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SMITH STEPS UP AS HAWKS EVEN SERIES
From Elias: Josh Smith scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and handed out eight assists to lead the Hawks to a Game 4 win over the Bulls and deadlock their series at two games apiece. Smith has played 534 regular-season games and 38 previous playoff games in his NBA career, but had never had a game in which he reached those levels in each of those three statistical categories.
MAVERICKS ELIMINATE THE CHAMPS IN A ROMP
From Elias: The Mavericks completed a four-game sweep of the Lakers with a convincing 122-86 win in Dallas. The Lakers were the seventh defending NBA champion to be swept in a playoff series and their 36-point margin of defeat on Sunday was the largest to cap any of those sweeps. The previous high was the Pistons' 21-point loss to the Bulls in Game 4 of the 1991 Conference Finals (115-94).
MAVS' STRONG FINISHES SINK LAKERS
From Elias: The Lakers faced an uphill climb when they entered the fourth period with a 24-point deficit, but Los Angeles never made a game of it as they were outscored 36-24 the rest of the way. The Mavericks became the first team in NBA history to sweep a best-of-seven playoff series while outscoring their opponent by at least five points during the fourth quarter of each game.
ETHIER PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF
From Elias: One day after his 30-game hitting streak was snapped, Andre Ethier went 2-for-4 with a home run to help the Dodgers defeat the Mets. There have been 44 hitting streaks of at least 30 games in the major leagues since 1900, and Ethier became the fifth player over that span to collect two or more hits, including a home run, in the game after a hitting streak of that length came to an end. The others were Rogers Hornsby (1922), Pete Rose (1978), George Brett (1980) and Eric Davis (1998).
LATE-INNING GAME-WINNING HR FOR DOUMIT
From Elias: Ryan Doumit's three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Pirates to a 5-4 victory over the Astros. It was the fourth time in the last two seasons that Doumit hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later. Over that span (2010-2011), only three major-leaguers have more such homers than Doumit: Nelson Cruz, Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee (five each).
YANKEES COME FROM BEHIND ON THE ROAD
From Elias: The Yankees overcame a 4-0 deficit to register a 12-5 win in Arlington. New York entered the day as the only major-league team that hadn't posted a come-from-behind victory in a road game this season.
JETER'S POWER OUTAGE IS OVER
From Elias: Derek Jeter snapped his streak of 259 consecutive at-bats without a home run (the second-longest streak of his career) with a fifth-inning round-tripper before lifting a go-ahead homer to the opposite field in the seventh inning. Jeter was the first player to homer in consecutive at-bats immediately following a home-run drought of 250 or more at-bats since San Diego's Chris Gomez in 1998 (who broke a streak of 374 homerless at-bats in that fashion).
FIVE HITS, NO RBI
From Elias: Paul Konerko went 5-for-5 in the White Sox' ten-inning win at Seattle. It was the third five-hit game of Konerko's career and the 48th for a White Sox player over the last 53 seasons. But Konerko became only the second player over that span (1959-2011) to register five or more hits in a game for the Pale Hose without driving in a run. The other player to do that was Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, who went 5-for-5 without an RBI in a 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Athletics on June 23, 1962.
REYES WINLESS IN HIS LAST 25 STARTS
From Elias: The Tigers erased a 2-0 deficit to beat Jo-Jo Reyes and the Blue Jays. Reyes is 0-12 with a 6.11 ERA over his last 25 starts, dating back to June 18, 2008 with the Braves, and he's pitched with a lead in 13 of those starts. Over the last 89 seasons, only three other major-league pitchers had a streak of 25 or more consecutive starts without a victory. The others to do so over that span (1923-2011) were Matt Keough (0-18, 5.44 ERA during a span of 28 starts for the Athletics from 1978 to 1979), Bob Miller (0-15, 5.85 ERA over a 27-start span for the Cardinals and Mets from 1960 to 1962) and Anthony Young (0-17, 5.00 ERA in a span of 27 starts for the Mets and Cubs from 1992 to 1994).
ANOTHER TOUGH LOSS FOR DEMPSTER
From Elias: Johnny Cueto won his season debut, outdueling Ryan Dempster in the Reds' 2-0 win at Wrigley Field. Dempster has lost 21 career starts in which his team failed to score a run. The only active pitchers with more shutout losses as a starter than Dempster are Javier Vazquez (32) and Barry Zito (23).
1,000TH WIN FOR SCIOSCIA
From Elias: Mike Scioscia notched the 1,000th victory of his managerial career as the Angels defeated the Indians on Sunday. Scioscia became the first manger to reach that milestone in the first managerial position he held since Tom Kelly did it for the Twins.
JURRJENS STYMIES THE PHILS
From Elias: Jair Jurrjens allowed one run in 6¿ innings in the Braves' 5-2 win at Philadelphia. Jurrjens improved his record to 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA in ten career starts against the Phillies. That's the lowest career ERA versus the Phillies among the 31 active pitchers who have thrown at least 50 innings against them.
SANCHEZ PILES UP THE STRIKEOUT
From Elias: Anibal Sanchez, who struck out 11 batters while allowing only two hits in seven innings, combined with two Marlins relievers to beat the Nationals, 8-0. The only other pitcher in franchise history to strike out more than ten batters in a scoreless start of fewer than eight innings was Josh Beckett, who struck out 12 Expos during a six-inning stint in a 4-0 win against the Expos on July 21, 2002.
RAYS BEAT BERGESEN LIKE A DRUM
From Elias: The Rays completed a three-game sweep of the Orioles on Sunday against a pitcher they have defeated with regularity. Brad Bergesen lost to the Rays for the fifth time in five career starts against them. The only other pitcher to lose his first five starts against Tampa Bay was Scott Elarton, who finished his career 0-6 in six starts against the Devil Rays (for the Indians and Royals from 2005 through 2007).
FOUR IN FIRST ARE ENOUGH FOR PADRES
From Elias: Jorge Cantu's three-run homer capped a four-run first inning and the Padres held on for a 4-3 win over the Diamondbacks. The Padres, who scored only five runs during the first inning over their 33 previous games, entered play on Sunday tied with the Twins for the fewest first-inning runs by any major-league team this season.
RED WINGS AVOID ELIMINATION IN DRAMATIC FASHION
From Elias: The Red Wings were less than 20 minutes away from playoff elimination when San Jose's Logan Couture scored a goal 54 seconds into the third period to extend the Sharks lead on Sunday night to 3-1, but Detroit staged a stunning three-goal rally to stay alive in the series with a 4-3 victory in Game 5. It was only the second time since 1990 that an NHL team won a playoff game in which it faced elimination and trailed by two goals in the third period. Remarkably, the other team to do that was the Sharks in Game 5 of their 2008 series against Dallas. San Jose trailed 2-0 with fewer than 14 minutes to play in that game but won 3-2 in overtime on a goal by Joe Pavelski.
This was the fourth time in Red Wings history that they won a playoff game in which they trailed by two goals in the third period (facing elimination or not) and the first time since Game 2 of the 1998 Stanley Cup Final against Washington.