In the storied history of the New York Yankees, the franchise had never lost four consecutive postseason series to the same team. Until now.
The Yankees were swept by the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series on Sunday, falling 6-5 in a back-and-forth Game 4.
The Astros, whose dominance in the one-sided rivalry first began in 2015 when they defeated the Yankees in the wild card game, have now defeated the Yankees in the ALCS three times in the last six seasons.
Houston advances to the World Series for the second straight season and fourth time in six years. They have just one championship, which came in 2017 and was later blemished by a cheating scandal. They'll face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, with Game 1 set for Friday.
Getting there required multiple comebacks on Sunday.
Following a near 90-minute delay due to rain, the Yankees took an early lead after Giancarlo Stanton hit an RBI single to score Harrison Bader for a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Gleyber Torres followed with a bloop single to drive in Anthony Rizzo that opened a two-run lead. The Yankees had three hits in the first inning, matching the total they produced in Game 3 during their 5-0 loss.
Rizzo doubled down the left-field line to drive in Isiah Kiner-Falefa and gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the second.
Jeremy Pena, a rookie who was named ALCS MVP, then evened the score in the third by crushing a three-run homer to left. That led to Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes being removed from the game as an injury replacement.
Wandy Peralta entered and allowed a double to Yordan Alvarez. After an infield single by Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel put the Astros in front with an RBI single that opened a 4-3 lead.
After Aaron Judge's drive to center in the fourth was caught at the warning track, Rizzo followed with a single up the middle to score Bader and pull the Yankees even at 4-4.
Bader then launched his fifth home run of the postseason, hitting a solo shot in the sixth to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
The Astros capitalized on a Yankees error in the seventh. After Jose Altuve reached safely with an infield single, the speedy Alvarez hit a grounder to second. Torres attempted to make a quick toss to second to start a double play, but the throw was wide of shortstop Kiner-Falefa and went into the outfield, allowing Altuve to score the tying run.
Clay Holmes entered with runners at the corners and one out and allowed an RBI single to Alex Bregman that gave the Astros a 6-5 lead.
The Astros bullpen then silenced the Yankees over the final three innings. Ryan Pressly closed it out in the ninth, getting Judge to hit a grounder back to the mound for the final out in what might have been his final at-bat in pinstripes.
Judge's groundout sent the Yankees into a long offseason where his future with the team will officially be determined.
Following a historic 62-home run season, Judge is set to become a free agent. The 30-year-old outfielder, and American League MVP frontrunner, turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million contract offer from the Yankees prior to the season.
Judge, who went 0-for-4 on Sunday, struggled in the postseason. He hit a dismal .139, going 5-for-36 with two home runs, three RBIs, two walks and 15 strikeouts over nine postseason games.
"Hopefully we'll see him in pinstripes for a long time," Aaron Boone told reporters after the game. "I don't even want to think of the alternative right now."
While the Yankees begin to make personnel decisions, the Astros will take on a Phillies team on a Cinderella run.
The Phillies went 87-75 this season to secure a Wild Card spot. Once in the postseason, they upset the defending champion Atlanta Braves in the NLDS and defeated the San Diego Padres on Sunday after an eighth-inning, go-ahead home run by Bryce Harper to advance to the World Series.
There they'll face an Astros team that has not yet lost a postseason game, having swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS and now the Yankees.