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Griffin, Clippers make quick work of Warriors to even series
From Elias: The Clippers evened their series with the Warriors in a big way as Los Angeles crushed Golden State, 138-98. The 40-point margin of victory is the largest for any NBA team in a playoff game since the Magic enjoyed a 43-point win over the Hawks in May 2010. Prior to tonight, the Clippers' previous largest margin of victory in a playoff game had been 25 points, which they reached in a 122-97 victory over the Suns on May 10, 2006.
Blake Griffin sat out the fourth quarter of the blowout victory, having already scored a playoff career-high 35 points in just under 30 minutes of playing time. Griffin is the fourth player in the shot-clock era to score at least 35 points in a playoff game without playing more than 30 minutes. The most recent player to do so before Griffin was Nick Van Exel, who scored 36 points in 30 minutes for the Mavericks on May 8, 2003 against the Kings. Michael Jordan also accomplished that feat, pouring in 35 points in 29 minutes on April 30, 1993 versus the Hawks. Bob Lanier is the only other player on that list, having scored 35 points in 30 minutes for the Pistons on April 15, 1976 versus the Bucks.
Poor shooting proves costly to Thunder
From Elias: As usual, Kevin Durant (36 points) and Russell Westbrook (29) provided the Thunder's scoring punch. But neither was a sharp shooter in Oklahoma City's 111-105 overtime loss to Memphis. Westbrook missed 17 shots from the field (11-for-28) and Durant missed 16 (12-for-28), and those are noteworthy totals. They were the first teammates to miss more than 15 field-goal attempts each in the same playoff game since 2003, when Kobe Bryant (10-for-28) and Shaquille O'Neal (10-for-26) did so in a first-round Lakers' loss to the Timberwolves.
Cruz delivers throughout O's series at Fenway
From Elias: Nelson Cruz drove in one of the Orioles' six runs during a third-inning eruption in a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox. Cruz also had two RBIs in the series opener, two in the second game, and one in the third. He became only the second Orioles player to drive in runs in every game of a series of four or more games at Fenway Park. The first was Brooks Robinson in June 1966. Several players did so for Baltimore's predecessors, the St. Louis Browns: Baby Doll Jacobson in 1920, Wally Gerber in 1923 (5 games), and Bruce Campbell in 1932.
With Monday's loss, the Red Sox fell to 9-11. Boston has never reached the playoffs or World Series in a season in which it lost more than half of its first 20 games.
Davis changes jerseys, slams the Reds again
From Elias: Ike Davis hit a grand-slam home run in the Pirates' 6-5 victory over the Reds two weeks after hitting a slam against Cincinnati while playing for the Mets. Let's address both of those oddities:
Davis is the first player in major-league history to hit grand slams for two teams in the same season before the end of April. The only other player to slam for two teams in the same calendar month was Don Lenhardt, for the Red Sox and Tigers in June 1952.
Davis is the third player to hit grand slams for two different teams against the same opponent in the same season. The others were Ray Boone in 1953 (for the Indians and Tigers against the St. Louis Browns) and Mike Piazza in 1998 (for the Dodgers and Mets against the Diamondbacks).
Prior to this season, Davis had only one home run in 40 at-bats with the bases loaded.
Mesoraco maintains torrid start
From Elias: Devin Mesoraco went 3-for-4 in the Reds' loss, raising his batting average to .541 (20-for-37) in 10 games this season. That's the highest batting average by a Reds player with at least 20 at-bats over his first 10 games of a season since 1926, when Bubbles Hargrave went 12-for-22 through 10 games (.545).
Howard extends HR streak in LA
From Elias: Ryan Howard homered in the fifth inning of the Phillies' victory over the Dodgers. Of course he did. Howard has hit at least one home run at Dodger Stadium in each of his nine seasons in the majors. The only other visiting players to homer in nine straight seasons at Chavez Ravine were Mike Schmidt (1975-87) and Dale Murphy (1979-87).
Howard has hit a total of 12 home runs in 111 at-bats at Dodger Stadium, the highest HR rate in the history of the building (minimum: 10 AB). The only other player with at least 10 homers at Dodger Stadium and an average of more than one homer per 10 at-bats was Dave Kingman (20 HR in 194 AB).
Astros dial it up for high-profile opponents
From Elias: The Astros improved their record to 6-14 with a 7-2 victory over Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Half of Houston's wins this season have come against former Cy Young Award winners. Besides Monday's win over Hernandez, the Astros defeated CC Sabathia in their season opener and R.A. Dickey on April 10.
What else would you expect from a player named Wood?
From Elias: Travis Wood hit his first home run of the season and the seventh of his major-league career in the Cubs' 5-1 win over the Diamondbacks. The only other pitcher to hit a home run in each of his first five seasons in the majors since the introduction of the Designated Hitter rule is Dontrelle Willis (2003-07). The only pitcher with as many home runs over the last five seasons as Wood is Yovani Gallardo (8).
Homers from the bottom of the order power the Braves
From Elias: Andrelton Simmons got the Braves on the scoreboard with a home run in the 5th inning and Evan Gattis' walkoff homer in the 10th gave Atlanta a 4-2 win over Miami. It was only the second time in the last five seasons that the Braves' starters in the 7th and 8th slots in the batting order both homered. Alex Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman, batting 8th for Atlanta early in his rookie season, did so in a 4-2 win over the Mets in April 2011.
Sanchez breaks down in the 7th
From Elias: The White Sox scored three runs in the seventh inning to post a 3-1 win at Detroit keeping Anibal Sanchez (0-2) winless this season. Sanchez had only one previous loss in a game in which he kept his opponent scoreless through six innings. That was for the Marlins in September 2010. His record in such games is now 23-2.
Ibanez delivers the winner in a pinch
From Elias: Raul Ibanez broke a 1-1 tie with a bases-clearing double in the eighth inning to lead the Angels to a 4-2 victory at Washington. It was the first time since 2001 that Ibanez delivered a game-winning RBI as a pinch-hitter, having last done so as a member of the Royals.
Vogelsong gets a quick hook after a tough first inning
From Elias: It was trouble right from the start for Ryan Vogelsong, who allowed three home runs and lasted only an inning-and-a-third in the Giants' 8-2 loss at Coors Field. Vogelsong needed 44 pitches to escape the first inning. It was the first inning in his major-league career in which he threw more than 40 pitches.
Farnsworth takes a turn as Mets' closer
From Elias: Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save for the Mets in their 2-0 victory over the Cardinals. Farnsworth is the third different pitcher to save a game for the Mets already this season, following Jose Valverde (2) and Carlos Torres (1). The last time three different pitchers accounted for New York's first four saves of a season was 1997: John Franco (2), Greg McMichael (1), and Toby Borland (1). Franco went on to collect 36 saves that season.
Granlund first is special
From Elias: Mikael Granlund's first NHL playoff goal earned the Wild a 1-0 overtime victory in Game 3 of its series against the Avalanche. Granlund is only the fifth NHL player in the last 75 years to score his first career playoff goal in a 1-0 overtime game. The others were Andrei Zyuzin (1998), Ruslan Fedotenko (2002), Niko Dimitrakos (2004) and Ryan O'Reilly (2010).
Kuemper's playoff debut is nearly unprecedented
From Elias: Darcy Kuemper, making the first playoff start of his NHL career, recorded 22 saves in his 1-0 overtime victory against the Avalanche on Monday night. Kuemper is only the second goaltender in NHL history to post a 1-0 overtime win in his first postseason start. The first was the Red Wings' Normie Smith, whose first playoff start came in what is still the longest playoff game in NHL history, Detroit's 1-0 victory over the Montreal Maroons on March 24, 1936, which Smith won when Mud Bruneteau scored at the 16:30 mark of the sixth overtime period.
Crawford shuts out the Blues
From Elias: The Blackhawks lost the first two games against the Blues but Corey Crawford got Chicago its first win of the series when he recorded a 2-0 shutout in Game 3. It was the third shutout of Crawford's playoff career and second in a game which the Blackhawks entered trailing in the series by two games. His first postseason shutout was a 5-0 win at Vancouver which staved off elimination for the Blackhawks in Game 5 of Chicago's first-round series against the Canucks in 2011.
The only other playoff shutout in Blackhawks history which came with Chicago trailing by two or more games in a series was Glenn Hall's 3-0 win against the Maple Leafs at Chicago Stadium in Game 3 of the 1962 Stanley Cup Final.
No lead is safe in this series
From Elias: The Penguins beat the Blue Jackets, 4-3, in Game 3 of their first-round series, overcoming a 3-1 deficit by scoring three goals in a 2:13 span during the third period. That's been a familiar pattern in this series. The Penguins and Blue Jackets are the first teams in NHL history to play three consecutive games in one playoff year, in one series or spanning two series, with the winning team having overcome a deficit of two or more goals in each game.
Pittsburgh won the first game, 4-3, after trailing 3-1 in the first minute of the second period, and Columbus won Game 2 by a 4-3 score in double-overtime after trailing 3-1 at the end of the first period.