended up in the outfield, allowing Granderson to reach third base. From there, Granderson scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner to cap a three-run frame as the Yankees took a 5-0 lead.

"It's frustrating," Mauer said about his ALDS production. "Obviously the first couple of nights guys were making good pitches. If those three guys [CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hughes] throw the way they did these first three games, they're probably going to do pretty well this postseason."

Minnesota starter Brian Duensing lasted only 3 1/3 innings in the elimination game. He was charged with five runs and seven hits while striking out one and walking one. The big blow came earlier in the fourth on a two-run homer by Marcus Thames.

"I felt really good going into it. I felt like I was locating pretty well in and out," Duensing said. "I left the ball up a little bit [to Granderson]. I just went out there and didn't get the job done and let a lot of people down -- a lot of fans back home and the organization by that performance right there. It's just real disappointing."

Still, the Twins' issue in the series largely wasn't pitching. They produced only seven runs in the three-game series and hit .111 (2-for-18) with runners in scoring position. Denard Span was their only baserunner through 4 1/3 innings against Yankees starter Phil Hughes on Saturday. He was erased on a double-play grounder by Orlando Hudson in the fourth inning.

"Speaking for this series here, basically what it boils down is they hit and we didn't," first baseman Michael Cuddyer said. "That's it. Especially in big situations, runners in scoring position, we didn't. They did. Right now I can't really remember the previous series. But this series here, that was the story."

Adam Rubin covers MLB for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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