Elias Says: October 6, 2017

Altuve puts three in orbit in Houston

Jose Altuve hit three home runs as the Astros defeated the Red Sox 8-2 in game one of the ALDS in Houston. It was the tenth time that a player hit three home runs in a postseason game. The first player do to it was the only one who did it twice—Babe Ruth—in the 1926 and 1928 World Series. Prior to Altuve, the last to do it was Pablo Sandoval, who hit three against the Tigers in game one of the 2012 World Series. Two of those homers, incidentally, came off today’s winning pitcher, Justin Verlander.

Bregman and Altuve go back-to-back

Altuve hit two of the homers off Chris Sale, the first of which he hit in the first inning and came after an Alex Bregman homer. Bregman and Altuve’s back-to-back first inning homers were the second back-to-back shots in the first inning of a game one of a postseason series. Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson did it for the Orioles off the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale in the 1966 World Series, which the O’s won in a sweep.

Long balls for Sale recently

Chris Sale allowed four home runs in his last regular season start on September 26 and three in Houston. He is the first pitcher in major-league history to allow three-or-more home runs in his last regular season start and first postseason start of a season.

Indians’ arms blank New York

Trevor Bauer, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen combined to shut out the Yankees, allowing only three hits in the Indians' 4-0 win in their series opener. That ties the fewest hits the Tribe has allowed in a postseason shutout. Duster Mails threw a three-hit shutout against the Dodgers in game six of the 1920 World Series on October 11 of that season, Orel Hershiser threw a three-hit shutout against the Red Sox on October 4, 1995, and Corey Kluber threw a three-hit shutout against the Red Sox on October 10 of last season.

Bauer baffles Bombers

Trevor Bauer did not allow a hit until Aaron Hicks doubled with one out in the sixth inning. That tied the longest no-hit bid against the Bronx Bombers in postseason history. In game four of the 2001 ALCS (October 21), Paul Abbott (5 IP) and Norm Charlton (⅓ IP) combined for 5⅓ hitless innings vs. New York to start the game. More recently, Max Scherzer took a bid through 5⅓ for the Tigers in game two of the 2011 ALDS, on October 2 of that season at Yankee Stadium.

Bruce is Mr. Ohio

Jay Bruce went 2-for-3 with a home run, double, sacrifice fly and 3 RBIs. Bruce also homered for the Reds in the postseason in 2010 and 2012. He is the first player in major-league history to hit postseason homers for both Ohio teams.

Brady stays hot in Patriots win

Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 19-14 win in Tampa. Brady completed 30 of 40 passes for 303 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. Brady has now thrown for 1702 yards through five games, with 11 touchdowns and 1 interception. One other player in NFL history threw for at least 1700 yards with 1-or-fewer interception in his first five games of a season. Peyton Manning did that in 2013 for the Broncos (1884 yards, 1 INT in first five games). With his win tonight, Brady tied Manning and Brett Favre with 186 regular-season wins, the most in NFL history.

Blackhawks tie NHL record

With their 10–1 rout of the Penguins on Thursday, the Blackhawks tied the record for the largest margin of victory by an NHL team in its first game of a season. The only other times an NHL team won its season opener by a nine-goal margin was when the Canadiens did so in each of two consecutive seasons: 1975–76 versus the Kings (9–0) and 1976–77 against the Penguins (10–1). Those games were both played at the Montreal Forum. The Blackhawks are only the third NHL team since 1920 to score as many as 10 goals in its season opener. The Flames did that in a 10–7 victory against the Red Wings in Calgary to begin the 1989–90 season, and the Canadiens did so in the previously mentioned 10–1 win in 1976–77.

Hartman makes Blackhawks history

Ryan Hartman became the first player in Blackhawks history to produce as many as five points in the team’s first game of a season when he scored one goal and assisted on four as Chicago crushed the Penguins, 10–1. Hartman’s five-point performance matches the highest point output since 1991–92 by an NHL player in his team’s season opener. The other players to do that since then are Steve Reinprecht for the Coyotes in 2006–07, Thomas Vanek for the Sabres in 2012–13 and Brad Marchand for the Bruins in 2016–17.

Varlamov and Avalanche defeat Rangers

Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 of the Rangers’ 39 shots on goal as he backstopped the Avalanche to a 4–2 victory at Madison Square Garden in the season opener for both teams. Varlamov’s 37 saves are the second-most ever recorded by a Nordiques or Avs goaltender in a season-opening game. Craig Anderson holds the top mark, with 38 saves for Colorado as it began the 2009–10 season with a 5–2 home-ice win against the Sharks.

Ovechkin scores three goals in third period

Alex Ovechkin scored three goals, all in the third period, as the Capitals began their season with a 5–4 shootout win at Ottawa. He’s the first NHL player to score three goals in one period in a season-opening game since Paul Gagne scored three times in the third period for the Devils as they began the 1985–86 season with a 6–5 win at Philadelphia. This was the 18th regular-season hat trick of Ovechkin’s NHL career, the most among active players, but it was only the third time he’s scored three goals in a single period. That ties him with Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg for the most one-period hat tricks among current NHL players.

DeBrusk and McAvoy have impressive debuts

Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy made their regular-season NHL debuts on Thursday and they each scored a goal for the Bruins in their season-opening 4–3 win over the Predators. This is the first time that the Bruins have had two players score a regular-season debut goal in the same game since Feb. 13, 1949, when Zellio Toppazzini and Dave Creighton did that in a game against the Rangers. Before Thursday, the last time there were two debut goals in any regular-season NHL game was when Edmonton played Winnipeg on Oct. 1, 2013, and the Oilers’ Luke Gazdic and the Jets’ Jacob Trouba each scored once. The last teammates to do that before DeBrusk and McAvoy were Carolina’s Tomas Kurka and Mike Zigomanis on Feb. 26, 2003 at Phoenix.

Sabres no match for Price

Carey Price turned aside all but two of the 45 shots on goal against him in regulation and overtime, then went unscored upon in the shootout which earned him and the Canadiens a 3–2 win season-opening win at Buffalo. This was the first time in nearly two years that Price faced as many as 45 shots on goal in a regular-season game, since he beat the Maple Leafs, 5–3, on Oct. 24, 2015 in Montreal, with Toronto firing 52 shots against him. Price has allowed no more than three goals in 34 of his 35 career games versus the Sabres, including each of his last 27 games against them.

Zetterberg notches another game-winning goal

Henrik Zetterberg’s third-period goal snapped a 2–2 tie and proved to be decisive as the Detroit Red Wings’ posted a 4–2 win over the Minnesota Wild in the first regular-season game at the Wings’ new home rink, Little Caesars Arena. Zetterberg, who has spent his entire NHL career with the Red Wings, scored 42 game-winning goals in regular-season play at Joe Louis Arena, which served as Detroit’s home from December 1979 to April 2017. That ranked Zetterberg third all-time in game-winning goals at “the Joe,” behind Sergei Fedorov (52) and Steve Yzerman (44).