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JAMES AND PIERCE TOP 40 POINTS
LeBron James (45 points) and Paul Pierce (41) became only the second pair of opposing players to each score at least 40 points in the seventh game of an NBA playoff series. Sam Jones (47) and Oscar Robertson (43) did in Boston's 142-131 win over the Cincinnati Royals in the decisive game of the 1963 Eastern Division Finals.
CELTICS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HOME COURT
The Celtics have won two straight series (over the Hawks and Cavaliers) in which the home team won every game. Before this year there had been 18 seven-game playoff series in NBA history in which the home team won every game (most recently Miami over New Orleans in 2004), but there was only one playoff year with two such series (Portland over San Antonio and Detroit over Chicago in 1990).
DUNN MATCHES LONGEST RBI STREAK IN MLB THIS SEASON
Adam Dunn homered for a fourth straight game and extended his RBI streak to seven games, matching the major-league high this season. (Casey Kotchman, David Ortiz and Chase Utley also had RBIs in each of seven consecutive games.) Dunn is the first player to drive in runs in seven straight games for the Reds since Jose Guillen in 2003 (7 games, April 30-May 6) .
REDS SWEEP HOMESTAND
The Reds' triumph over the Indians capped a perfect six-game homestand, their first undefeated homestand of at least six games since August 1995 (vs. the Mets and Phillies). There are six major-league teams that haven't gone 6-0 or better on a homestand since the last time Cincinnati did it: the Cubs, Royals, White Sox, Mariners, Phillies and Rays (since 1998) .
CARDINALS END JACKSON'S STREAK OF SHUTOUT INNINGS
St. Louis began its comeback against Tampa Bay in the sixth inning, ending Edwin Jackson's streak of 20 consecutive shutout innings, the longest for any starting pitcher in Rays franchise history. The only starters to fashion a longer scoreless innings streak this season than Jackson are Cliff Lee (27 innings) and John Lannan (21 innings) .
SCHUMAKER'S THIRD WALKOFF HIT OF THE SEASON
Skip Schumaker's game-ending RBI-double gave the Cardinals a 5-4 victory on Sunday, their second straight walkoff win against the Rays in as many days. It was Schumaker's third game-ending hit this season. The only other player in the majors with more than one is Rickie Weeks (two). Over the past eight years, the only player to win three games with walkoff RBIs this early in a season was Joe Crede in 2004.
THOMAS' HOME-RUN DROUGHT IS LONGEST SINCE REGGIE
Frank Thomas, who struck out as a pinch-hitter in the A's 5-2 loss in Atlanta, hasn't homered in 102 at-bats since he went deep in three straight games for the Blue Jays (April 5-8, capped by career HR #516). Thomas' homerless streak is the longest by a standing member of the 500-HR club since 1986, when Reggie Jackson, then of the Angels, had 130 at-bats between career home runs #537 and #538. Reggie's drought ended on July 11, 1986, when he homered twice off Tom Seaver at Fenway Park.
A WEEKEND FOR HOME RUNS
There were 38 home runs hit throughout the major leagues on Sunday (in 15 games), the most on any day this season. The previous season high of 35 was set on Saturday (in 16 games). Last season, there were 19 days on which there were at least 38 homers, but it happened only once this early in the year (before May 19).
ELLSBURY FINALLY CAUGHT
Jacoby Ellsbury was caught stealing for the first time in 26 career attempts when he was gunned down by Jason Kendall. Since 1951, the first year in which both leagues kept track of "caught stealing," only two other players began their career with 25 or more stolen bases before being caught for the first time: Tim Raines (successful on his first 27 attempts) and Mitchell Page (26).
BERKMAN AND PENCE CONTINUE HITTING STREAKS
Lance Berkman (17 games) and Hunter Pence (16) extended their hitting streaks on Sunday in the Astros' 54 win over the Rangers. Berkman and Pence are the first Houston teammates with simultaneous hitting streaks of more than 15 games since Berkman (21 games) and Moises Alou (16) did it in 2001.
WHAT A YEAR FOR BRAUN
Ryan Braun hit a pair of homers to increase his career total to 47, one week shy of the anniversary of his first game in the majors (May 25, 2007). Braun, who had already set the mark for most homers within one year of a player's major-league debut, is distancing himself from the pack. The next-highest totals belong to Chuck Klein (42) and Mark McGwire (42) .
GREINKE STINGY IN EVERY START THIS SEASON
Zach Greinke improved his record to 51 by beating the Marlins on Sunday. Greinke hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his nine starts this year, the longest such streak to begin a season by a Kansas City pitcher since 1992, when Kevin Appier set a Royals record by doing it in his first 12 starts.
BECKETT WINS FENWAY SLUGFEST
The Red Sox slugged their way to an 11-7 win over the Brewers as Josh Beckett became the first Red Sox pitcher since Jose Santiago (May 14, 1967) to win a game at Fenway Park despite allowing four home runs. It was the sixth game in Fenway's history (and the second in the last 20 years) in which both teams hit at least four home runs. Before Sunday, the last time was on Sept. 15, 1996, when Boston (4 HR) defeated Chicago (5 HR), 9-8.
JOHNSON AND BULLPEN SHUT OUT TIGERS
Randy Johnson pitched seven shutout innings and the Diamondbacks' bullpen took care of the rest in a 50 win over Tigers. Arizona pitchers have been charged with only two earned runs in 23 1/3 innings in relief of Johnson this season, the lowest bullpen ERA (0.77) for any pitcher in the majors who has started more than five games this season.
OSWALT OFF HIS GAME
What a difference a year makes. After 10 starts in 2007, Roy Oswalt was 6-2 with a 2.83 ERA and allowed six home runs. After 10 starts this year, Oswalt is 4-4 with a 5.43 ERA and has allowed 14 home runs.
SANTANA WINS DESPITE ALLOWING THREE HOME RUNS
Johan Santana was the winning pitcher for the Mets Saturday afternoon despite allowing three home runs. It was the tenth time that Santana allowed three-or-more home runs in a regular-season game, but only the second time that he got a win in such a game. The only other game was at Baltimore on August 24, 2007.
METS PLAY EIGHTH STRAIGHT GAME AGAINST A LAST-PLACE TEAM
The Mets played the last-place Yankees Saturday afternoon, their eighth consecutive game against a last-place club, matching the longest such streak in team history. They will break that record when they play the Yankees Sunday night. The Mets played eight straight games against last-place clubs in August 1982 (five games against the Cubs and three against the Reds).
WAINWRIGHT DENIED A WIN AGAIN
Adam Wainwright left Saturday's game against the Rays as the pitcher of decision on the winning side only to watch the Cardinals bullpen blow the lead. It's the fourth time this season that Wainwright watched the bullpen relinquish a lead and deny him a win. That's the most blown wins for any pitcher in the major leagues.
DICE K AND SONNY SIEBERT
Daisuke Matsuzaka improved his record to 7-0 and lowered his earned run average to 2.15 as the Red Sox beat the Brewers in the afternoon contest between the teams. Only one other pitcher in Red Sox history had a record of 7-0 or better with an ERA as low as Matsuzaka in his first nine starts of a season: Sonny Siebert in 1971 (7-0, 1.69 ERA in his first nine starts).
LACK OF RUN SUPPORT AND HIGH ERA EQUALS 0-8
Barry Zito took the loss for the Giants Saturday night and now stands at 0-8. While Zito's 6.25 earned run average suggests he has not pitched well this season, his teammates have not given him any support either. The Giants have scored only 13 runs in Zito's nine starts this season. Only three pitchers in the Division Era (since 1969) have received run support that poor in their first nine starts of a season: Milwaukee's Skip Lockwood in 1972 (10 runs in his first nine starts), Montreal's Dennis Blair in 1975 (10) and Montreal Tomo Ohka in 2004 (13).
The Giants have scored no more than two runs in seven of Zito's nine starts this season.
SORIANO STAYS HOT
Alfonso Soriano went 5-for-5 with two home runs and three runs batted in for the Cubs Saturday afternoon. Soriano now has 15 hits, seven home runs and 13 RBI over the last six games. Since 1930, only two other players reached those levels over a six-game span: Carlos Delgado in August 1999 (15 hits, 8 HR, 13 RBI) and Shawn Green in 2002 (16 hits, 9 HR, 17 RBI).
HERNANDEZ PERFECT THROUGH FIVE INNINGS
Livan Hernandez was perfect through five innings until Jeff Baker led off the sixth inning with a double. It was the second time in his career that Hernandez retired the first 15-or-more batters in a game. Hernandez retired the first 17 batters for the Expos against the Marlins on July 25, 2004. That perfecto was ended with a walk to Josh Willingham.
BARAJAS HAS BIG GAME FOR JAYS
Rod Barajas hit two home runs and knocked in five runs for Toronto in its 6-3 win in Philadelphia. Barajas is the third Toronto catcher to reach those levels in a game. Ernie Whitt did it three times (twice in 1987 and once in 1988), Greg Myers (July 29, 2003) and Gregg Zaun (Sept. 13, 2006).
PENGUINS ANDVANCE WITH A ROMP
The Penguins wrapped up their series against the Flyers and earned a berth in the Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Flyers. It was the ninth time in NHL playoff history that team clinched a series with a shutout win by a six-goal (or greater) margin. It was the second such win in Penguins history. They won the Stanley Cup in 1991 with an 8-0 victory over the North Stars in Game 6 at Minnesota.
TURCO JOINS ROY AND MCLEAN
Marty Turco was the winning goaltender and had an assist on Joel Lundqvist's game-winning goal Saturday afternoon as the Stars beat the Wings to stay alive in the Western Conference Finals. Only two other goaltenders had an assist on a game-winning goal and a win in a game in which his team faced playoff elimination: Kirk McLean for Vancouver vs. Winnipeg in 1992 and Patrick Roy for Colorado vs. Los Angeles in 2002.
STARS FORCE A GAME SIX
The Stars beat the Red Wings Saturday afternoon to force a Game Six in the Western Conference Finals. Prior to the 2008 Conference Finals, there were 153 best-of-seven playoff series in NHL history in which one team won the first three games of the series. In only 12 of them, did the series reach a sixth game (8%). If the Flyers beat the Penguins Sunday afternoon, it will be third time in the 2008 playoffs in which a team forced a sixth game in a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games (San Jose also did it against Dallas). No other playoff year had more than two such series.