Elias Says: June 12, 2017

Murray back-to-back shutouts to win the Stanley Cup

Matt Murray notched his second straight shutout as the Penguins clinched their second consecutive Stanley Cup with a 2–0 win at Nashville in Game 6 of this year’s Final. Murray, who beat Nashville 6–0 in Game 5, is the fourth goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in each of the last two games of a Stanley Cup Final series. The other goaltenders to do that all did so for the Red Wings: rookie Earl Robertson in 1937, Johnny Mowers in 1943 and Terry Sawchuk in 1952. Murray is only the third goaltender since 1953 to register back-to-back shutouts at any juncture in a Stanley Cup Final. Martin Brodeur did so for the Devils in 2003 (Games 1 and 2) and Chris Osgood matched that for the Red Wings in 2008 (Games 1 and 2).

Murray, who was also in goal for Pittsburgh’s Cup-clinching win against San Jose last year, is the first goaltender ever to play in the Stanley Cup Final for the winning team in each of his first two seasons in the NHL.

Hornqvist late GWG in third period

Patric Hornqvist’s tiebreaking goal with 1:35 left to play in the third period was the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Penguins in their 2–0 Game 6 victory at Nashville. This is the third time since the NHL took exclusive possession of the Stanley Cup in 1927 that the Cup-winning goal was scored in the final two minutes of the third period. The other players to score Cup winners in that manner were Boston’s Bill Carson in 1929 and Chicago’s Dave Bolland in 2013.

Hornqvist played his first six seasons in the NHL for Nashville before the Predators traded him to the Penguins in June 2014. He’s the second player in the NHL’s expansion era to score a Stanley Cup winning goal against a franchise he previously played for. Brendan Shanahan did that when he tallied the Cup decider for the Red Wings against the Hurricanes in 2002. Shanahan played for the Whalers in their final two seasons in Hartford before the team relocated to North Carolina and became the Hurricanes in 1997.

That’s why they call them the Bronx Bombers

Aaron Judge hit his 20th and 21st home runs of the season, Gary Sanchez connected for the 30th home run of his career and Starlin Castro homered and drove in four runs in the Yankees’ 14-3 win over the Orioles. The Bronx Bombers have scored at least eight runs in each of their last five games (8, 9, 8, 16, 14). It’s only the second time over the last 75 years that the Yankees have scored eight or more runs in five consecutive games. They had a five-game streak like that in 1956 with Hank Bauer (.400, 3 HR, 7 RBI), Mickey Mantle (.364), Gil McDougald (.522, 2 HR, 6 RBI) and Bill Skowron (.368, 3 HR, 9 RBI) all contributing to the streak.

With his two home runs, Judge increased his major-league leading home run total to 21, becoming the first rookie in major-league history to be the first player to 20 homers in a season. The last Yankees player to be the first to 20 homers in a season was Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Sanchez hit his 30th career home run in his 90th big-league game, all with the Yankees. Only two other players hit 30-or-more homers within their first 90 games with the Yankees, but both had previously played for other big-league teams: Roger Maris (his 30th homer with the Yankees came in his 78th game with the team) and Babe Ruth (30th Yankees homer in his 82nd game).

Castro has 41 RBIs this season, becoming the third Yankees player with at least 40 RBIs, joining Aaron Judge (47) and Matt Holliday (44). It’s the first time since 2006 that the Yankees had three players with at least 40 RBIs in the team’s first 60 games. That season it was Jason Giambi (51), Alex Rodriguez (45) and Derek Jeter (41).

The Yankees outscored the Red Sox and Orioles, 55-9, during their five-game winning streak, winning by scores of 8-0, 9-1, 8-2, 16-3 and 14-3. In so doing, the Yankees became the fourth team in the modern era (since 1900) to score 55 or more runs and allow 10 or fewer runs over a five-game span. The other teams: the 1911 Pirates (55-9), 1937 Yankees (58-8) and 1939 Yankees (56-8).

The Yankees scored six first-inning runs on Saturday night and five on Sunday afternoon. It’s the first time that the Yankees scored at least five first-inning runs in each of back-to-back games since Aug. 25, 1939 when they scored five runs in the first inning in both games of a doubleheader at St. Louis against the Browns.

For the second game in a row the 3-4-5-6 slots in the Yankees batting order delivered 12 RBIs. The Yankees are the second team since 1920 to enjoy back-to-back games in which those four slots in the batting order combined for at least 12 RBIs. The Red Sox did it on June 7-8, 1950 with Ted Williams, Vern Stephens, Walt Dropo and Al Zarilla doing the mauling.

Nova: only 7 walks in 13 starts

Ivan Nova allowed only one hit and did not walk a batter in six scoreless innings in the Pirates’ win over the Marlins. Nova has walked only seven batters in his 13 starts this season. Only one Pirates’ pitcher in the modern era walked seven or fewer batters in his first 13 starts of the season, and he did it twice. Babe Adams walked only five batters in his first 13 starts of the 1920 season and he issued only six free passes in his first 13 starts in 1922.

Dodgers youngsters hit three homers

Twenty-one-year-old Cody Bellinger homered twice and 23-year-old Corey Seager hit a grand slam in the Dodgers win over the Reds. It’s the first time that the Dodgers had two players under the age of 24 combine for three home runs in a game since July 5, 1962, when Ron Fairly (age 23), Willie Davis (22) and Tommy Davis (23) all homered in a game in San Francisco.

Mets starting pitching is coming around

Seth Lugo allowed only one run in seven innings in the Mets’ 2-1 win over the Braves. It was the fifth straight game in which the Mets starting pitcher allowed no more than one run: Zack Wheeler (7 IP, 1 R), Matt Harvey (5 IP, 0 R), Robert Gsellman (6⅔ IP, 0 R), Steven Matz (7 IP, 1 R) and Lugo. It’s the first time that Mets starters had five straight games with at least five innings pitched without allowing more than one run since May 2015. The starting pitchers during that streak were Matt Harvey, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon and Jacob deGrom.

Another two-strike hit for Dickerson

Corey Dickerson drove in two runs in the Rays’ win over the A’s, including a double on a 2-2 pitch. It was Dickerson’s 40th two-strike hit of the season, tying him with Xander Bogaerts for the major-league high in that category.

Zobrist caps 4-run first inning

Ben Zobrist’s three-run home run in the first inning capped a four-run first inning in the Cubs’ win over the Rockies. It was the fifth time this season that the Cubs scored at least four runs in the first inning, the most in the major leagues.

Young, Jr. notches first career 4-RBI game

Eric Young, Jr., playing in his 576th major-league game, knocked in a career-high four runs in the Angels’ win over the Astros. Entering Sunday’s action, only two active players had played more games than Young without having a game with at least four RBIs: DJ LeMahieu (736) and Dee Gordon (613).

Rangers win with more runs than hits

The Rangers scored five runs on only four hits in their win over Max Scherzer of the Nationals. It was the third time this season that the Rangers won a game in which they scored more runs than they had hits, tying the Mariners, Dodgers and Twins for the most such wins in the majors this season.

Donaldson: three hits and three RBIs

Josh Donaldson rapped out three hits and knocked in three runs in the Blue Jays’ win over the Mariners. It was the twelfth time Donaldson had at least three hits and three RBIs in a game since he joined the Blue Jays in 2015, the third-most such games for any player over that span, behind Nolan Arenado (14) and Miguel Cabrera (14). And it was the first time that Donaldson has ever produced three hits in a game against the Mariners. He had entered Sunday’s game with a .161 career batting average (37 for 230) vs. Seattle, which had been the lowest average for any active major-leaguer against any team (minimum: 200 at-bats).

Posey and Slater lead Giants

Buster Posey and Austin Slater each had three hits and four RBIs in the Giants’ win over the Twins. It’s the third time over the last 15 seasons that the Giants had two players with at least three hits and four RBIs in the same game. Andres Torres and Pablo Sandoval did it in a game in 2010 and Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence accomplished it in a game in 2013.

Another fine performance by Ray

Robbie Ray improved to 5-0 with an ERA of 0.24 over his last five starts after another stellar performance in the Diamondbacks’ win over the Brewers. Only one other pitcher in Diamondbacks history went 5-0 with an ERA that low over a five-start span: Brandon Webb went 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA over five starts in 2007.

Royals sock 9 homers over two games

Mike Moustakas (twice), Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer homered in the Royals’ win over the Padres, giving the Kansas City nine home runs over its last two games. That matches the most home runs that the Royals have hit over a two-game span in team history. The Royals also hit nine homers over two games in August 1997 and in June 2001.

Upton has slams for four different teams

Justin Upton’s grand slam was the big blow in the Tigers’ win over the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball. Upton has hit a grand slam for four different teams in his major-league career, previously going deep with the bases loaded for the Diamondbacks, Braves and Padres. Four other active players have hit a grand slam for four different teams: Carlos Beltran (Royals, Mets, Cardinals, Yankees), Adrian Beltre (Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, Rangers), Colby Rasmus (Cardinals, Blue Jays, Astros, Rays) and Mark Reynolds (Orioles, Indians, Brewers, Cardinals).