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BOOZER & THE MAILMAN
Carlos Boozer's 27-point, 20-rebound performance highlighted the Jazz's 104-99 victory over the Lakers and put his name alongside Karl Malone's in Utah's playoff record book. Malone is the only other player in franchise history to have a 25-point, 20-rebound game in the playoffs and he did it three times, most recently in 1997.
HOME TEAMS 11-0 IN 2ND ROUND OF NBA PLAYOFFS
Utah's victory over Los Angeles on Friday made home teams a perfect 11-for-11 in the second round of the NBA playoffs and lifted the home-team won-lost record during the 2008 playoffs to 41-14, a winning percentage of .745. You have to go back to 1990 before Michael Jordan had earned his first NBA championship ring to find the last time that home teams finished the NBA playoffs with as high a winning percentage; that year, home teams went 54-18 (.750).
I-ROD: 4K TB
Ivan Rodriguez contributed three hits, including a pair of doubles, to the Tigers' 6-5 victory over the Yankees. The three hits lifted his career total bases to 4,002. I-Rod is the 74th player in major league history to reach 4,000 total bases, but he's the first of them who has spent his career primarily as a catcher.
PAPELBON LOSES AGAIN
Jonathan Papelbon was the losing pitcher on Wednesday in Detroit when he allowed Placido Polanco's walkoff hit in the bottom of the ninth, and he lost Friday's game in Minneapolis when Mike Lamb's two-out, two-run single turned a one-run deficit into a Twins victory.
The Red Sox' closer is the first major leaguer this season to lose two consecutive appearances, both in walkoff fashion. The last major leaguer to do that was Milwaukee's Francisco Cordero last July.
SANCHEZ COMES THROUGH IN CLUTCH
Freddy Sanchez batted .344 two years ago, when he won the National League batting title, but he brought a .254 average into Friday's game vs. Atlanta. On Friday night, however, he knocked in all three of his team's runs with a two-out, two-run double in the seventh and a two-out walkoff hit in the ninth, leading the Pirates to a 3-2 win.
Even though his overall average is ordinary, Sanchez's two clutch hits raised his batting average with runners in scoring position to .400 (10-for-25); he has seven hits in his last 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
ANOTHER PITCHER DAMAGES D'BACKS WITH BAT
Ted Lilly won for the third time in his last four starts, in no small measure due to his game-tying, two-out RBI single in the fifth inning off Dan Haren. Alfonso Soriano followed with an RBI double, putting the Cubs ahead to stay in their 3-1 victory over Arizona.
Diamondbacks fans know all about good-hitting pitchers; after all, Phoenix is the home base of Micah Owings. But over the past fortnight, opposing pitchers have batted .333 (9-for-27) against the Diamondbacks; Arizona's pitchers, who have a collective .222 average this season, have batted .200 (5-for-25) over that two-week span.
BLAKE IS THE MAN vs. HALLADAY
Roy Halladay carried a 5-0 career record vs. Cleveland into Friday's game, but Casey Blake's bases-loaded double in the seventh inning ignited a six-run explosion as the Indians took a 6-1 decision. Blake, batting ninth in Eric Wedge's lineup, now has a .357 career average against the Toronto star, with five hits in 14 at-bats, including a homer and five RBIs.
SHIELDS & LONGORIA: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
James Shields threw a one-hit shutout and became the winning pitcher when Evan Longoria homered in the last of the ninth in the Rays' 2-0 win over the Angels. If you were lucky enough to watch that game, you're probably still buzzing, and for good reason.
It was only the fourth major league game since 1900 in which a walkoff home run had made a winner out of a pitcher who threw a complete-game shutout allowing no more than one hit! In 1911, Jimmy Archer's 10th-inning homer gave the Cubs a 1-0 win over Brooklyn, as King Cole threw a one-hitter; in 1952, Vic Wertz's ninth-inning homer provided the only run for the Tigers in a no-hitter by Virgil Trucks vs. Washington; and in 1975, the Padres' Johnny Grubb homered in the 10th to beat the Cardinals, 1-0, on a one-hitter by Randy Jones.
SHIELDS HAS 2 LOW-HIT SHUTOUTS THIS YEAR
James Shields shut out the Red Sox on two hits on April 27 and then blanked the Angels on one hit on Friday night. You have to go back 21 seasons to find the last major leaguer who, within his first eight starts of a season, had a pair of shutouts, allowing no more than one hit in one and no more than two hits in the other. The last pitcher to do that: Mike Scott with the Astros in 1987 (one-hit shutout vs. Dodgers, two-hit shutout vs. Expos).
Only two other American League pitchers have done that since the designated hitter was introduced 35 years ago: Cleveland's Rick Waits had a pair of early-season shutouts, a one-hitter and a two-hitter, in 1979, a year after Nolan Ryan had done the same thing for the Angels.
LaRUSSA & COX SUFFER WALKOFF LOSSES
Both Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox saw their teams suffer walkoff losses on Friday night - the first time since July 31, 1992 that both of those longtime managers had endured that fate on the same day. Back on that date in 1992, LaRussa's A's lost to Hal McRae's Royals in Kansas City and Cox's Braves were beaten in San Francisco by Roger Craig's Giants.
BERKMAN: 18 HITS IN LAST 6 GAMES
If you think Barack Obama had a good week, what about Lance Berkman? The Houston first baseman went 3-for-4 at Los Angeles on Friday night, leading the Astros to a 7-1 win over the Dodgers. That gave Berkman a total of 18 hits over his last six games, breaking the team record of 17 shared by Derek Bell (August 1997) and Julio Lugo (September 2000).
FRIDAY'S HOME RUN DROUGHT
Did you notice something missing from Friday's major-league games? There was a total of only 15 home runs hit in the 14 games, the lowest total of homers on any day on which at least 14 big-league games were played since before the 1994 players' strike. The last such day: June 1, 1994, when there were 14 homers hit in 14 games.
To gain an appreciation for how long ago that day was, here's the list of that day's homer hitters: Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, Larry Walker, Eric Karros, Pete Incaviglia, Tim Wallach, Tony Fernandez, Ed Sprague Jr., Danny Tartabull, Danny Bautista, Tim Hulett, Ryan Thompson, and Juan Bell.
BATTLE OF PA
The Penguins' 4-2 victory over the Flyers lifted their record in the 2008 playoffs to 9-1, matching the best record by any NHL team in its first 10 playoff games in one year. Ten other teams have started at 9-1, most recently the Lightning in 2004, and seven of those 10 have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
But the Flyers may have the Penguins right where they want them: this is the third straight series in which Philadelphia has dropped the opening game. The last team to lose three openers in one playoff year: Toronto in 1999.