Special to ESPN.com
HORNETS TAG SPURS WITH A THIRD BLOWOUT DEFEAT
The Hornets defeated the Spurs, 101-79, to take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series. The Hornets have defeated the Spurs by margins of 19, 18, and 22 points. Over the last 12 seasons, only one team defeated San Antonio by at least 18 points even twice in the same playoff series: the Lakers, with wins by 39 and 29 points in the 2001 Western Conference Finals.
PISTONS KEEP MISTAKES TO A MINIMUM
The Pistons set an NBA playoff record by committing only three turnovers (all in the first period). The previous low was four, done twice-both times by the Pistons. Detroit previously committed four turnovers in Game 4 of the 2005 NBA Finals against the Spurs and in 1991 against the Celtics. (Turnovers have been compiled since the 1970-1971 season.)
HAMILTON LEADS THE WAY AGAIN
With Chauncey Billups sidelined for a second consecutive game with a strained right hamstring, Richard Hamilton scored 31 points. On Sunday, Hamilton became the first Pistons player to score at least 30 points in a playoff game since he scored 33 in Game 6 of the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals-the game in which Detroit was eliminated by Miami. The last Pistons player to record consecutive 30-point playoff games was Billups in 2003.
PISTONS CLOSE OUT THE MAGIC AT HOME
The Pistons eliminated the Magic with a 91-86 win at Detroit. The Pistons have won 17 of their last 19 home games with a chance to clinch a playoff series, dating back to 1988.
BERKMAN'S 26-FOR-40 STREAK IS UNSURPASSED
Lance Berkman went 1-for-3 in the Astros' 4-2 loss at San Francisco, giving him 26 hits over his last 40 at-bats. That equals the most hits over a span of 40 ABs by any player during the expansion era. The only other players to go 26-for-40 during that time were Rod Carew (1977), Pete Rose (1979), Kenny Lofton (1997), and Hal Morris (1998).
VOLQUEZ EXTENDS HIS HISTORIC RUN
Edinson Volquez allowed one run in six innings in the Reds' 5-3 win over the Marlins, tying a major-league record by allowing fewer than two earned runs in each of his first eight starts in a season. Only three other pitchers have done that-including just one in the live-ball era: Mike Norris of the A's in 1980. The others were Dana Fillingim (1918 Boston Braves) and Dutch Leonard (1914 Red Sox). Earned runs have been recorded officially since 1912 in the National League, since 1913 in the American League.
JONES BOOSTS BATTING AVERAGE TO .415
Chipper Jones went 3-for-4 in the Braves' 5-4 loss at Philadelphia, raising his batting average to .415 over the Braves' first 38 games. The last Braves player to maintain a batting average in the .400s through 38 games was Ralph Garr, who fell to exactly .400 in Game 39 in 1971, and then below .400 after that.
BRAUN JOINS CANSECO IN SELECT CLUB
Ryan Braun followed his consecutive two-homer games with a double and triple in the Brewers' 5-3 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Only one other reigning Rookie of the Year ever recorded two or more extra-base hits in three consecutive games: Jose Canseco in 1987.
PUJOLS IS FIRST SINCE STAN THE MAN
Albert Pujols extended his reaching-base streak to 40 games in the Cardinals' 8-4 loss to the Pirates. Pujols, who recorded a 48-game streak in 2001, is the first Cardinals player since Stan Musial to post two single-season streaks of 40 or more games. Stan the Man had a 55-game streak in 1943 and a 40-game streak in 1952
BROTHERS START IN SAME INFIELD
Edgar Gonzalez made his major-league debut for the Padres on Tuesday night, starting at third base, across the diamond from his brother, Adrian. Over the last 30 years, only three other pairs of brothers started in the same infield: Cal and Billy Ripken (439 times, 1987-1996 Orioles), Aaron and Bret Boone (47 times, 1997-1998 Reds), and Barry and Stephen Larkin (once, for the Reds, on Sept. 27, 1998).
JOHNSON 287TH WIN IS FIVE-AND-FLY
Randy Johnson pitched five innings to earn his 287th career victory in the Diamondbacks' 8-4 win over the Rockies. It was only the 10th victory of Johnson's career in which he didn't get off his stool for the sixth round.
FLORIDIANS, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
Floridians may not have a say in the Democratic presidential nomination, but they can be a proud bunch today. It's only the second time that the Marlins and Rays are in sole possession of first place at the same time. The first time lasted for only a day, early in the 2004 season, when the Rays had a 3-1 record and the Marlins had a 3-2 mark. (Tampa Bay and Florida currently have identical 23-16 records.)
YANKEES HELD SCORELESS THROUGH 7 AGAIN
The Rays rebounded from a game-tying home run by Hideki Matsui in the ninth inning to defeat the Yankees, 2-1, in 11 innings. It was the second consecutive game in which the Yankees failed to score over the first seven innings. Over the last six seasons, only one other team held the Yankees scoreless through seven in two straight games: the Orioles last August (Daniel Cabrera and Erik Bedard).
HOWELL EARNS HIS 3RD STRAIGHT WIN
J.P. Howell pitched two innings to earn the victory for the Rays over the Yankees-and we do mean earn. It was the third consecutive outing in which Howell picked up a win by pitching at least two innings and not allowing a run. The last pitcher to do that was Mark Eichhorn in 1994.
ORIOLES POST ANOTHER BIG COMEBACK AGAINST THE RED SOX
The Orioles overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit to defeat the Red Sox, 5-4. It was the third time in their last eight meetings at Camden Yards that the O's beat the Sox after trailing by three or more runs.
INDIANS PITCH FOURTH SHUTOUT IN SEVEN GAMES
Paul Byrd allowed five hits over 7 1/3 innings in the Indians' 4-0 win over the A's. It was Cleveland's fourth shutout in seven games, something the Indians hadn't done in 40 years. In 1968, Luis Tiant (2), Steve Hargan, and Sonny Siebert pitched complete-game shutouts over a span of seven games from May 3-10.
STAIRS HOMERS AFTER ROLEN'S LONG AT-BAT
Baseball's version of rope-a-dope? How about Toronto's Scott Rolen's 15-pitch at-bat against Minnesota's Kevin Slowey, ending in a ground out to short. The next batter was Matt Stairs, who took ball one before belting an upper-deck home run. Rolen's at-bat was the second longest in the majors this season.
AND THEN THERE WERE TWO PERFECT CLOSERS
Mariano Rivera was the losing pitcher against the Rays, allowing his first run of 2008. That leaves only two closers who haven't allowed a run or blown a save this season: Joakim Soria (9-for-9), who closed out the Tigers in the Royals' 3-2 win on Tuesday night; and B.J. Ryan (6-for-6), who earned a save in the Blue Jays' victory at Minnesota.
UMBERGER AN UNLIKELY GOAL-SCORER
R.J. Umberger scored the Flyers' goal in the loss to the Penguins, his 10th of the 2008 playoffs after scoring only 13 goals during the regular season. The last player to reach double-figures in the playoffs after scoring as few as 13 regular-season goals was Jamie Langenbrunner in 1998-1999 (12 during the season, 10 in the playoffs).
PENGUINS GO 11-FOR-12 WITH WIN OVER FLYERS
The Penguins are the fourth team in NHL history to win 11 of their first 12 games in one playoff season. The others were the Canadiens in 1968 (12-1) and 1976 (12-1) and the Oilers in 1983 (11-1).
A PAIR OF ONE-SIDED CONFERENCE FINALS
The Penguins defeated the Flyers, 4-1, to take a 3-0 lead in their conference final series, just as the Red Wings did last night at Dallas. There have been only two other NHL postseasons in which both series leading to the Stanley Cup Finals started 3-0: Penguins over Bruins and Blackhawks over Oilers in 1992; and Rangers over Blackhawks and Bruins over Blues in 1972.