MINNEAPOLIS — It has been a decade since a team has won back-to-back World Series, and there is only one team with a chance to do it this year.
Of course, the answer to both "who was the last team?" and "who could be the next?" is the same: the Yankees.
They began their quest for championship No. 28 in the warm fall air of Target Field with a 6-4 victory over the Twins in Game 1 of their AL Division Series, thanks to a shot of power from Mark Teixeira.
Just before the opener of this series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi revealed Teixeira had received a cortisone injection at the base of his right thumb, which had caused him to hit only .232 in September.
It is October now and the big first baseman started a four-run sixth-inning rally with a double and slapped a two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole in the seventh.
It's actually worst when I swing and miss. So my goal is not to miss. Corisone shot def helped. /. . . if I need another one (before the world series) I can get one.
Our lineup is so deep there's no reason to give up. We can be down 4-5-6 runs and we have a chance to score seven or eight.
The winner was starter CC Sabathia, even though he allowed the Twins to tie the game in the sixth.
Sabathia yielded four runs, three earned, but benefited from his offense, which included a two-run triple by Curtis Granderson in the sixth.
Even though the Yankees started defense of their title with a victory, this is not a Yankees team that has dominated — like the repeat champions of 1998-99-2000 — and the Twins present a formidable opponent.
Thursday's Game 2 starter, Andy Pettitte, who will face former Yankee Carl Pavano, was 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA in three starts after returning from the disabled list. And Sabathia is scheduled to go on short rest in Game 4 as A.J. Burnett has been banished to the bullpen.
Still, the Yankees started this best-of-five series with a victory on the road.
"A lot of things have to go right," Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said of repeating. "Sometimes 11 (wins) can sound very simple, but we know it is a very tall mountain to climb. We definitely have what it takes in our clubhouse to get that done again."