“Elias Says” for April 4, 2017
Information researched by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Tar Heels finish redemption tour
North Carolina beat Gonzaga for the National Championship one year after losing the 2016 Championship game to Villanova. The Tar Heels are the fourth team in NCAA Tournament history to win a National Championship after losing in the Championship Game the year before. The others to do it were North Carolina, who beat Georgetown in 1982 after losing to Indiana in 1981, Duke beat Kansas in 1991 after losing to UNLV in 1990 and Kentucky beat Utah in 1998 after losing to Arizona in 1997.
Berry swishes and dishes
Joel Berry scored 22 points and handed out six assists in North Carolina’s win over Gonzaga. Berry is the first player to score that many points and have that many assists in the National Championship Game since Oklahoma’s Dave Sieger scored 22 points and handed out seven assists in a loss against Kansas in 1988.
Grandal and Kershaw pound Padres
Yasmani Grandal homered twice, once from each side of the plate, in the Dodgers’ 14-3 win over the Padres on Monday. Grandal is the third player in major league history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a season opener. Ironically, the two other players to do it did it for the same team in the same game. Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez did it for Arizona in their season opener in 2009 against the Rockies.
With the win, the Dodgers extended their opening day winning to seven games, matching the Orioles for the longest current opening day winning streaks in the major leagues. For the Dodgers, it’s their longest opening day winning streak since they won eight straight from 1919 to 1927, when they resided in Brooklyn.
The Dodgers beat the Padres, 15-0, in their 2016 season opener. Only one other team in major league history scored 14 or more runs in back-to-back season openers: the Cubs in 2005 (beat the Diamondbacks, 16-6) and 2006 (beat the Reds,16-7).
Clayton Kershaw improved his career record on opening day to 5-0. Nine other pitchers won their first five decisions on opening day, three of them are in the Hall of Fame: Tom Seaver (first six), Greg Maddux (first six) and Randy Johnson (first five).
Benintendi starts season with a bang
Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer in the Red Sox five-run fifth inning in their win over the Pirates on Monday afternoon. At age 22, Benintendi is the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run in a season opener that was played at Fenway Park. The previous youngest was Bobby Doerr, who was eight days past his 23rd birthday when he homered off Washington’s Sid Hudson in the Red Sox season opener in 1941. Doerr’s 99th birthday is this Friday.
Mets score six runs in seventh inning
Lucas Duda’s three-run double capped a six-run seventh inning in the Mets’ 6-0 win over the Braves on Monday afternoon at Citi Field. That’s the most runs scored by a team in a shutout victory in their season opener in which they scored all their runs in one inning in major league history. The previous record for such a thing was set by the Angels in 2012 in a 5-0 win over the Royals. The big hit in that inning was a bases loaded triple by Erick Aybar.
The six-run inning also tied a Mets franchise record for most runs scored in any inning in a season opener. That record was set in 2008 against the Marlins in Miami in a 7-2 win, a David Wright three-run double was the big blow in that inning.
Trumbo powers Orioles to a win
Mark Trumbo’s home run in the eleventh inning gave the Orioles a 3-2 win over the Blue Jays in Camden Yards. It was the sixth walk-off win on opening day in Orioles franchise history, the first that was won by a home run. It was also the second consecutive season in which the Orioles won their season opener in walkoff fashion. Matt Wieters ninth inning single won last season’s opener against the Twins. The Orioles are the first team since the Rockies in 2005 and 2006 to win consecutive season openers via a walk-off run.
Harper ties MLB record
Bryce Harper hit a home run in the Nationals’ win over the Marlins, his fifth career home run in five opening day games. That ties the major league record for home runs for any player in his first five career opening-day games. Herman Long hit five home runs in his first four career opening day games for the Braves from 1890 to 1895 and Xavier Nady hit five homers in his first five season openers for the Padres and Pirates from 2003 to 2008.
Career win #70 for Strasburg
Stephen Strasburg earned the win for the Nationals on Monday afternoon improving his career record to 70-41. Only four other active pitchers reached 70 career wins in 111 or fewer decisions: Jon Lester (win #70 in decision #97), David Price (109), Jered Weaver (109) and Adam Wainwright (110).
Hernadez leads off the first inning with a homer
Cesar Hernandez led off the Phillies’ first-inning with a home run and the Phillies held on to win their season opener over the Reds on Monday. Hernandez is the first major league player to hit a leadoff homer on opening day since Ian Kinsler did it for the Rangers on April 1, 2011. The last Phillies player to hit a leadoff homer in the season opener was Emmett Mueller on April 19, 1938 against the Dodgers. It was the first of 17 career home runs Mueller hit in his 441-game major league career, which was all played for the Phillies.
Correa joins Powell and Heyward
Twenty-two year old Carlos Correa hit an opening day home run for the second consecutive season. Correa is the third player under the age of 23 to hit opening day homers in back-to-back seasons: Boog Powell did it for the Orioles in 1963 and 1964 (ages 21 and 22), and Jason Heyward did it for the Braves in 2010 and 2011 (ages 20 and 21).
Another good opening day start for Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel threw seven innings without allowing a run in the Astros’ win over the Mariners. It’s the second time in his career that Keuchel threw at least seven innings without allowing a run in an opening day start, he also did it against the Indians in 2015. The only active players who have two or more such starts in season openers are Clayton Kershaw (three), Jake Arrieta (two), Johnny Cueto (two), Felix Hernandez (two) and Jeff Samardzija (two).
Twins walk to a win
Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano each drew bases loaded walks in the Twins’ six-run seventh inning in their win over the Royals. It was the first time since September 25, 2009 that the Twins drew three bases loaded walks in the same inning. That game was also against the Royals and the Twins players who did it were Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer.
The Twins drew only seven bases loaded walks all of last season.
Reynolds: two hits and a home run
Mark Reynolds went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs in the Rockies’ win over the Brewers. Prior to today, Reynolds had only two hits (a home run and a single) in 20 career at-bats on opening day.
Indians overcome 4-run deficit
The Indians overcame a 5-1 deficit in their win over the Rangers on Monday night. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Tribe overcame a deficit of four or more runs to win on opening day. They beat the Mariners in 1998, 10-9, despite trailing by six runs (9-3), they beat the Tigers in 1910, 9-7, in a game they trailed by four runs (4-0) and they had a 21-14 victory over the St. Louis Browns in 1925 in a game in which they fell behind 13-9.
Odor homers in each of first two at bats
Rougned Odor hit home runs in each of his first two at-bats in the Rangers’ loss to the Indians, becoming the third Senators/Rangers player to homer on each of his first two at-bats of a season. Gabe Kapler and Ivan Rodriguez did it in 2000. During the expansion era, only one other second baseman homered in each of his first two ABs: Mark Lewis of the Giants in 1997. Lewis did not play in the Giants’ first nine games of the season, hitting his homers in Game 10.
Timberwolves tie NBA record
The Timberwolves beat the Trail Blazers, 110-109, on Monday night. Minnesota has now won its last ten games that were decided by a one-point margin dating back to 2014, matching the longest such streak in NBA history. The St. Louis Hawks set the record by winning ten consecutive one-point games from 1959 to 1960, the Mavericks also won ten straight one-point games from 2007 to 2010.
Leafs score three quick ones
The Maple Leafs jumped out to an early 3–0 lead in their game at Buffalo when Leo Komarov, Auston Matthews and James van Riemsdyk scored goals within a span of 43 seconds. They were the second-fastest three goals scored by one NHL team in any game over the last nine seasons, though you only have to go back just over two weeks to find the quicker instance. That was on March 19, when Jonathan Toews, Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin all scored for the Blackhawks within a 34-second stretch in the middle of the third period to turn a 3–1 lead for Colorado into a 4–3 advantage for Chicago. The Leafs had not three goals in so short a span since Jan. 4, 2007, when they tallied three times in 42 seconds during the second period of a 10–2 Toronto win over the Bruins. The Maple Leafs who scored in that three-goal outburst were Bates Battaglia, Alexander Steen and Kris Newbury.
Matthews continues to light the lamp
Auston Matthews scored his 39th goal of the season in the Maple Leafs’ 4–2 win at Buffalo., breaking the NHL single-season record for a U.S.-born rookie set by Neal Broten when he scored 38 goals for the Minnesota North Stars in 1981–82. Matthews’ goal also extended his goal-scoring streak to five games He’s the first Toronto player to produce a five-game or longer goal streak in one season since Mats Sundin had a five-game skein in April 2006.
Rookie helps Habs clinch first place
Rookie Artturi Lehkonen scored two goals for the Canadiens when they clinched first place in the Atlantic Division with a 4–1 win over the Panthers in Sunrise. Lehkonen’s first goal snapped a 1–1 tie early in the third period and his second goal gave Montreal a 3–1 lead with just over three minutes left to play. This was Lehkonen’s second two-goal game in the NHL; he also scored twice in Montreal’s 7 –4 victory at Winnipeg on January 11. Lehkonen’s is the first Canadiens rookie to register more than one multiple-goal game in one season since Guillaume Latendresse produced two in 2006–07, and he’s the first Montreal rookie with multiple multi-goal road games in one season since Chris Higgins notched three in 2005–06.
Svechnikov starts NHL career right
Evgeny Svechnikov, who was making his NHL debut, scored the deciding goal in the seven-round shootout which earned the Red Wings a 5–4 win over the Senators. Svechnikov is only the fifth player to score a shootout goal in his first NHL game and just the second to score the decisive goal in a shootout in his NHL debut. The other player produced a shootout-winning goal in his first game in the NHL is Tim Stapleton for the Maple Leafs on Feb. 26, 2009 against the Islanders. The players who scored non-decisive shootout goals in their debut game are Linus Omark (2010), Mats Zuccarello (2010) and Reid Boucher (2013).