“Elias Says” for April 5, 2017
Information researched by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Two big firsts for JaCoby Jones in Tigers’ first game of 2017
JaCoby Jones hit a three-run home run in the second inning and stole second base in the sixth inning of the Tigers’ 6–3 season-opening win at Chicago. Jones hadn’t homered or swiped a base in 13 previous major-league games. Only two other Detroit players have ever hit their first big-league home run and stolen their first MLB base in the same game – Frank Walker in July 1918 and Juan Encarnacion in September 1997. And no player on any team had registered his first major-league homer and steal in the same season-opening game since the Red Sox’ Ben Steiner in 1945.
Kinsler hits another Opening Day homer
Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of the Tigers’ 6–3 win over the White Sox. It was the second straight year that Kinsler hit a home run in Detroit’s first game of the season – he also did that at Miami in 2016. The only other Tigers player to home in two consecutive season-opening games was Aaron Robinson in 1949 and 1950.
Arrieta shuts down Cardinals
Jake Arrieta allowed one unearned run in six innings as the Cubs won, 2–1 at St. Louis. It was the 30th time that Arrieta has not allowed an earned run in a start for Chicago since his first appearance for the team on July 30, 2013. That ties Clayton Kershaw for the most such starts by any pitcher over that span.
Six of Arrieta’s earned run-free starts have come against the Cardinals, his most versus any opponent. The only other active pitcher with as many such starts in his career against St. Louis is a name you probably wouldn’t guess, Bud Norris (6.)
Padres fare much better in second game than in first
Clayton Richard threw eight scoreless innings as the Padres recovered from a 14–3 Opening Day defeat to blank the Dodgers, 4–0. San Diego is the second team in major-league history to win its second game of the season by a shutout after losing its opener by a margin of at least 10 runs. In 1902, the Tigers beat the White Sox, 5–0, one day after losing 12–2 to Chicago in their first game.
Santana slugs out of top lineup slot
One day after hitting two doubles in the season opener, Carlos Santana hit a leadoff home run and a single in the Indians’ 4–3 win at Texas. Santana is the fourth Cleveland leadoff batter to accumulate at least four hits and three extra-base hits over the team’s first two games of a season, joining Lyn Lary (1937), Dale Mitchell (1950), and Kenny Lofton (1999.)
Astros win with two solo homers
Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez hit home runs in the Astros’ 2–1 home win over the Mariners. It was the second time in the last nine seasons that Houston hit at least two solo homers which accounted for all its scoring in a one-run victory. The other was on Sep. 28, 2015, when George Springer, Evan Gattis, and Chris Carter went deep in a 3–2 win at Seattle.
McCann’s home run landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field. He hit 69 home runs in three seasons for the Yankees (2014–2016), but only two were opposite-field shots.
Headley flashes power and speed
Chase Headley had a home run and a stolen base in the Yankees’ 5–0 win at Tampa Bay. It was the first time that Headley did both of those things in one game since Sep. 13, 2013, when he played for the Padres. Between 2012 and 2013, Headley had five games with a home run and a stolen base, more than twice as many as any other major-league third baseman over those two seasons.
Rockies open on the road, win first two
Gerardo Parra had three hits and three RBIs as the Rockies improved to 2–0 with a 6–5 win at Miller Park. It’s the third time in its 25 seasons in the majors that Colorado has won its first two games of a season, both on the road. The Rockies also did that in 1998 at Arizona, and in 2015, also at Milwaukee.
Westbrook ties Big O
Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old NBA record with his 41st triple-double of the season by scoring 12 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and handing out 13 assists in the Thunder’s 110–79 win over the visiting Bucks. It was the first time that Westbrook registered an NBA triple-double in which his points total was lower than that of both his rebounds and assists. And in case you were wondering, Robertson never had such a triple-double in his career, either.
Pop wins 60 for the sixth time
The Spurs improved to 60–17 with a 95–89 overtime win over the visiting Grizzlies. It’s the sixth time in 21 seasons as an NBA head coach that Gregg Popovich has won at least 60 games. The only coaches with as many 60-win seasons are Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, who each had seven.
New Orleans and Denver each have high-scoring second quarter
The Pelicans outscored the Nuggets, 44–42, in the second quarter of Denver’s 134–131 win at New Orleans. It was only the second quarter in the last 26 years in which both teams scored at least 42 points. The other was on Jan. 7, 2014, when the Trail Blazers outscored the Kings 46–43 in the fourth quarter of a 123–119 Sacramento win.
Another dozen-game winning streak for Dubs
Klay Thompson led all players with 41 points as the Warriors extended their winning streak to 12 games with a 121–107 victory over the visiting Timberwolves. It’s the second time this season that Golden State has won 12 games in a row, having also done so in November. The only other team in the past eight seasons to have fashion distinct winning streaks of at least a dozen games was the Warriors in 2014–15. Of course, the Warriors also won their first 24 games in 2015–16, which, depending on how you look at it, could also be considered two 12-game streaks.
James ranks fourth on his team in points despite triple-double
LeBron James registered his 54th career triple-double, putting up 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in the Cavaliers’ 122–102 home win over the Magic. But James ranked fourth on his team in scoring, behind Kevin Love (28 points), Kyrie Irving (24), and JR Smith (19.) It was the 945th time that James has scored at least 18 points in a game. In only one other of those games did three teammates outscore him. On Feb. 21, 2012, his 18 points in a home win over the Kings ranked fourth on the Heat behind Dwyane Wade (30), Chris Bosh (20), and Mario Chalmers (20.)
Big third quarters for DeRozan and George
The Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and the Pacers’ Paul George added 18 in the third quarter of Indiana’s 108–90 home win. It was the fourth time in the last three seasons that opposing players scored at least 18 points in the same quarter. The previous three all involved the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas, against Stephen Curry (April 1, 2016), Russell Westbrook (Dec. 23, 2016), and Devin Booker (March 24, 2017.) The last such quarter not including Thomas included Paul George and Minnesota’s Kevin Love on Feb. 19, 2014.
A big night for Brooklyn’s offense
The Nets scored 41 points in the first quarter and 40 more in the second of their 141–118 win at Philadelphia. Brooklyn is the first team to score at least 40 points in each of the first two quarters of a road game since the Nuggets, at San Antonio on Nov. 7, 1990. Believe it or not, Denver, under head coach Paul Westhead, lost that game by a score of 161–153. Four days later, the Nuggets allowed an NBA-record 107 first-half points in a loss at Phoenix.
Ten different Brooklyn players made more than half of their field-goal attempts Tuesday. It was only the second time the Nets have done that in an NBA game. The other was in a 135–100 win over the Bucks in New Jersey on April 23, 1994.
Wall swishes and dishes in the third quarter
John Wall scored 14 points and handed out six assists as the Wizards outscored the Hornets 36–16 in the third quarter of their home win Tuesday. Only two Washington players in the last 20 seasons have registered as many points and assists in any quarter: Gilbert Arenas on Dec. 18, 2009 at Golden State (17 pts, 7 ast in the first quarter) and Wall on March 14, 2015 vs. Sacramento (15 pts, 6 ast in the third quarter.)
Knicks win with three rookies in starting lineup
Three rookies – Ron Baker, Willy Hernangomez, and Maurice Ndour – were in the starting lineup for the Knicks in their 100–91 home win over the Bulls. The last time New York won a game in which it started more than two rookies was on Nov. 19, 1985, when Patrick Ewing, Bob Thornton, and Gerald Wilkins started in a 98–94 victory over the Washington Bullets.
Withey makes the most of limited playing time
Jeff Withey was on the court for less than 13 minutes but made all five of his field-goal attempts in the Jazz’s 106–87 home win over the Trail Blazers. The last Utah player to go 5-for-5 or better from the floor while playing as few minutes was Kosta Koufos, who made all five of his shots in just over six minutes on Dec. 5, 2008 against Toronto.
Panarin scores 30 for second time in two seasons
Artemi Panarin, who scored 30 goals as a rookie for the Blackhawks last season, hit the 30 mark again when he scored the first goal in Chicago’s game at Colorado on Tuesday. Panarin is the first player ever to score at least 30 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons while playing for the Blackhawks. He’s only the fourth player to make his NHL debut since 1993–94 and score at least 30 goals in each of his first two (or more) seasons in the league. The others are Alex Ovechkin (all 12 seasons), Evgeni Malkin (first three) and Sidney Crosby (first two).
A perfect time for Honka’s first NHL goal
Rookie defenseman Julius Honka’s first NHL goal was the overtime winner for the Dallas Stars in their 3–2 victory against the Coyotes on Tuesday. Honka is the first NHL player whose first career goal was scored in overtime since the Bruins’ Ryan Spooner got on the board that way with an OT goal against the Devils on Feb. 27, 2015. Honka is the first player ever whose first regular-season goal was an overtime goal for the Stars, Minnesota or Dallas.
Dumoulin ends goal drought
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin ended the longest current regular-season goal drought by an NHL skater, 150 games, when he scored in the second period of Pittsburgh’s win over the Blue Jackets. Dumoulin’s last goal in regular-season NHL play was his only one until Wednesday. He scored that goal against Tampa Bay on Dec. 15, 2014. Dumoulin has scored only two regular-season goals during his four-year NHL career, but he did score twice for Pittsburgh in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Dumoulin having ended his dry spell, only one active NHL skater has a current goal drought of 100 or more games. That’s Dallas defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who has never scored a goal in the 107 regular-season games he’s played in the NHL.
Hickey is Isles’ all-time leader in OT goals by a defenseman
Defenseman Thomas Hickey kept the Islanders’ slim playoff hopes alive when he scored in overtime to give the Isles a 2–1 victory against the Predators in Nashville. It was Hickey’s second overtime goal this season and the fifth regular-season OT goal of his five-year NHL career spent entirely with the Islanders. Hickey is the Islanders’ career leader in regular-season overtime goals by a defenseman and he ranks third among all players in franchise history, behind John Tavares (9) and Kyle Okposo (6).
Rask posts eight shutout
Tuukka Rask set a career high when he notched his eighth shutout of the season for the Bruins with a 4–0 victory over the Lightning. Rask, whose high for shutouts in any previous NHL season was seven (in 2013–14), is only the fourth goaltender in the last 60 years to record eight or more shutouts in one season for the Bruins. The others are Pete Peeters in 1982–83 (8), Byron Dafoe in 1998–99 (10) and Tim Thomas in 2010–11 (9).
Moore scores winner in overtime
John Moore scored a goal 59 seconds into overtime to earn the Devils a 1–0 win against the Flyers in Newark. It was the fourth overtime goal of the veteran defenseman’s NHL career, with all of those OT goals coming during his two seasons with New Jersey (three in 2015–16 and the one in Tuesday’s game). Moore is tied with Brent Burns and Shayne Gostisbehere for the most overtime goals over the last two seasons by an NHL defenseman.
Shattenkirk scores winner on power play
Kevin Shattenkirk’s one-timer blast on the power play proved to be the eventual game-winner in Washington’s 4–1 victory in Toronto on Tuesday. It was the defenseman’s first goal in 16 games with Capitals, after scoring 11 goals, including seven on the power play, for St. Louis earlier this season. Shattenkirk’s power play goal was his 32nd in the last six seasons, which ranks him third over that span among NHL defensemen, behind Shea Weber (56) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (40).
Ageless Anderson blanks Detroit
Ottawa’s Craig Anderson posted his fifth shutout of the season with a 2–0 win against the Red Wings on Tuesday. It was the 38th shutout for Anderson in his NHL career, and his 22nd regular-season clean sheet since he turned 30 years old in May 2011. The only other active NHL goaltenders with 20 or more shutouts at age 30 or older are Roberto Luongo (28) and Ryan Miller (22).
Two more goals for Laine
Patrik Laine, who had scored only two goals in his last 12 games entering play on Tuesday, tallied twice to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5–2 victory in St. Louis. Laine leads NHL rookies with seven multiple-goal games this season, a total matched or exceeded by only two other rookies since 1994–95: Alex Ovechkin in 2005 –06 (nine multi-goal games) and Artemi Panarin in 2015–16 (seven).
Niederreiter scores two goals
Nino Niederreiter scored two goals for the Wild in its 5–3 win versus the Hurricanes. Niederreiter has scored 15 goals in the 47 games he’s played since the NHL’s Christmas break, but he’s recorded as many two-goal games (five) as one-goal games (five) over that span. Minnesota has won each of the last 13 games in Niederreiter scored at least one goal, dating back to November 25.