Elias Says: October 10, 2017

Reddick’s revenge

The Astros eliminated the Red Sox on Monday with a 5–4 win at Fenway Park, with Josh Reddick, who started his career with the Red Sox, driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Only one other player drove in a postseason series-winning run in the seventh inning or later against a former team. In the 1986 NLCS, Ray Knight’s 16th-inning single drove in Darryl Strawberry with the game-winning run against the Astros, who had traded Knight to the Mets in 1984.

Devers legs one out

Rafael Devers cut Boston’s deficit to one run in the bottom of the ninth inning with the first-ever inside-the-park home run in postseason play at Fenway Park. There were four inside jobs (two by Boston, two by its opponents) hit in the team’s early World Series games over the first two decades of the 20th century. You may not have heard of the Boston players who hit them (Patsy Dougherty in 1903 and Larry Gardner in 1916); you most likely have heard of the two Boston pitchers who gave them up (Cy Young in 1903, Babe Ruth in 1916).

Gurriel sets a rookie record

In the third inning on Monday, Yuli Gurriel extended his streak of consecutive at-bats with a hit to six in a row, setting a rookie record. Three rookies had hits in five straight at-bats in postseason play: Brian Doyle for the 1978 Yankees, Chad Fonville for the 1995 Dodgers and Carlos Correa for the 2015 Astros.

Scherzer can’t hold down Cubs long enough

The Cubs defeated the Nationals on Monday, 2–1, after Max Scherzer held Chicago hitless until Ben Zobrist’s double with one out in the seventh inning. Only two other teams in major-league history have won a postseason game after not having a hit through six innings:

In Game 4 of the 1947 World Series, with the Yankees holding a two-games-to-one edge over the Dodgers, New York’s Bill Bevens took a no-hitter to the bottom of the ninth inning with a 2–1 lead at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Bevens sandwiched a walk between a pair of outs, but then allowed a stolen base, an intentional walk (his 10th free pass of the game), and a two-run game-winning double to Cookie Lavagetto.

Oakland won Game 4 of the 1974 ALCS in Baltimore, winning the series, on only one hit. The Orioles’ Mike Cuellar was removed after walking in a run in the fifth inning without having allowed a hit. Oakland tacked on a run in the seventh on Reggie Jackson’s RBI double and held on for a 2–1 win.

Yankees take advantage of Indians’ miscues

The Yankees defeated the Indians on Monday, 7–3, scoring six unearned runs to knot their series at two wins apiece. Only two other teams in postseason history have scored at least six runs in a game with such a high percentage of them being unearned. The Red Sox defeated the Angels in Game 7 of the 1986 ALCS, 8–1, with seven UERs; and the Brewers beat the Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1982 World Series, 7–5, with six un-Ernies.

KKKKKahnle closes the door on Indians

Tommy Kahnle closed out the Yankees’ win with a six-out, five-K save. Since 1969, the only other player to make at least 20 relief appearances in a season without earning a save, who then got a save with his team facing postseason elimination, was Mike Montgomery in the Cubs’ win in Game 7 of last year’s World Series.

Kahnle’s five strikeouts tied the highest total in a postseason save (since 1969), previously accomplished by the Padres’ Craig Lefferts in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series and the Astros’ Brad Lidge in Game 3 of the 2004 NLCS.

Dodgers finish off D’Backs

The Dodgers closed out the Diamondbacks with a 3–1 win in which Cody Bellinger homered and drove in two runs. At 22 years, 88 days old, Bellinger is the fifth-youngest player to homer in a postseason series-clinching win in major-league history. The three players to do that at a younger age than Bellinger were Andruw Jones in the 1996 NLCS (19y, 177d), Miguel Cabrera in the 2003 NLCS (20y, 180d), Mickey Mantle in the 1952 World Series (20y, 353d) and Wayne Garrett in the 1969 NLCS (21y, 307d).

McKinnon leads the way for Vikings

Jerick McKinnon scored on a 58-yard run and led all players (on both teams) with 95 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards in the Vikings’ 20–17 win over the Bears on Monday. Since the start of last season, only two other players have been a game’s leader in both rushing and receiving yards: Chris Ivory (Jacksonville) and David Johnson (Arizona) each did that last season; no Vikings player had done so since Adrian Peterson as a rookie in 2007.

Flames win in Anaheim for first time since 2004

The Flames defeated the Ducks on Monday, 2–0, ending their 25-game winless streak in Anaheim. That was the longest winless streak by a team in road games against one opponent since the Penguins went an NHL record 42 straight games without winning in Philadelphia, from 1974 to 1988.

Point’s points

Brayden Point’s power play goal in overtime gave the Lightning a 4–3 win over the Capitals on Monday. Point has tallied at least one goal and one assist in each of Tampa Bay’s three games this season. He’s the first player in franchise history to begin a season with a streak of three consecutive multiple-point games. Point is only the second NHL player since 2010–11 to register at least one goal and one assist in each of his team’s first three games of a season. Chris Kreider did that for the Rangers at the start of last season.

Can’t Beat on this Bratt

Jesper Bratt tallied two goals and one assist in the Devils’ 6–2 win at Buffalo on Monday afternoon, after notching a goal and an assist when he made his NHL debut in the Devils’ season-opening victory against Colorado on Saturday. Bratt is the first player in Devils franchise history to rack up as many as five points in the first two games of his NHL career. He’s also matched the highest point total that any active player produced in his first two NHL games. The other current players who had five points through two games are Radim Vrbata, Brent Seabrook, Anze Kopitar and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Scheifele extends goal streak to three games

Mark Scheifele scored for the third straight game, Nikolaj Ehlers scored a hat trick, and the Jets got their first win of the season, 5–2 against the Oilers. Scheifele, who also scored in his first three games in the 2015–16 season, is one of the five active players who has scored in his first three games of a season more than once. The others are Alex Ovechkin (three times), Michael Cammalleri, Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr.

Varlamov blanks Bruins

Semyon Varlamov posted his first shutout of the season and his second career shutout in Boston with a 4–0 win against the Bruins at TD Garden. This was Varlamov’s first game in Boston since Oct. 10, 2011, when he notched his first win for the Avalanche by blanking the Bruins, 1–0. Varlamov is only the second goaltender to record a shutout in each of two consecutive regular-season games against the Bruins at TD Garden, which opened in 1995. The first was Trevor Kidd, who did that with shutouts for the Hurricanes in April 1998 and January 1999.

Late goals lead to Toronto win

Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk scored goals for the Maple Leafs in the final seven minutes of the third period and Auston Matthews tallied in overtime as Toronto overcame a late 3–1 deficit to beat the Blackhawks, 4–3. It’s the first time that the Maple Leafs won a non-shootout game in which they trailed by two goals in the final seven minutes of the third period since a 4–3 overtime victory against the Flyers at Air Canada Centre on March 11, 2008. Pavel Kubina and Jeremy Williams scored the goals which tied the score for Toronto and Kubina won the game for the Maple Leafs with a goal in the final minute of overtime.

Tarasenko bedevils the Islanders

Vladimir Tarasenko scored both regulation goals for the Blues in their 3–2 shootout victory against the Islanders in Brooklyn. It was Tarasenko’s third multiple-goal performance in his nine career games versus the Islanders. The Blackhawks (four, in 20 games) are the only other team against which Tarasenko has produced as many multi-goal games as he has against the Islanders.

Tarasenko has scored two goals or more for the Blues in 17 games over the last four seasons, which is as many as the next three St. Louis players have combined (17: Patrik Berglund 6, Jaden Schwarz 6, Alexander Steen 5).