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Elias Says: May 17, 2017

Warriors: 10 wins to start playoffs

Stephen Curry scored a game-high 29 points and the Golden State bench supplied 63, as the Warriors routed the Spurs, 136-100, in the second game of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors rolled to a 72-44 halftime lead, the largest in a playoff game in the team’s 71-season history, and became only the second NBA team over the last 22 years to score 30-or-more points in each quarter of a playoff game. (The Warriors were on the receiving end of the other such game, when they were drubbed by the Clippers, 138-98, in a first-round game in 2014.) Golden State became the first NBA team to get at least 70 points from their starters and at least 60 from their bench players in the same playoff game since the Celtics did that against the Knicks in 1990.

The victory lengthened the Warriors’ start-of-playoffs winning streak to 10 games, something done by only four other teams in NBA history. The Lakers, in both 1989 and 2001, are the only team to start the playoffs with 11 consecutive wins. This year’s Warriors and last year’s Cavaliers are the only teams in NBA history that started the playoffs with 10 straight wins while scoring at least 100 points in each game.

Predators’ “Roman Defense” Goes on Offense

Roman Josi’s goal with 2:43 left to play in the third period snapped a 1–1 tie and earned the Predators a 2–1 victory over the Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Josi is the first defenseman to score a go-ahead goal in the last three minutes of regulation time in a Conference Final game (or Stanley Cup Final game, for that matter) since 1990, when the Blackhawks’ Doug Wilson did so in Game 2 of the Campbell Conference Final at Edmonton to even that series 1-1. The Oilers won the series and then beat the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

Sabathia breaks major league record held by Bob Gibson

C. C. Sabathia had allowed 22 earned runs over 20⅔ innings over his last four starts, but he blanked the Royals over 6⅔ innings on Tuesday night in Kansas City, earning credit for the Yankees’ 7-1 win. The victory was the 226th of C. C.’s major-league career, of which 121 have come in road games. With Tuesday’s victory, Sabathia surpassed Bob Gibson and now holds the modern major-league record among 200-game winners for the highest percentage of career wins coming on the road. Gibson, who played his entire big-league career with the Cardinals, earned 134 of his 251 career wins away from St. Louis (53.4 percent). We did the math: 53.5 percent of Sabathia’s wins have been achieved on the road.

Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp & Co. Fuel Braves in Toronto

Freddie Freeman went 2-for-4 with his 14th home run of the season in Toronto. Freeman now has a 1.211 OPS in the Braves first 36 games. The only Braves batting qualifier with a higher OPS through this point in a season was Hank Aaron in 1959 (1.314).

In their two game series in Toronto, Braves’ third batter Freeman went 3-for-9 with 2 home runs, cleanup hitter Matt Kemp went 6-for-9 with 3 doubles, and fifth batter Nick Markakis went 5-for-9. That’s a .519 batting average from the 3-4-5 slots in the series, the highest for Atlanta’s 3-4-5 hitters in a series with at least 25 at bats since 1995, when the Braves’ 3-4-5 hit .520 in a 2-game series vs. the Giants on April 26 and 27, with Chipper Jones, Fred McGriff, and David Justice doing the damage.

Bryce Harper is Having a Pretty Good Season

The Nationals trounced the Pirates 8-4 in Pittsburgh and Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with his 13 home run of the season. Harper also walked, bumping up each number in his slashline to .388/.503/.767. Harper is the only Nationals/Expos position player with an on-base percentage of .500 or higher in his first 35 games of a season (minimum: 10 plate appearances). Only one other player in the last 15 seasons (since 2003) has hit 13 homers with an OBP of .500-or-above through 35 games: Jose Bautista in 2011 (.509, 16 HR).

Chris Davis and Chris Davis Win it For the O’s in Extras

Chris Davis hit a go-ahead home run in the 12th inning in Detroit, but after the Tigers tied the game 11-11 in the bottom of the 12th, Davis had to do it again: this time with a 2-run homer in the top of the 13th that put the Orioles up for good, 13-11. Davis is only the second player in the expansion era (since 1961) to hit two go-ahead home runs in extra-innings: Matt Adams did it for the Cardinals in Cincinnati on September 4, 2013. Adams hit two solo home runs in the 14th and 16th innings, the second a game-winner.

Davis and Adams are the only players to homer multiple times in the 12th inning or later of a game.

Tomas Joins Aaron, Howard, and Stanton with 5 Game HR Streak vs. Mets

Yasmany Tomas hit his 8th home run of the season in the Diamondbacks’ 5-4 win vs. the Mets, his fifth straight game vs. the Mets in which he’s hit a home run. That ties the longest current streak for a player vs. a team: Edwin Encarnacion has homered in his last five games against the Phillies. Three other players homered in five straight games against the Mets: Hank Aaron (1962–63), Ryan Howard (2006–07) and Giancarlo Stanton (2014–15).

Astros Improve to 28-12

The Astros dominated in Miami in a 12-2 win to improve to 28-12 (.700). Three of the last four major-league teams to win at least 28 of their first 40 games in a season went on to win the World Series that year: the White Sox in 2005, Red Sox in 2007 and Cubs in 2016. The exception was the Rays in 2010.

The Astros 8th batter Jake Marisnick, who debuted with the Marlins in 2013, hit two home runs and a double vs. his former team. The 10 total bases tied the most for an Astros 8-or-9 hitter in a game. On September 7, 1970, their 8th batter Larry Howard hit two home runs and a double, in San Diego. Howard only had 86 career hits and 6 homers; Marisnick has already eclipsed those totals: 228 hits and 22 homers.

Dallas Keuchel allowed 2 runs in 5 innings to improve to 7-0, becoming the second Astros pitcher to be 7-0 or better through his first 9 starts of a season. Roger Clemens started 2004 7-0 with a 2.51 ERA. Through 9 starts in his 2015 Cy Young season Keuchel was 6-0 with a 1.67 ERA.

Betts Leads off Game by Tying Red Sox Record

Mookie Betts led off the game in St. Louis with a home run, and after his team fell behind 3-2, he hit a 5th-inning game-tying RBI groundout in the Red Sox 6-3 win in St. Louis. Betts’s leadoff home run was the 10th of his career, which tied Jacoby Ellsbury for a Red Sox record, one more than Tommy Harper (9) and Dom DiMaggio (9).

Ian Happ’s Major-League Career is Starting With a Bang and Rizzo is Hot vs. Reds

The Cubs defeated the Reds 9-5 at Wrigley Field, with seven home runs hit in the game, including one by the Cubs’ 22-year old Ian Happ. It was Happ’s second major-league home run, coming in his third game. Since 2014, Happ is the third Cubs player with at least two home runs in his first three big-league games. Javier Baez and Jorge Soler both hit three homers in their first three games in August 2014. Four other players to make their MLB debut since 2014 have also done it: the Rangers’ Joey Gallo (2) in 2015, the Rockies’ Trevor Story (4) in 2016, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (2) in 2016, and the Orioles’ Trey Mancini (2) in 2016.

Anthony Rizzo also homered, and now has hit a home run in each of his last four games against Cincinnati. In the history of the Cubs-Reds rivalry, only two other players have homered in four consecutive games vs. the opponent: Ted Kluszewski for the Reds in 1956 and Sammy Sosa for the Cubs in 2003.

Blackmon is a Leadoff RBI Machine

Charlie Blackmon went 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBIs in the Rockies 7-3 win in Minnesota. Blackmon now has 9 home runs and 30 RBIs in the Rockies first 40 games, all from the leadoff slot. Only one other player in the last 10 seasons (since 2008) has had 30 RBIs from the leadoff spot in his team’s first 40 games: Ian Kinsler for the Rangers in 2009 (32).

Brewers spoil chance for N.L. record with 5-run first at San Diego

The Brewers exploded for five runs in the first inning at San Diego—thereby costing themselves a shot at an all-time National League record. Huh? You see, the last 11 times that the Brewers produced a first inning of five-or-more runs all came in the friendly confines of Miller Field in Milwaukee. The National League record for that sort of thing is 12, done by Cincinnati more than a century ago, from 1904 to 1910, when a place called Palace of the Fans served as their home grounds. The Brewers’ last first inning scoring five-or-more runs away from Milwaukee came on April 22, 2013, when they generated a five-run first, also at San Diego.

Darvish Reaches 50 Wins

Yu Darvish was victorious vs. the Phillies, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings, striking out 9. Darvish improved to 4-2 on the season and 50-32 in his career, in 109 games (all starts). Among major-league pitchers born in Asia, Darvish reached 50 wins the second-fastest: Chien-Ming Wang, born in Taiwan, improved to 50-18 in his 87th big-league game. The next-fastest after Wang and Darvish: Japanese born Daisuke Matsuzaka (112), Japanese born Hisashi Iwakuma (121), and Japanese born Hideo Nomo (124).

Pujols’s 21st Walk-Off RBI

Albert Pujols notched his 21st career walk-off RBI with an 11th inning single in the Angels’ 7-6 win vs. the White Sox. Among players to debut in the expansion era (since 1961), that’s tied with Rickey Henderson for the second-most walk-off RBIs, behind Dusty Baker (25).

Dickerson Shines and Salazar Sinks as Rays Defeat Indians

Danny Salazar allowed 5 runs off of 6 hits—including 4 home runs—in 5 innings to fall to 2-4 as the Indians fell to the Rays 6-4 in Cleveland. Salazar is now 2-7 with a 6.82 ERA and 16 home runs allowed in his last 15 starts, since last July 26. That is the highest ERA for any pitcher with at least 15 starts since that date. In his previous 15 starts before this stint, from April 25 to July 19 of last season, Salazar was 9-2 with a 3.00 ERA and only 8 home runs allowed.

Rays’ leadoff batter Corey Dickerson belted two homers off Salazar, out of five total homers for the Rays in the game. Dickerson has seven home runs in 28 games in which he has batted leadoff this season; that’s the most home runs from the leadoff slot for a Rays batter before June in a season. The previous high was six, by Gerald Williams in 2000.

Blach Earns Second Major-League Win, Both vs. Rival Dodgers

Rookie Ty Blach defeated the Dodgers in San Francisco, throwing 7 innings in which he allowed only one run on a solo home run by Chris Taylor. Blach also defeated the Dodgers on October 1, 2016, allowing no runs in 8 innings, also in San Francisco. Blach has no other major-league victories. The last Giants pitcher whose first two major-league wins came vs. the Dodgers was Harry Gumbert, in 1935-1936. Gumbert went 143-113 for the Giants, Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates in a career that spanned from 1935-1950.

Canha’s First Start in CF is a Good One

The A’s Mark Canha made his first ever start in centerfield in Oakland’s 9-6 win in Seattle. Since the franchise moved to Oakland in 1968, the only other A’s player with multiple hits, runs and RBIs in his first start in centerfield with the team is Dave Henderson, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 runs and 2 RBIs on opening day, April 4, 1988, vs. the Mariners.