Elias Says: April 7, 2017

Nava once again off to a fast start, hits two homers in Phillies debut

In his Phillies debut, Daniel Nava hit a home run in each of his first two plate appearances in a loss to the Reds. Nava hit a grand slam in his first plate appearance with the Red Sox on June 12, 2010 against the Phillies, in what was his major-league debut. In the expansion era (since 1961), only three other players homered in their first MLB plate appearance and their first plate appearance with a different team later in their career: John Kennedy (1962 Senators and 1970 Red Sox), Miguel Olivo (2002 White Sox and 2005 Padres), and Hector Luna (2004 Cardinals and 2012 Phillies).

Nava is the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to homer in his first plate appearance in the majors and later homer in his first plate appearance for the team against which he homered in his first plate appearance.

Pitcher Lorenzen hits pinch-hit homer

Relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and delivered a game-winning solo home run in Cincinnati’s 7-4 win over the Phillies. Over the last 30 seasons (since 1988), only one other pitcher has connected on a pinch-hit, game-winning home run: Brooks Kieschnick of the Brewers on June 25, 2003 in the 10th inning at Wrigley Field.

Springer finishes strong one day, starts strong the next

George Springer led off the bottom of the first with a homer in the Astros’ loss to the Mariners, just a day after hitting a walk-off dinger. Springer is the first player to hit a walk-off homer followed by a leadoff home run in the following game since Scott Hairston did so for the Padres on August 3 and 4, 2007 versus the Giants. And Springer is the first player in major-league history to do this in back-to-back games in the month of April.

Soto is seventh player with multi-homer game for both the Cubs and White Sox

Geovany Soto homered twice as the White Sox routed the Tigers, 11-2. Soto had three multi-homer games as a member of the Cubs, with all three coming against the Brewers (in April 2008, June 2010, and September 2011). He is the seventh player in MLB history with a multi-homer game for both the Cubs and White Sox, joining Ron Santo (25 such games for the Cubs, one with the White Sox), Jay Johnstone (one with Cubs, two with White Sox), Vance Law (two and one), George Bell (one and two), Darrin Jackson (one and one), and Sammy Sosa (65 and one).

Nats cannot hold late lead

With the Marlins down by one run in the top of the ninth inning, Tyler Moore came through with a two-out, game-tying single in a contest Miami ultimately won in extra innings over Washington, 4-3, at Nationals Park. Entering Thursday, the Nationals had won each of their last 95 home games in which they led entering the ninth inning, the longest active streak of this type in the majors. The Padres now own the longest current streak, having won each of their last 86 home games in which they led entering the ninth, dating back to July 2014.

Flores continues success against southpaws

Wilmer Flores’ two-run home run off lefthander Jaime Garcia gave the Mets a three-run cushion on their way to a 6-2 win over the Braves. Flores hit 11 home runs in 100 at-bats against lefties last season (one per 9.1 at-bats); that was the highest home run rate versus southpaws in 2016 (minimum 100 at-bats). Nelson Cruz was next on the list, with 19 homers in 191 at-bats (one per 10.1).

Kemp hits two out against Harvey

Matt Kemp hit a pair of home runs off Matt Harvey in the Braves’ loss to the Mets on Thursday. Kemp is 3-for- 9 (.333) against Harvey in his career, with all three hits being home runs. No other player has as many as three home runs off Harvey since he made his MLB debut in 2012.

Puig and company crush the Padres

Yasiel Puig homered twice as the Dodgers cruised to a 10-2 victory over the Padres. That is the second multi-homer game of Puig’s career, also doing so versus San Diego on June 4, 2013. Over the last 40 years, two other Dodgers had their first two multi-homer games of their major-league careers come against the same team: Matt Kemp versus the Rockies (2006 and 2009) and A.J. Ellis against the Cubs (2012 and 2014).

Morales finds success with the bases loaded

Kendrys Morales blasted a grand slam off the Rays’ Blake Snell in the Jays’ 5-2 victory on Thursday. Since the start of the 2010 season, Morales is batting .435 (20-for-46) with the bases loaded, tied with Yoenis Cespedes and Ryan Hanigan for the third-highest batting average in that situation over that span (minimum 30 at-bats). The top two: Matt Carpenter (.567, 17-for-30) and Josh Donaldson (.441, 26-for-59).

Senzatela stars in MLB debut

Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela, making his major-league debut, tossed five scoreless innings in Colorado’s 2-1 win over the Brewers on Thursday. Over the last 15 years, only one other Rockies pitcher had an outing of at least five innings pitched with no runs allowed in his MLB debut: Drew Pomeranz on September 11, 2011 against the Reds. Among the 41 starting pitchers who made their major-league debut last season, only one had a start of this variety in his debut: Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers at San Diego in early April, with six scoreless innings.

Schwarber strikes early in the count

Kyle Schwarber turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead, hitting a three-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil, and the Cubs went on to defeat St. Louis, 6-4. Five of Schwarber’s 17 home runs in the majors have come on the first pitch of an at-bat, including each of his last four dingers (two off Alec Asher on September 11, 2015, one off Jerad Eickhoff the following day, and his homer off Cecil on Thursday).

Twins sweep Royals

Jason Castro hit a game-winning double and scored two runs as the Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Royals at Target Field. Minnesota allowed just five runs over the three games: one in each of the first two games and three on Thursday. Over the last seven seasons (since 2011), the only other series sweep of at least three games in which the Twins allowed five-or-fewer runs was from April 11 to 13, 2014 at Target Field. Their opponent in that series was also the Royals (allowed five runs, with the same sequence of one run allowed in each in the first two games and three in the third).

Healy delivers in the big moment

Ryon Healy hit a two-out, two-run home run to give the A’s a 4-1 lead in a game they ultimately won against the Angels, 5-1. In 2016 as a rookie, Healy hit .327 (16-for-49) with two outs and at least one runner on base. He was one of four Athletics players to hit over .300 in that situation last season (minimum 20 at-bats); Coco Crisp (.353, 18-for-51), Billy Butler (.333, 14-for-42), and Josh Reddick (.333, 12-for-36) were the others.

D'Backs putting up the runs to start 2017

Jake Lamb drove in three of the Diamondbacks’ nine runs in their win over the Giants on Thursday. Arizona improved to 3-1 on the season, with the offense supplying 27 runs over those four games. That is the most runs the Diamondbacks have ever scored over their first four games of a season, passing their previous high of 26 in the 2005 season.

Thomas with another 30-point game

Isaiah Thomas scored 35 points in the Celtics’ loss to the Hawks on Thursday, his 30th game with at least 30 points this season. The only other Celtics player with that many games of this type in a single season over the last 25 years was Paul Pierce in the 2001-02 campaign (33 such games). Larry Bird has the franchise record for 30-point games in a season, with 39 in 1987-88.

Butler joins Jordan with his triple-double in Bulls’ win

Jimmy Butler had 19 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds while going 9-for-9 from the free-throw line in the Bulls’ win over the 76ers on Thursday. Butler is the second Bulls player with a triple-double and a perfect night from the free-throw line (minimum nine attempts). Michael Jordan did so on April 9, 1989 at Atlanta, with 40 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, and 14-for-14 from the free-throw line.

Wizards win seventh in a row at MSG

Bradley Beal led all scorers with 25 points as the Wizards extended their winning streak at Madison Square Garden to seven games, defeating the Knicks, 106-103. That is their longest road winning streak versus New York in franchise history, and it is tied for the longest current winning streak for any team at Madison Square Garden. The Cavs and Rockets have also won each of their last seven games at New York.

Meeks on fire in the second half

Jodie Meeks scored 20 points, with all coming in the second half (including 18 in the third quarter), as the Magic defeated the Nets, 115-107. It’s been just over nine years since the last time a Magic player scored at least 20 points in the second half after failing to score any points in the first half. Rashard Lewis did so, scoring 21 second-half points on March 17, 2008 in an Orlando win over LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Pacers ‘steal’ win from the Bucks

The Pacers had 15 steals, led by five from Monta Ellis and four from Paul George, in a huge win over the Bucks. That is the third game this season in which Indiana had at least 15 steals; only the Bucks and Wizards have more games of this type in the 2016-17 campaign (each with four). The Pacers had six games of this type last season, third most in the NBA behind the Rockets (10) and Hawks (seven).

Zucker scores 10 seconds into game for the second time

Jason Zucker tied his own Minnesota franchise record for the fastest goal from the start of a game when he scored 10 seconds after the opening faceoff in the Wild’s game against the Avalanche in Denver. Zucker, who has spent all six seasons of his NHL career with the Wild, set the club record when he scored 10 seconds into a game at Winnipeg on Oct. 25, 2015. In the NHL’s “modern era” (i.e., since 1943–44), the only other players who have scored within the first 10 seconds of two different games are Montreal’s Bobby Rousseau (once each in 1962–63 and 1965-66) and Yvan Cournoyer (both in 1973–74).

Nearly entire Penguins lineup gets a point

The Penguins tied a franchise record when 16 different players produced at least one point for them as they beat the Devils, 7–4, in Newark. To save time and space in today’s edition of “Elias Says” we’ll tell you that the only Pittsburgh players who participated in Thursday’s game and didn’t tally at least one point were defensemen Ian Cole and Trevor Daley, and goaltender Matt Murray. The only other Penguins games in which they had 16 different players register a goal or an assist (or both) were both 10–2 wins on home ice: versus San Jose on Dec. 17, 1991 and Hartford on April 1, 1993.

Hat trick comes naturally to Lucic

Milan Lucic scored three consecutive third-period goals, with no other player on either team scoring in between, to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 Oilers’ lead in a game Edmonton went on to win over the Sharks on Thursday. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, two other players scored three third-period goals in a row to turn a deficit into a lead: Kyle Okposo of the Islanders on January 16, 2015 in a 6-3 win over the Penguins and the Senators’ Mika Zibanejad on February 27, 2016 in a 6-4 win at Calgary.

Hedman dishes out three assists in Lightning win

Victor Hedman notched his fifth three-assist game of the season in the Lightning’s 4–1 win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Hedman has tied the record for most games with three or more assists in one season by a Tampa Bay player, a mark set by Brad Richards in 2005–06. He has also tied Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom for the most three-assist games this season by an NHL player. Hedman is the first NHL defenseman to produce at least five such games in one season since Brian Campbell had five for the Panthers in 2011–12.

Anderson gets fourth win against Bruins this season

Ottawa’s Craig Anderson made 28 saves as he recorded a 2–1 shootout win over the Bruins in Boston, which clinched a playoff spot for the Senators. Ottawa won all four games of its season series against the Bruins and Anderson was in goal for all of those victories, holding Boston to one or two goals in each game. He is the third goaltender in Senators franchise history to beat the Bruins as many as four times in one season, following Ray Emery in 2006–07 (4–2–0 in six games) and Martin Gerber in 2007–08 (4–4–0 in eight games). Since 2008–09, only three goaltenders besides Anderson have faced the Bruins at least four times in one season and won every game: Carolina’s Cam Ward in 2011–12 (4–0–0), Montreal’s Carey Price in 2014–15 (4–0–0) and Toronto’s Frederik Andersen this season (4–0–0).

Gibson records sixth shutout of the season

John Gibson made 37 saves in a Ducks’ shutout win over the Blackhawks, 4-0. Gibson, who turns 24 years old in July, has six shutouts this season. Over the last 20 years, three other goalies had at least six shutouts in a season at 23 years old or younger: Roberto Luongo in 2002-03 (six), Steve Mason in 2008-09 (10), and Carey Price in 2010-11 (eight).

Blues fight back in win over Panthers

The Blues posted their 13th win in their last 17 games with a 6–3 victory over the Panthers in Florida. The Blues took a one-goal lead three times (1–0, 2–1 and 3–2) only to have the Panthers level the score each time (1–1, 2–2 and 3–3), but Patrik Berglund’s tiebreaking goal in the middle of the third period put St. Louis ahead to stay. This was the first time that the Blues scored four go-ahead goals in a game they won in regulation time since their 6–5 victory against the Flames on April 5, 2000 in St. Louis. The Blues’ tiebreaking goals in that game were scored by Pierre Turgeon, Chris Pronger, Turgeon again, and Scott Pellerin.

Halak heating up down the stretch

Jaroslav Halak extended his winning streak to four games, a season high by an Islanders goaltender, with a 3–0 shutout against the Hurricanes in Raleigh. Halak was 6–8–5 with a 3.23 GAA in 21 games this season when the Islanders demoted him to their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport on December 31. In the six games he has played since his recall from the minors in late March, Halak has posted a 5–1–0 record and 1.51 GAA while giving up nine goals.

Trouba scores two on the power play

Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba recorded the third two-goal game of his NHL career by scoring a pair of power play goals in Winnipeg’s 5–4 victory against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. Trouba, who had scored only one power play goal in his four seasons in the NHL entering play on Thursday, is only the second defenseman to score two power play goals in one game for the Jets since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg in 2011. The other one, of course, is Dustin Byfuglien, who’s done so twice, most recently in a Jets loss to the Blackhawks on March 29, 2015.

Arvidsson’s the offensive threat in Preds’ win

Viktor Arvidsson produced the first four-point game of his NHL career when he tallied two goals and two assists in the Predators’ 7–3 win at Dallas. He is the first Predators player to register four points in one game since Filip Forsberg did so in a 5–0 win against the Blues in Nashville on Feb. 27, 2016 (three goals, one assist). Arvidsson is the first Nashville player to have a four-point game on the road since the team’s final game of the 2013–14 season, when Craig Smith (who scored two goals in Thursday’s win over the Stars) notched two goals and two assists in a 7–3 win at Minnesota.

Hoffman holds the early lead at the Masters

Charley Hoffman sits atop the leaderboard by four strokes after the opening round of the 2017 Masters. Hoffmann, who is making his 23rd start in a major, is looking for his first major victory. Hoffman is the ninth golfer who was looking for their first major victory to hold a lead of more than two strokes after the opening round of a Masters. Of the previous eight, four went on to win the green jacket that year: Jordan Speith (2015), Charles Coody (1971), Craig Wood (1941) and Byron Nelson (1937).