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Heat advance to the conference finals in an odd way
From Elias: The Heat beat the Bulls 94-91 to close out their best-of-seven series in five games on Wednesday night. Miami led by nine points at the end of the first quarter, but saw that lead turn into a six-point deficit at halftime. It marked the seventh game in NBA playoff history in which a team saw its end-of-the-first-quarter lead of nine or more points turn into a halftime deficit of six or more points. And the Heat were only the second team to come back to win such a game. On March 19, 1955, Red Auerbach's Celtics led Joe Lapchick's Knicks, 30-16, after one quarter, but trailed, 61-55, at halftime, before earning a 116-109 victory in a winner-take-all Game 3 of a first-round series.
Durant's off night leads to Thunder's ouster from the playoffs
From Elias: Kevin Durant shot just 5-for-21 from the field (24 percent) and committed seven turnovers in the Thunder's series-ending loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Durant is the only player to commit at last seven turnovers and make less than 25 percent of his shots from the field on at last five attempts in a game in which his team was eliminated from the playoffs. (The NBA began tracking individual turnovers in 1977-78.)
Ibanez becomes the oldest player to hit a grand slam at Yankee Stadium
From Elias: Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam home run and drove in six runs to lead the Mariners to a 12-2 win over the Yankees on Wednesday night. Ibanez, 40 years and 347 days old on Wednesday, became the oldest player to ever hit a grand slam home run at Yankee Stadium, old or new, beating the previous mark by only four days. Jose Cruz hit a grand slam for the Yankees against the White Sox at the old Yankee Stadium on July 16, 1988 at age 40 years and 343 days. It was Cruz' only homer in his 38-game stint with the Yankees and the last he hit in his career.
Dunn drives in five in White Sox' win
From Elias: Adam Dunn went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs in the White Sox' 9-5 victory over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon. It was the 18th time that Dunn has driven in at least five runs in a game in his career, tied with Albert Pujols for the second highest total among active players behind Alex Rodriguez (28).
Scherzer's streak ends
From Elias: J.D. Martinez and Carlos Corporan each homered off of Max Scherzer in the Astros' 7-5 win over the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon. That snapped a streak of 27 consecutive starts in which Scherzer allowed fewer than two home runs, which was the longest current streak in the major leagues entering Wednesday's action. Prior to Scherzer the last Tigers' pitching to allow fewer than two homers in at least 27 consecutive starts was Kevin Ritz, who had a 28-start streak without allowing multiple home runs for Detroit from 1989 to 1992.
Amarista comes through from the eighth spot in the order
From Elias: Alexi Amarista went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run and drove in two runs out of the eighth spot in the batting order to help lead the Padres to an 8-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon. Only two other player in the Padres' franchise history have had at least three extra base hits with multiple RBIs while batting eighth or ninth in the batting order: Cesar Crespo on September 24, 2001 against the Rockies (3 XBH, 4 RBIs) and Nick Hundley on August 31, 2010 against the Diamondbacks (3 XBH, 2 RBIs).
Diamondbacks finally beat Hudson
From Elias: Tim Hudson allowed five runs in five innings of work and took the loss in Arizona's 5-3 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon. Hudson entered the day with a 7-0 record and a 1.33 ERA against the Diamondbacks in his career. That was tied for the most wins without a defeat any active pitcher had against any opposing team entering Wednesday's action (Gavin Floyd against the Red Sox, Cole Hamels against the Reds and Justin Verlander against the Orioles). Hudson's five earned runs allowed on Wednesday were as many as he had given up to the Diamondbacks in his previous six starts combined against them (he pitched 44 innings in those starts).
Kipnis has a big night against southpaws
From Elias: Jason Kipnis hit two doubles and a home run in Cleveland's 10-4 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon. It marked the first time in his 219-game career that Kipnis had three extra base hits in a game. All three of those hits came off of left-handed pitchers, he doubled twice off starter Cole Hamels and added a home run off southpaw reliever Raul Valdez. Prior to Wednesday, Kipnis had only 15 extra base hits in 295 official at bats against lefties (one XBH every 19.7 at bats).
Cruz continues to thrive with multiple runners on base
From Elias: Nelson Cruz hit a three-run home run in a four-run fifth inning to help lead the Rangers to a 6-2 win over the A's on Wednesday afternoon. Cruz has now hit 23 home runs with at least two runners on since the start of the 2009 season, which is the second highest total for any major leaguer over that span, behind Ryan Howard (26).
Price's miserable start continues
From Elias: David Price allowed four runs before leaving in the third inning with an injury and was saddled with the loss, dropping his record to 1-4 in nine starts, in the Red Sox' 9-2 win over the Rays on Wednesday night. Price is only the third pitcher to post one or fewer wins in his first nine starts of a season after winning the Cy Young Award in the previous season, joining Zack Greinke (one win in 2010) and Bartolo Colon (one win 2006).
Choo cleans up from the leadoff spot
From Elias: Leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo went 4-for-5 with two home runs to help lead Cincinnati to a 4-0 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night. Choo became the first Red with at least four hits and two homers out of the leadoff spot in a game since Mariano Duncan did it against the Expos on August 28, 1991.
Pirates snap Gallardo's winning streak
From Elias: Yovani Gallardo allowed only two runs and three hits in six innings of work but was saddled with the loss as Milwaukee dropped a 3-1 decision to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. That snapped Gallardo's streak of seven consecutive wins against the Pirates dating back to April of 2010. Only three other active pitchers had a seven-game winning streak against Pittsburgh at some point in their career: Chris Carpenter (10 from 2004 to 2009), Derek Lowe (10 from 2003 to 2010) and Johnny Cueto (7 from 2009 to 2010).
Samardzija does it all at Wrigley
From Elias: Jeff Samardzija allowed two runs over eight innings and hit a home run to lead the Cubs to a 6-3 win over the Rockies at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night. Over the last 40 years, only two other Cubs pitchers have homered while earning a victory with at least eight innings pitched in a game at Wrigley Field: Kerry Wood against the Dodgers on August 14, 2004 and Carlos Zambrano against the Astros on June 11, 2007.
Jays jump on Giants early for the second straight night
From Elias: The Blue Jays jumped on the Giants for five runs in the first inning en route to an 11-3 victory on Wednesday night. Toronto scored six runs in the first against San Francisco in Tuesday's game. It is the first time the Blue Jays scored five or more runs in the first inning in consecutive games in their franchise history and the third time the Giants allowed a team to do that to them in two straight games (August 10-11, 1894 and September 22-23, 2006).
Prior to the Blue Jays, the last team to score five or more runs in the first inning in consecutive games was the Brewers, who did it on September 22 and 23 in 2006.
Sharp stays hot in Chicago's Game 1 victory
From Elias: Patrick Sharp assisted on two goals for the Blackhawks and scored the empty-net goal that wrapped up a 4-1 Chicago victory in Game 1 of their second-round series against the Red Wings. Sharp did not record a point in the opener of the Blackhawks' first-round series against Minnesota but he's posted nine points in six games since then (six goals, three assists), with at least one point in each game. The five-game point streak is the longest of Sharp's NHL playoff career, and nine points matches his career high for any five-game span in postseason play. He tallied nine points over a five-game stretch during Chicago's run to the Stanley Cup in 2010, with three goals and six assists, from the final game of a first-round series versus Nashville through the first four games of a second-round series against Vancouver.