Elias Says: May 15, 2017

Warriors make historic comeback to win Game 1

The Warriors rallied from a 64–44 deficit after two quarters to defeat the Spurs, 113–111 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. That tied the third-largest halftime deficit overcome in a playoff win in NBA history. The largest was 25 points, by the Cavaliers at Indiana in this year’s first round. The Baltimore Bullets came back from 21 down at the half to beat the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1948 Finals. And the Celtics rallied from a 20-point deficit at the intermission to beat the Nets in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals.

Since joining the NBA in 1976, the Spurs had been 15–0 in the playoffs and are 153–1 in the regular season after leading by 20-or-more points at halftime. Their only previous loss came on Feb. 15, 1988, in a home game against Golden State under head coach Bob Weiss.

Warriors’ two former MVPs combine for 74 points

Stephen Curry scored 40 points and Kevin Durant added 34 in the Warriors’ Game 1 home win over the Spurs. Their 74 combined points were the most by any Warriors duo in a playoff game since Sleepy Floyd scored 51 (including a playoff-record 29 in the fourth quarter) and Joe Barry Carroll added 23 in a second-round win over the Lakers in 1987.

Ducks complete fourth multi-goal comeback

Sami Vatanen, Jakob Silfverberg, Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie and Antoine Vermette scored the goals for the Ducks as they overcame a 2–0 deficit and recorded a series-tying 5–3 win over the Predators in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. This is the fourth time that the Ducks have overcome a deficit of two goals or more to win a game in the 2017 playoffs, having previously done so in Game 3 of their first-round series versus Calgary and in Games 4 and 5 of their second-round matchup against Edmonton. Before this year the Ducks had won only two playoff games in which they faced a multiple-goal deficit: at Vancouver in 2007 (Game 4) and at Dallas in 2014 (a series-clinching win in Game 6). Anaheim is the sixth NHL team to register at least four multi-goal comeback victories in one playoff year. The others are the Canadiens in 1973 (4) and 1979 (4), the Blues in 1986 (4), the Flyers in 1987 (5) and the Kings in 2014.

This was the first time in franchise history that the Ducks won a postseason game in regulation time after trailing by two goals or more and it was the first such win by any NHL team in this year’s playoffs.

Trout is the youngest to reach 150/150

Mike Trout hit a home run in the first inning, the 179th of his career, and later stole his 149th and 150th bases in the Angels’ 4–1 home win over the Tigers. At age 25, Trout is the youngest player in major-league history to reach 150 homers and 150 stolen bases. Until Sunday, that distinction belonged to Alex Rodriguez, who was 26 when he reached those milestones in 2001.

Kipnis finds his power stroke from the leadoff slot

Jason Kipnis, making his first start of the season as a leadoff batter, hit his first two home runs of 2017 in the Indians’ 8–3 win over the visiting Twins. The last Cleveland player to homer twice in his first start of a season at the top of the lineup was Al Rosen, against the Tigers on Sept. 25, 1953. Rosen led the American League that year with 43 home runs and 145 RBIs, and won the league’s MVP award.

Astros launch historic homer barrage in the first inning

George Springer and Josh Reddick led off with back-to-back home runs, and then six batters later Alex Bregman homered with the bases loaded in the Astros’ 10–7 win in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Houston is the first team in major-league history to start a game with two consecutive home runs, and then hit a grand slam later in the first inning.

Springer then opened the second inning with another home run. He’s the fourth player in baseball’s expansion era (since 1961) to hit home runs to lead off each of the first two innings of a game, joining the Tigers’ Chad Curtis (1995 vs. White Sox), the Giants’ Stan Javier (1999 vs. Padres), and the Orioles’ Manny Machado (2015 vs. Phillies.)

Yankees win Game 1 by “only” five runs

The Yankees belted five doubles, one triple, and three home runs in an 11–6 win in the opener of their doubleheader with the Astros Sunday. All nine of Houston’s hits were singles. It was the 12th time that the Yankees finished a game with at least nine more extra-base hits than their opponents. New York won the previous 11 games by at least eight runs, by an average score of 16–2.

Molina homers twice against rivals

Yadier Molina hit two home runs in the Cardinals’ 5–0 home win over the Cubs. It was Molina’s third career multi-homer game, and his second against Chicago; the previous was at Wrigley Field in August 2011. The only other Cardinals catchers ever to hit two home runs in one game against their rivals to the north are Hal Smith (1959), Carl Sawatski (1962), and Darrell Porter (1982.)

White Sox benefit from wildness in big eighth inning

The White Sox drew five walks and were hit by one pitch in their eight-run eighth inning as Chicago beat San Diego, 9–3. It was just the second time in the last 50 years that the White Sox reached base as many as six times in one inning via walk or hit-by-pitch. The other was in April 2002 at Kansas City. Chicago hadn’t scored as many runs in as late an inning since putting a nine-spot on the board against the Tigers in the eighth inning in April 2003.

Another long game in Boston

Corey Dickerson had four hits, including two in the ninth inning, of the Rays’ 11–2 win at Boston, a game played in four hours, 32 minutes. It was the fifth nine-inning game in major-league history to go at least four-and-one-half hours, and three of those have taken place at Fenway Park. It won’t surprise most baseball fans to learn that the Yankees were visitors in the other two, in 2006 and 2007.

Valaika is the third different Rockies shortstop to homer twice in a game since 2015

Pat Valaika, filling in for the injured Trevor Story, hit two home runs in the Rockies’ 9–6 win over the visiting Dodgers. A different Colorado shortstop has hit multiple homers in a game in each of the last three seasons – Troy Tulowitzki did that once in 2015 and Story then did it four times in 2016. No other team has had a multi-homer game by a shortstop, no less by three different shortstops, in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Rookie Osuna hits game-winning homer in the 10th

Jose Osuna’s 10th-inning two-run home run provided the winning margin in the Pirates’ 6–4 win at Arizona. Osuna, who entered the game as part of a double-switch in the seventh inning, is the first Pittsburgh rookie to hit a game-winning, extra-inning home run in a game he did not start since Harry Bright, against the Giants on June 8, 1959.

Phillies rally in ninth to win

Ty Kelly’s RBI single capped a three-run ninth-inning rally as the Phillies overcame a 3–1 deficit to beat the Nationals, 4–3 in the first game of their day/night doubleheader. Philadelphia hadn’t overcome a multi-run final-inning deficit to win a nine-inning road game since April 24, 2009 against the Marlins.

Nats get revenge in the nightcap

Michael Taylor’s two-run home run in the eighth inning helped the Nationals overcome a one-run deficit to defeat the Phillies 6–5 in the second game of the day between the two clubs. The last time that two teams played two games in a day against one another and each team overcame a deficit in the eighth inning or later to win was in September 1998, when the Mets and Astros exchanged late comeback victories in a doubleheader in Houston.

Leadoff batter Pillar hits game-ending home run

Kevin Pillar’s home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Blue Jays a 3–2 win over the Mariners. Pillar is the first Toronto player to hit a walkoff homer after starting the game in the leadoff slot since Reed Johnson, against the Red Sox in May 2005.

Moore’s pinch-hit homer is the difference for Marlins

Tyler Moore came off the bench to hit a two-out, three-run home run in the seventh inning of the Marlins’ 3–1 home win over the Braves. In the 19 seasons that the franchise was known as the Florida Marlins (1993–2011), the team hit 20 pinch-hit, game-winning home runs in the seventh inning or later. But Moore’s homer was just the second of that type since the team relocated to the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami in 2012. The first was by Logan Morrison against the Cardinals in June 2012.

Butera scores three runs for the first time

Drew Butera scored a career-high three runs in the Royals’ 9–8 home win over the Orioles. Entering Sunday, Butera’s total of 273 starts was the fourth-highest by any active or disabled position player who had never scored three runs in one game, behind Adeiny Hechavarria (611), Eric Sogard (350), and Rene Rivera (349.)

Brewers overcome big late deficit to win

Manny Pina’s eighth-inning home run put the Brewers ahead for good as Milwaukee rallied from a 7–1 sixth inning deficit to beat the Mets, 11–9 at Miller Park. The Brewers hadn’t won a game after trailing by at least six runs in the sixth inning or later since July 2, 2011 at Minnesota.

Giants score early and often

The Giants scored four runs in the first inning and three more in the second of their 8–3 home win over the Reds. San Francisco hadn’t scored at least three runs in each of the first two innings of a game since a 19–3 road victory over the Dodgers in September 2013. The last time the Giants did that against Cincinnati was at Candlestick Park in June 1988.

Rangers win despite three-homer deficit

The Rangers, who didn’t hit a home run, overcame homers by Trevor Plouffe, Adam Rosales, and Matt Joyce to defeat the Athletics, 6–4. Entering Sunday, Texas had lost 33 of 34 games over the last five seasons in which it allowed at least three more home runs than it hit.