Elias Says: May 24, 2017

Irving and James carry Cavs

Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in the third quarter and LeBron James scored 15 in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers inched one game closer to a showdown with the Warriors. It was the first time since 2010 that a team had one player score 15 or more points in the third quarter and a teammate score 15 or more points in the fourth quarter of an NBA playoff game. The last duo to do that was Carmelo Anthony (15 points in the third quarter) and J.R. Smith (18 in the fourth) for Denver in a win over Utah in Game 1 of their first-round series in 2010.

Irving scored 10 consecutive Cavaliers points in the second quarter and then scored 14 straight Cleveland points in the third quarter. It’s been 11 years since the last NBA playoff game in which the same player had two such streaks in the same game—scoring at least 10 consecutive points for his team at one point, and at least 14 straight points at another point. The last to do that: Kobe Bryant (streaks of 13 and 17 straight points for the Lakers) in an overtime loss to the Suns in a first-round game on May 4, 2006. The last player to do it in a playoff win was Ray Allen (streaks of 19 and 12 points), playing for the Bucks against the 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals, on June 1, 2001.

James, who went 1-for-6 from three-point range on Tuesday night, broke the NBA career record for three-point field-goal attempts in the playoffs. James has 964 three-point attempts (making 315) in 211 playoff games. He broke the record of Ray Allen, who took 959 three-point shots (making 385) in 171 playoff games.

Anderson keeps Sens alive

Ottawa’s Craig Anderson made 45 saves as the Senators tied the Eastern Conference Final at three wins each with a 2–1 victory over the Penguins in Game 6. That’s the most saves that any NHL goaltender has made in a playoff win that kept his team from being eliminated since Anderson himself stopped 45 shots as the Senators stayed alive with a 5–1 victory at Montreal in Game 5 of a first-round series two years ago. Anderson is the only NHL goaltender in the expansion era (i.e., 1968 to date) with two 45-save wins in playoff games in which his team faced elimination. The only other active goaltenders with one such win in postseason play are Marc-Andre Fleury (55 saves in a triple-overtime game in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final), Jaroslav Halak (53 saves for Montreal in 2010 vs. Washington) and Jonathan Quick (51 saves in 2011 at San Jose).

Senators rebound

The Senators rebounded from their 7–0 loss in Game 5 to earn a 2–1 win over the Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. This was the first time that an NHL team won a playoff game in which it faced elimination after losing the previous game in the series by at least a seven-goal margin since 1990. That spring, the Flames stayed alive with a 5–1 victory on home ice in Game 5 of a first-round series against the Kings, after they had endured a 12–4 loss at Los Angeles in Game 4. The Kings eventually won that series with a double-overtime victory in Game 6.

Nats support Ross

Here are the final scores in the four games started by Joe Ross this season, all Nationals victories: 14-4 at Atlanta, 15-12 at Colorado, 23-5 over the Mets and 10-1 over the Mariners. That total of 62 Washington runs in four starts by Ross this season is the highest for any pitcher over any four-start span in the modern era (since 1900). The last pitcher to get 62 or more runs of support over a four-start span was Ted Breitenstein in 1895. St. Louis scored 64 runs over four straight starts by Breitenstein that season; the scores were 23-7, 5-6, 23-2 and 13-2.

Lynn involved in another old-fashioned pitcher’s duel

Clayton Kershaw (three hits allowed in nine innings pitched) and Lance Lynn (two hits allowed in eight innings pitched) had an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Here is the amazing fact of the night: Lance Lynn has been involved in each of the last three games in which both starting pitchers threw at least eight innings and allowed no more than three hits. Jordan Zimmermann and Lynn had such a duel on June 13, 2014; then Johnny Cueto and Lynn each threw gems against each other on September 11, 2014.

Big first inning for Conforto

Michael Conforto led off the first inning with a home run and delivered a two-run single later in the frame as the Mets scored seven runs in the opening inning in their win over the Padres. Conforto is the first player in Mets history to hit a leadoff homer in the first inning and get an RBI hit later that inning. Four other players over the last 30 seasons hit a home run to lead off the first inning and had an RBI hit later in the inning: Eric Young for Colorado in 1996, Ryan Christenson for Oakland in 2000, Curtis Granderson for Detroit in 2006 and Ian Kinsler for Detroit in 2016.

Lester masters Wrigley

Jon Lester threw a four-hit complete game in the Cubs’ win over the Giants at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. Lester is 12-0 with a 1.55 ERA over his last 16 regular season starts at the “Friendly Confines,” dating back to last May 27. Lester is the fourth pitcher in Cubs history to go 12-0 or better over a 16-start span at Wrigley Field, the first to do it with an ERA under 2.00. The others to go 12-0 or better were Bill Lee (14-0, 2.34 ERA over 16 starts at Wrigley Field from 1935-1936), Jon Lieber (13-0, 3.25, 2001-2002) and Lon Warneke (13-0, 2.10, 1932-1933).

Two-hit shutout for Santana

Ervin Santana threw a two-hit shutout for the Twins against the Orioles, improving to 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA in ten starts this season. Since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961, only two Twins pitchers had an ERA that low through their first ten starts of a season: Francisco Liriano was 9-1 with a 1.36 ERA in his first ten starts in 2006 and Scott Erickson was 7-2 with a 1.63 ERA in his first ten starts in 1991.

Santana also improved to 4-0 in four road starts this season. His teammate Phil Hughes has also won his first four road starts this year. It’s just the third time in Twins franchise history that two pitchers each won their first four road starts of a season. It happened in 1913 with Walter Johnson (won first five road starts) and Joe Boehling (four), and in 1979 with Jerry Koosman (five) and Geoff Zahn (five).

40 RBIs for Blackmon

Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs in the Rockies’ win over the Phillies. Blackmon has reached 40 RBIs, all from the leadoff spot, in Colorado’s first 47 games of the season. It’s the fewest team games to accumulate 40 RBIs from the leadoff spot since the major leagues began recording RBIs in 1920. Ian Kinsler (2009) and Mookie Betts (2016), who both reached 40 RBIs from the leadoff spot in 52 team games, shared the previous record.

RISPy business for Marquez

German Marquez pitched six solid innings in the Rockies’ win over the Phillies on Tuesday night. Philadelphia batters went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Marquez. Marquez has held opponents hitless in their last 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the second-longest such streak in the major leagues this season, behind Yu Darvish (0-for-30).

EE goes deep twice

Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs in the Indians’ win over the Reds. It was the first two-homer game of the season for Encarnacion, his 15th since the start of the 2014 season. That’s three more two-homer games than any other player over the last four seasons. Four players have 12 two-homer games since 2014: Chris Carter, Chris Davis, Khris Davis and Giancarlo Stanton.

4 HR in 9 batters for Royals

Lorenzo Cain, Jorge Bonifacio, Whit Merrifield and Mike Moustakas all homered for the Royals in a nine-batter span over the seventh and eighth innings in their win over the Yankees. It’s the fifth time in Royals history that they hit four homers over a nine-batter span, but the first since June 29, 2001 when Mike Sweeney, Jermaine Dye, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Beltran all went deep over a five-batter span.

Maybin and Trout set the tone

Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout hit back-to-back homers to start the game in the Angels’ 4-0 win over the Rays. It’s the third time in team history that the Angels’ first two batters of a game hit home runs. Rex Hudler and Don Slaught did it on May 21, 1996, and Kole Calhoun and Trout turned the trick on August 6, 2013.

Only other team has opened a game with back-to-back homers this season. The Astros’ George Springer and Josh Reddick did it at Yankee Stadium on May 14, following the ceremony at which Derek Jeter’s uniform number was retired.

Bogaerts runs wild (pitches)

Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and four runs scored for the Red Sox in their win over the Rangers on Tuesday. Two of Bogaerts’ four runs scored came on wild pitches. Bogaerts became the first Red Sox player to score twice on wild pitches in the same game since Jim Rice did it on May 17, 1984 against the Indians. Mike Jeffcoat and Ernie Camacho uncorked the wild pitches that allowed Rice to score.