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Elias Says: April 29, 2017

Wall and Wizards close out first-round series

John Wall scored 42 points and dished out eight assists in the Wizards’ series-clinching 115-99 win over the Hawks on Friday. Wall is the fourth player in NBA history with at least 40 points and eight assists in a series-clinching win. He joins Jerry West (42 points, eight assists in Game 6 of 1965 Western Division Finals between the Lakers and Bullets), Gail Goodrich (44 points, eight assists in Game 5 of 1973 Western Conference Finals between the Lakers and Warriors), and Michael Jordan (40 points, 10 assists in Game 6 of 1989 Eastern Conference Semifinals featuring the Bulls and Knicks).

Wall scored 20 first-half points and added 22 points in the second half on Friday. He is the second player in Bullets/Wizards franchise history to score 20-or-more points in each half of a playoff game, joining Elvin Hayes. Hayes scored 23 in each half on April 20, 1975 against the Braves, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Wall and Beal cannot be beat

John Wall scored 42 points and Bradley Beal added 31 of his own in the Wizards’ win in Atlanta. The last time one player scored at least 40 points and a teammate had at least 30 points in a series-clinching win was when Michael Jordan had 56 and Scottie Pippen scored 31 in Game 3 of the Bulls’ 1992 first-round matchup with the Heat. Jordan’s 56-point night was his second-highest total in a playoff game in his career, only bested by a 63-point performance in a double overtime loss to the Celtics in Game 2 of a first-round matchup in 1986.

Celtics advance with big road win

Avery Bradley led all Celtics with 23 points as the Celtics defeated the Bulls in Chicago, 105-83, in Game 6 to win their first-round series. That is the eighth time Boston has had a series-clinching win with a margin of victory of at least 20 points, but just the first of those that came on the road. Their last 20-point series-clinching win at home was in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals versus the Lakers, a 131-92 win.

Paul helps extend Clippers’ season

Chris Paul led the way for the Clippers, scoring 29 points to help Los Angeles even its first-round series with the Jazz and force a Game 7. Paul has scored at least 25 points in each of his last three potential elimination games (27 points in Game 7 Clippers’ win over the Spurs in first round in 2015 and 26 points in Game 7 loss to the Rockets in Western Conference Semifinals in 2015). The only other player in franchise history with at least 25 points in three consecutive potential elimination games was Bob McAdoo, who did so in five straight from 1974 to 1976 (when the team was located in Buffalo).

Tarasenko does it again, nets two in Blues’ win

Vladimir Tarasenko’s second goal of the game snapped a 2–2 tie with just under four minutes remaining in the third period and that goal earned the Blues a series-tying 3–2 win over the Predators. It was Tarasenko’s first multiple-goal game in the 2016 playoffs and sixth multi-goal game over the last four playoff years. (He had one in 2014, and two in both 2015 and 2016.) That ties him with Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov for the most multiple-goal games in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2014. No one else has more than four.

Oilers take control with another road win

Cam Talbot made 39 saves and allowed just one goal as the Oilers defeated the Ducks, 2-1. Edmonton holds a 2-0 lead in the series, having won Games 1 and 2 in Anaheim. That is the fifth series in Oilers history in which they won Games 1 and 2, with both being on the road. They had previously done so in a 1981 first-round matchup with the Canadiens, 1988 second-round meeting with the Flames, 1990 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins, and 2006 Western Conference Final versus the Ducks. Edmonton won all four of those series.

Yankees stun the Orioles with a comeback for the ages

The Yankees, trailing 9-1 in the sixth inning, mounted an improbable comeback in which they hit four home runs from the sixth inning on (two-run home run from Aaron Judge, grand slam by Jacoby Ellsbury, game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth by Starlin Castro, and a walk-off, three-run dinger by Matt Holliday in the 10th). That’s just the second home win for the Yankees, regular season or postseason, in which they trailed by at least eight runs in the sixth inning or later. The first was on May 27, 1933 against the White Sox. In that game, New York faced an 11-3 deficit entering the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees proceeded to score 12 runs in the eighth and came out on top, 15-11. Among the notable contributors in that inning, Babe Ruth hit a two-run single to pull the Yanks within two runs, Lou Gehrig had an RBI double to make it 11-10, and with the game tied at 11-11, Bill Dickey hit the game-winning grand slam.

Trumbo has 16 homers in 50 games versus Yankees

Mark Trumbo’s sixth-inning grand slam extended the Orioles’ lead to 9-1 over the Yankees on Friday. Trumbo has 16 home runs in 50 regular-season games versus the Yankees. He is tied with Tino Martinez and Mo Vaughn for the fifth-most home runs over a player’s first 50 games against the Bronx Bombers. Only Albert Belle, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Canseco, and Fred Whitfield have more (each with 18).

deGrom’s strikeouts over last three starts most for a Met since ‘Dr. K’

Jacob deGrom struck out 12 Nationals batters over seven innings in the Mets’ win on Friday. Over his last three starts, deGrom has recorded 35 strikeouts, the most for a Mets pitcher in a three-start span of a single season since Dwight Gooden had 35 from May 25 to June 4, 1985. And who holds the single-season Mets strikeout record over three starts? The answer to that is also Gooden, with 43 in September 1984, his rookie season.

Scherzer gives up two homers to d’Arnaud

Travis d’Arnaud hit two home runs off Max Scherzer, a two-run shot in the second inning and a three-run dinger in the fourth, as the Mets downed the Nationals, 7-5. D’Arnaud is the 10th player with a multi-homer game against Scherzer, but just the second to hit two with men on base in one game off the reigning NL Cy Young winner. Jorge Posada hit a pair of two-run homers on April 3, 2011 when Scherzer was with the Tigers.

Rough opening inning for Arrieta

Jake Arrieta allowed five runs in the first inning of the Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night. That is the most runs he has surrendered in the first inning of a game, regular season or postseason, in his MLB career. His previous high was four, allowed in the first inning of his very last start, on April 22 against the Reds (three of the four were earned runs). Over the last 20 years, the only other Cubs pitcher to allow at least four first-inning runs in back-to-back starts was Edwin Jackson on August 20, 2014 versus the Giants (four allowed) and September 19, 2014 against the Dodgers (five allowed).

Arrieta has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in the first inning this season, sporting an ERA of 14.40 in the opening inning. In the 2016 season, Arrieta gave up seven runs (six earned) in the first inning for a 1.74 ERA.

Davis hits 50th homer with the A’s

In his 172nd game as a member of the Athletics, Khris Davis hit a pair of homers, his 50th and 51st for the team, in Oakland’s loss to the Astros on Friday. The only player in A’s history, dating back to 1901, to reach 50 homers for the team in fewer games than Davis was Mark McGwire. McGwire hit that mark in his 161st game.

Duo strikes in Angels’ win

Mike Trout hit a two-run homer and Albert Pujols added a three-run dinger of his own (which proved to be the game-winner) as the Angels defeated the Rangers, 6-3. Since Pujols joined Trout in Anaheim in 2012, they have homered in the same game 33 times. The only teammates to homer in the same game more often over the last six seasons are Chris Davis and Adam Jones (37).

Freeman is the difference

Freddie Freeman hit a game-winning, two-run home run in the ninth inning of the Braves’ 10-8 win over the Brewers. Freeman has eight home runs this month, one shy of his high in a calendar month; he hit nine in August last season. Since the 2002 season, only one Braves player has hit more than eight homers by the end of April: Justin Upton with 12 in the 2013 season. There have been several other instances of a Braves player hitting exactly eight by that point in the season since 2002: Andruw Jones in 2002 and 2006, Chipper Jones in 2007 and 2008, and Upton in 2014.

White Sox make it five in a row

Geovany Soto hit a two-run single in the eighth inning to put the White Sox ahead for good in their 7-3 win over the Tigers. Chicago has won each of its last five games, tying the franchise’s second-longest April winning streak over the last nine seasons (since 2009). The team had a five-game winning streak from April 9 to 15 last season, and then won six in a row later that same month from April 22 to 27.

Pirates get started early in rout of Marlins

The Pirates scored eight runs in the second inning, with the help of six hits (five singles and a bases-clearing triple by Francisco Cervelli), three walks, and a hit-by-pitch, in their 12-2 rout of the Marlins on Friday. From the 2014 to 2016 seasons, Cervelli batted .194 (6-for-31) with the bases loaded, fourth-lowest among the 83 batters with at least 30 at-bats in those situations over that span (Leonys Martin, .156; Andrelton Simmons, .179; Marcus Semien, .189). Before his triple on Friday, Cervelli was 0-for-2 with the bases loaded this season.

Rays’ offense shines when it gets late

Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, and Logan Morrison each homered in the eighth inning to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 Rays’ lead they never relinquished in Toronto on Friday night. That is the first time in Rays history that they hit three homers in a single inning that late in a game (eighth inning or later).

Mariners’ pitching keeping runs off the board

Starting pitcher Ariel Miranda allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings in the Mariners’ 3-1 win over the Indians in Cleveland. Over its last three games, Seattle has allowed two runs (8-0 and 2-1 wins at Detroit on Wednesday and Thursday). In the last 10 years, the Mariners have surrendered two-or-fewer runs over a three-game span, all on the road, just two other times: May 20 to 22, 2011 at San Diego (two runs) and September 12 to 14, 2016 in Anaheim versus the Angels (two).

Molina pickoff key in Cards’ win

With the Cardinals clinging to a 3-1 lead and the Reds batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Yadier Molina picked off Eugenio Suarez to end the Cincinnati threat. St. Louis went on to win the game, 7-5. Since 2004, Molina’s first season in the majors, he has 47 catcher pickoffs, by far the most for any catcher over that span. His brother Jose, who has not been in the major leagues since 2014, has the second-highest total with 22.

Twins’ duo helps team climb back

Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer each hit two-run doubles in the eighth inning to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 Twins’ lead, and they went on to win by that same score in Kansas City on Friday. The last time the Twins won a road game in which they trailed by two-or-more runs in the eighth inning or later was on August 21, 2015 at Baltimore. They came back from two runs down in the eighth to win, 4-3.