Special to ESPN.com
ORIOLES' QUARTET EVOKES FOURSOME FROM 40 YEARS AGO
From Elias: It's a trivia question that has been asked for so long now that some of you could likely answer it in your sleep: Who were the last four teammates each to earn 20-or-more wins in the same season? All together now: Dave McNally (21-5), Mike Cuellar (20-9), Jim Palmer (20-9) and Pat Dobson (20-8), with the Orioles in 1971.
Forty years later, Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta are acting as if they would like to supply a new answer to the question. Arrieta allowed one run over six innings on Monday, leading the O's to a 5-1 win over the Tigers and providing a fourth straight superb starting performance by Baltimore starters. Over the weekend, the Orioles swept the Rays in St. Petersburg by scores of 4-1, 3-1 and 5-1; they have now tied the major-league record of four consecutive wins from the start of a season while allowing no more than one run in each game. The 1915 Phillies, 1991 White Sox and 2007 Mets are the only other teams to start that way.
From Elias: Dan Uggla's eighth-inning home run broke a 1-1 tie and furnished the final run in the Braves' 2-1 win at Milwaukee. Uggla is new to Atlanta fans this year, but he gave them an early taste of what he is all about: the home run was Uggla's 49th in the seventh inning or later since he arrived in the major leagues in 2006, the eighth-highest total in the majors during that period.
IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING
From Elias: Takashi Saito inherited a 1-0 lead but allowed eighth-inning home runs to Martin Prado and Dan Uggla and the Braves took a 2-1 decision over the Brewers. You don't often see a reliever yield game-tying and go-ahead home runs in the same inning - it happened only five times in the majors all last year - but some Milwaukee fans must have had a flashback to last April 27, when Trevor Hoffman was touched for ninth-inning homers by Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Doumit in what turned out to be a 7-3 win for the Pirates.
YANKS' ROOKIE PITCHER STARTS - AND WINS - IN SEASON'S 4TH GAME
From Elias: Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit two-run homers to supply the offense and rookie Ivan Nova earned his second major-league win in the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Twins. Nova became the first Yankees rookie to win a start within a season's first four games since Billy Martin's days as the Yankees manager. Under Martin, 22-year-old Al Leiter beat the Brewers, 4-1, in the fourth game of the 1988 season.
The Yanks are now 46-16 (.742) in regular-season games against the Twins since Ron Gardenhire became the Minnesota manager in 2002. It's the highest winning percentage by one major-league team against another from the same league over that span.
RANDY WELLS & SCOTT SANDERSON, WILLIE BLOOMQUIST & BARRY BONDS
From Elias: Willie Bloomquist led off the game with a home run off Randy Wells at Wrigley Field on Monday, but that was the only run that the Diamondbacks scored in a 4-1 loss to the Cubs. In only one other game over the last 70 years had Wrigley fans seen a Cubs starter win a game in which the enemy's only run came on a first-inning leadoff homer. That game was played on Aug. 12, 1986, when Scott Sanderson beat the Pirates, 3-1, despite a first-inning homer by Pittsburgh's lithe leadoff hitter, Barry Bonds. It was the 12th home run of Bonds' rookie season.
WALKER: 7 HITS, 7 RBIs IN 4 GAMES
From Elias: Neil Walker kept up his early-season attack with three hits and two RBIs in the Pirates' 4-3 triumph in St. Louis. In four games this season, the Pittsburgh second baseman has produced seven hits and seven RBIs. The last Pirates infielder to produce such totals over a season's first four games was Johnny Ray, a second baseman who had nine hits and eight RBIs in the Bucs' first four games 25 years ago.
RANGERS: 26 EXTRA-BASE HITS IN 4 GAMES
From Elias: Elvis Andrus homered for the first time since 2009 and Nelson Cruz homered for the first time since the day before, pacing the Rangers to a 6-4 win over the Mariners. Texas players also contributed two doubles and a triple, and now have 26 extra-base hits over their first four games. Only one team in major-league history has had a higher total over a season's first four games: the Yankees had 30 extra-base hits over a similar span in 2003.
RANGERS FASHION A MEMORABLE COMEBACK
From Elias: The Rangers' playoff chances seemed imperiled when they fell behind the Bruins, 3-0, just past the middle of the second period of their game at Madison Square Garden. But the home team stormed back with five unanswered goals, including three in the last four minutes of the third period, to earn a 5-3 victory. The teams have been playing each other since 1926 but Monday's game marked only the third time that the Rangers have beaten the Bruins by overcoming a three-goal deficit. The previous instances came in January 1944 at the old MSG and in December 1992 in the current building.
BRUINS LEAD BY 3 GOALS, END UP WITH NO POINTS
From Elias: Monday's loss to the Rangers was certainly not the most painful loss that the Bruins have suffered after holding a 3-0 lead... There was that little matter of Game Seven of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Flyers last spring. But Monday's game was the first time that Boston had failed to earn a point in a regular-season game in which it led by three-or-more goals since a 6-5 overtime loss to the Red Wings on Nov. 2, 1995. They had earned at least one point in 257 such games during the interim.
THORNTON's 11TH STRAIGHT SEASON OF 20+ GOALS
From Elias: Joe Thornton scored his 20th goal of the season in a six-goal barrage by the Sharks, who coasted to victory over the Kings. For Thornton, it was his 11th straight season with a score of scores; the only other active NHL players with current streaks that long are Jarome Iginla, who has a streak of 12 seasons scoring 20-plus goals, and Milan Hejduk, Marian Hossa and Vincent Lecavalier, each of whom has an 11-season streak.
Thornton also assisted on Dan Boyle's goal on Monday night, leaving Thornton with a career total of 999 points in 992 games.