Brett Gardner hitting a home run against Ervin Santana in the second inning of the American League wild card game at Yankee Stadium. CreditBen Solomon for The New York Times

The Yankees are back in a playoff series for the first time in five years, back in a setting that once seemed automatic. They once did it 13 years in a row, a streak that stopped in 2008, the year they welcomed David Robertson and Brett Gardner to the roster.

The hiatus lasted only a year then, a championship quickly followed, and Gardner has never left. Robertson did for a while, after the Yankees chose a different reliever, Andrew Miller, in free agency. They traded Miller to the Indians last summer, and now they will face him in a division series starting Thursday in Cleveland.

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