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Elias Says: October 18, 2017

A one-of-a-kind Yankees’ postseason win at home

The Yankees, trailing by four runs, scored two runs in the seventh inning and added four more in the eighth, capped by Gary Sanchez’s two-run double, to complete a 6-4 comeback win over the Astros to even the ALCS at two games apiece. That marked the first time the Yankees won a postseason game at home after trailing by four or more runs in the seventh inning or later. They had previously done so twice in postseason games on the road, in Game 4 of the 2004 ALDS against the Twins at the Metrodome and in Game 1 of the 2010 ALCS versus the Rangers in Arlington (the Yankees came back from a late five-run deficit in that one).

Houston’s four-run lead on Tuesday tied its largest blown lead in a postseason loss, done three previous times, most recently in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS against the Royals at Minute Maid Park. The Astros led that game, 6-2, entering the eighth inning, and they were just one win away from eliminating the eventual World Series-winning Royals when Kansas City scored five runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth for a 9-6 victory.

All Rise for the Judge

Aaron Judge opened the scoring in the Yankees’ comeback win in Game 4, hitting a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Judge, who also homered in Game 3, is the third Yankees rookie with a home run in two straight postseason games, joining Charlie Keller (Games 3 and 4 of the 1939 World Series at Cincinnati) and Shane Spencer (Games 2 and 3 of 1998 ALDS against the Rangers). Keller hit a pair of home runs in Game 3 and he hit one more in Game 4, as the Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the Reds. Spencer hit a solo shot in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium and then added a three-run home run in Arlington as the Yankees closed out that series in three games.

Gurriel knocks in three in Astros’ loss

Yuli Gurriel’s three-run double in the sixth inning gave the Astros an early 3-0 lead at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Gurriel is the fourth rookie with at least three RBIs in a postseason game against the Yankees. He joins the Cubs’ Frank Demaree (three-run home run in the first inning of Game 4 of the 1932 World Series), the Braves’ Andruw Jones (two home runs, including one off Andy Pettitte, and five RBIs in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series), and the Mets’ Jay Payton (three-run home run off Mariano Rivera in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series).

Another game-winning homer for Taylor puts Cubs backs against the wall

Chris Taylor’s third-inning home run off Kyle Hendricks gave the Dodgers the lead for good at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, as Los Angeles is now just one win away from its first World Series appearance since 1988. Taylor also had the game-winning home run in Game 1 of this series, a solo shot off Hector Rondon. The last player with two-or-more game-winning home runs within one postseason series was the Mets’ Daniel Murphy against the Dodgers in the 2015 NLDS; he did so in Games 1 and 5. The only other Dodgers player to do that was Dusty Baker in the 1977 NLCS versus the Phillies, in Games 2 and 4.

Dodgers resilient as Cubs strike first again in Game 3

The Cubs have scored the first run in each of the first three games of their NLCS matchup with the Dodgers, and they lost them all. Only one other team in a best-of-seven postseason series lost the first three games of the series despite scoring first in each of those games. In the 1990 ALCS, the Red Sox did so against the Athletics. Boston scored first in each of the first three games, and only put one run on the board in each of those games (losing 9-1, 4-1, and 4-1, respectively). The A’s eliminated the Red Sox in Game 4, winning by a 3-1 final score; Oakland scored first in that matchup.

Darvish bases-loaded walk pads the lead

Carl Edwards Jr.’s four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Yu Darvish in the sixth inning gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead in Game 3. It was the first bases-loaded walk or hit-by-pitch to a pitcher in a postseason game since Burt Hooton of the Dodgers walked the Phillies’ Larry Christenson at Veterans Stadium in the second inning of Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS.

James wastes no time in first game of season

LeBron James led all Cavaliers with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists in Cleveland’s season-opening win over the Celtics on Tuesday. James has scored at least 25 points in 10 season openers, tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone for the third-most games of this type in NBA history, behind Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, with 11 each.

Tatum joins Cowens and Bird with performance in NBA debut

Jayson Tatum, making his NBA debut on Tuesday night, scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Celtics in their loss to the Cavaliers. Tatum is the third Celtics player with a double-double in his first game in the NBA, joining a pair of Hall-of-Famers. Dave Cowens had 16 points and 17 rebounds in his first game, on October 13, 1970 against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. And in his NBA debut, Larry Bird netted 14 points with 10 boards on October 12, 1979 versus the Rockets at Boston Garden.

Warriors blow late lead to Rockets in season opener

The Warriors dropped their season-opener to the Rockets on Tuesday despite leading by 13 points at the end of three quarters. Golden State became the fifth team in the shot-clock era to lose their first game of a season after leading by at least 13 points entering the fourth quarter. The four teams that previously did that – the 1993-94 Nuggets, 2005-06 Bobcats, 2009-10 Nets, and 2014-15 Bucks – had each finished the previous season at least 10 games under .500.

Rockets pick up Paul in debut

Chris Paul led the Rockets with 11 assists in his first game for the team, though Houston was outscored by 13 points with Paul on the court. Entering Tuesday, Paul had 130 games in his NBA career in which his plus/minus rating for a game was minus-10 or worse, and his team lost all 130 of those games.

Young is a bright spot for Warriors in loss

Nick Young scored 20 first-half points in his first game with the Warriors on Tuesday. Over the last 10 years, only two other players had a 20-point half in their first game with a team: LeBron James with the Heat on October 26, 2010 at Boston, with 21 second-half points, and Joe Johnson with the Jazz on October 25, 2016 at Portland, with 27 second-half points.

Young made six of seven three-point shots in the game and led the Warriors with 23 points. Young is the third player in 2017 to make as many as six three-pointers in his team debut – Lou Williams made seven for the Rockets in February and Troy Williams sank six for Houston in April. Before this year, the only player ever to do that was J.R. Bremer for the Cavaliers in 2003. Bremer’s performance was mostly unnoticed compared to his 18-year-old teammate LeBron James, who scored 25 points and contributed nine assists and six rebounds in his NBA debut.

Kucherov makes it seven in a row

Nikita Kucherov extended his season-opening goal streak to seven games when he scored in the second period of the Lightning’s shootout loss to the Devils in Newark. He’s the sixth player in the NHL’s “modern era” to score at least one goal in each of his team’s first seven games of a season. The other players to do that since 1943–44 are Ken Hodge (1973–74 Bruins), Tony Tanti (1983–84 Canucks), Wayne Gretzky (1983–84 Oilers, first eight games), Mike Bossy (1984–85 Islanders, first 10 games) and Mario Lemieux (1992–93 Penguins, first 12 games).

Giroux gets 400th assist in Flyers’ win

Claude Giroux scored one goal and assisted on another in the Flyers’ 5–1 win over the Panthers. Giroux, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Flyers, reached the 400-assist mark with his assist in Tuesday’s game. He is the fourth player in Flyers history to produce 400 or more assists, after Bobby Clarke (852), Brian Propp (480) and Bill Barber (463). Since Dec. 30, 2008, when Giroux notched his first NHL assist in a game at Vancouver, he ranks sixth in the league in that category, behind Henrik Sedin (467), Nicklas Backstrom (463), Joe Thornton (460), Ryan Getzlaf (436) and Sidney Crosby (421).

Malkin tallies four points in OT win

Evgeni Malkin tallied three assists in regulation time and then scored the goal at the 58-second mark of overtime which earned the Penguins a 5–4 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It was Malkin’s first four-point game this season and the 21st regular-season game with at least four points in his NHL career, but it was his first such game since Nov. 17, 2015, when he had a hand in all four Pittsburgh goals in a victory over Minnesota. Malkin ranks fifth among active players in four-point games, behind Jaromir Jagr (56), Sidney Crosby (30), Joe Thornton (28) and Alex Ovechkin (22).

Nilsson dominates in first game with Canucks

Goaltender Anders Nilsson, who signed with Vancouver as a free agent last summer, made his debut for the Canucks on Tuesday with a 32-save 3–0 win against the Senators in Ottawa. Nilsson is only the third goaltender to register a shutout in his first regular-season game for the Canucks. The others to do that were Mike Fountain on Nov. 14, 1996 (a 3–0 victory at New Jersey in his NHL debut) and Johan Hedberg on Oct. 11, 2003 (a 3–0 win versus the Oilers in Vancouver).

Josi nets the winner

Roman Josi’s first goal of the season was the game-winning goal for the Predators in their 4–1 victory over the Avalanche. Josi was one of five NHL players to score at least a dozen goals as a defenseman in each of the past four seasons. The others are Dustin Byfuglien, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber. If you are wondering why Brent Burns is not on the list, he played right wing for the entire 2013–14 season.

Andersen stops all he sees in win over Caps

The Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen notched his first shutout of the season by making 30 saves in a 2–0 win against the Capitals in Washington. This was Andersen’s second shutout in D.C. His first clean sheet in our nation’s capital was his final shutout for the Ducks, a 2–0 win on April 10, 2016. Andersen’s two road shutouts in regular-season play versus the Capitals tie him with Martin Jones, Kari Lehtonen, Henrik Lundqvist and Roberto Luongo for the high among active NHL goaltenders.

Staal puts up the points

Jordan Staal tied his career high for points in one game when he scored one goal and assisted on three in the Hurricanes’ 5–3 win at Edmonton on Tuesday. It is the fourth time that Staal has racked up a four-point game, having done so once for Pittsburgh and twice before for Carolina. This is only the fourth time in the last eight seasons that a Hurricanes player scored as many as four points in a road game. Carolina’s other four-point road games since 2010–11 were by Jussi Jokinen (Nov. 19, 2010 at Pittsburgh), Jiri Tlusty (Feb. 11, 2013 at Nassau Coliseum) and Jaccob Slavin (March 13, 2017 at Brooklyn).

Blue Jackets spread the wealth

Eleven different players recorded a point for the Blue Jackets in their 5–2 victory at Winnipeg, but no Columbus player tallied more than one point in Tuesday’s game. The only other regular-season game in Blue Jackets history in which they had as many as 11 different point producers but no multiple-point men was their 4–1 win at Buffalo on April 8, 2016, when they also had 11 players with a goal or an assist (but no one with two points).

Hamhuis provides the key goal for the Stars

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis’ first goal this season was the game-winning tally for the Stars in their 3–1 victory over the Coyotes in Dallas. Hamhuis scored four game-winning goals as a rookie with the Nashville Predators in 2003–04, but he has produced only seven game-winners since then and not more than one in any single season. He has never scored a game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs.