Special to ESPN.com
HEAT-HAWKS... NOT EXACTLY CELTICS-BULLS, BUT A GAME 7 NONETHELESS
The Heat forced a Game Seven of its first-round series with the Hawks on the strength of-what else?-a lopsided 98-72 victory in Game Six. Through six games, the average margin of victory in the series is 20.2 points, with every game being decided by a double-digit margin.
The cumulative winning margins of the first six games-121 points-is the highest in the first six games of any playoff series in NBA history (whether or not a Game Seven was required). The previous record was set in a 1982 Celtics-76ers seven-game Conference Finals series, in which the cumulative winning margin of the first six games was 117 points.
BEASLEY BREAKS MAGIC's RECORD
Michael Beasley scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Heat's Game Six victory to break Magic Johnson's record as the youngest player (20 years, 112 days) to collect at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in an NBA playoff game. We don't think that Magic's too broken up about it, because we get to mention the climactic game of his rookie season, when he had 42 points and 15 rebounds while leading the Kareem-less Lakers to a 123-107 win in Philadelphia that won the 1980 NBA Finals. Magic was then 20 years, 276 days of age.
RANDY JOHNSON, CHARLIE HOUGH, SATCHEL PAIGE
45-year-old Randy Johnson pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out nine in the Giants' 3-2 win over the Reds. In modern (since 1900) major league history, only two other pitchers as old as Johnson threw a game in which they pitched scoreless ball with nine or more strikeouts. In 1994, 46-year-old Charlie Hough threw a nine-inning shutout, striking out nine, for Florida vs. St. Louis, and in 1952, 46-year-old Satchel Paige threw a 12-inning shutout, striking out nine, for the St. Louis Browns against the Tigers.
EVAN BEING EVAN
Evan Longoria's grand-slam home run was the key blow in the Rays' 6-2 win over the Red Sox. It was the second straight night that Longoria has driven in four runs against Boston. The last player to have consecutive games, both against the Red Sox, with four-or-more RBIs? None other than Manny Ramirez, playing for the Indians, on Sept. 12-13, 2000. (Manny signed on with the Red Sox following that season.)
MAUER'S SEASON DEBUT SCRIPTED BY HOLLYWOOD
Joe Mauer homered in his first at-bat of the season to lead the Twins to a memorable 7-5 victory over the Royals. Last season, Mauer didn't hit his first home run of the 2008 season until his 185th at-bat. The last player to go so many homerless at bats to start one season and then connect on his first at-bat the next season was Brandon Inge, who did not hit a home run in 189 at-bats in 2001 and then hit one out on his first at-bat in 2002.
And for you members of the Joe Mauer Fan Club who are thinking, well, has a future Hall-of-Famer ever done it, we present Mr. Carl Yastrzemski, HOF Class of 1989. Yaz homered on his first at-bat in 1973 after he had waited until his 211th at-bat to deliver his first homer of 1972.
MARTIN WAITS OUT SANCHEZ FOR 1-0 WIN
Russell Martin worked Duaner Sanchez for the old walkoff walk in a 10-pitch plate appearance, producing the game's only run as the Dodgers defeated the Padres. It's the first time in nearly two years that a major-league game was decided by a walkoff RBI on a plate appearance of 10-or-more pitches; on June 5, 2007, the Cardinals' So Taguchi whacked the 10th pitch from the Reds' Jon Coutlangus for a game-winning single.
But, as Howard Cosell used to say, nothing is as transient as the glory achieved in sports. Minutes after Martin's game-winning walk, Seattle's Jose Lopez had a walkoff single to beat Oakland-on the 14th pitch of his at-bat!
POSADA'S WALKOFF HIT
Jorge Posada's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth completed the Yankees' comeback and gave the Bronx Bombers a 10-9 win over the falling Angels. It was the seventh time that Posada has produced a sudden-death RBI for the Yankees (including three walkoff walks), but only the third time that Posada has ended a game delivering a hit that turned a deficit into a victory.
In just the eighth game in the new Yankee Stadium, the home team produced a victory in which they had trailed, 9-4, in the eighth inning. The last time the Yankees produced a home victory after they had trailed by five-or-more runs in the eighth inning or later was on July 16, 2000, when they defeated the Phillies, 9-8, after tying the game with five runs in the ninth and winning it with three in the tenth.
FRANKIE, FRANKIE, WHERE ART THOU, FRANKIE?
The Angels led the Yankees, 9-4, in the eighth inning on Friday night but suffered a 10-9 defeat. Exactly two weeks earlier, on April 17, the Angels lost to the Twins, 11-9, after having led by the same 9-4 score in the eighth inning.
Prior to this season, the Angels had not lost a game after leading by five-or-more runs in the eighth inning or later since Sept. 1, 2000, when they lost a game in that manner to the White Sox.
IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING
Ryan Theriot hit his first home run since April 15 of last year, and made up for lost time by hitting it with the bases full in the Cubs' 8-6 win over the Marlins. That blast ended a streak of 620 homerless at-bats for Theriot. You have to go back more than 16 years to find the last major-league player to end such a long home run drought by hitting one with the bases full; on April 13, 1993, Omar Vizquel's grand-slam homer ended a homerless drought of 625 at-bats.
Theriot's streak of homerless at-bats had been the third-longest current drought among active big-league players, behind Miguel Cairo (788 at-bats) and the disabled Tom Glavine (787) .
CARDINALS' HEART OF THE ORDER IS BASEBALL'S BEST
The Cardinals belted four home runs in their 6-2 victory in Washington, including round-trippers by their 3-4-5 hitters, Albert Pujols, Chris Duncan and Ryan Ludwick. St. Louis leads the major leagues in batting average (.337), slugging average (.623), home runs (19, tied with the White Sox) and runs batted in (76) from the 3-4-5 slots in the lineup.
The victory lifted the St. Louis won-lost record to 17-7, the best for the Cardinals through their first 24 games of a season in 65 yearssince the 1944 team, en route to a World Series triumph over its intercity rival, the St. Louis Browns, started the season 18-6.
STOP THE PRESSES: SWEENEY DRAWS 3 WALKS
Buried in the boxscore of Seattle's 8-7 victory over Oakland is the line for Mariners DH Mike Sweeney: 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three walks. Three walks! Coming into the game, Sweeney had not walked in his last 115 plate appearances-the longest streak by any active position player. (His last walk came on April 23 of last year, while playing with the Athletics.)
PAVANO: FROM AMERICAN IDLE TO SEVEN SCORELESS
Carl Pavano pitched seven scoreless innings before the Tigers scored five runs against Pavano and his relievers in the eighth, but Cleveland held on for a 6-5 victory. The last time that Pavano threw seven scoreless came on May 17, 2005, in a complete-game five-hit shutout at Seattle.
HALLADAY BEATS ORIOLES AGAIN
For Roy Halladay, it's nearly automatic: See the Orioles, beat the Orioles. He did it again on Friday night, the Blue Jays winning, 8-4, as Halladay boosted his season record to 5-1 and his career record against Baltimore to 19-4.
That 19-4 record produces a winning percentage of .826, the highest by any major-league pitcher against the Orioles (minimum: 20 decisions) since Baltimore rejoined the major leagues in 1954 when the former Browns re-located from St. Louis. (Halladay had previously been tied with Jamie Moyer, whose career record vs. Baltimore is 18-4.)
PELFREY BATS & PITCHES METS TO VICTORY
The Mets defeated the Phillies, 7-4, as Mike Pelfrey put a couple of new items on his resume. He drove in runs in two different plate appearances (a sacrifice fly and an RBI single) and he won a game during the month of May.
Pelfrey can only hope that his Mets' pitching career is longer lasting than were those of the last three Mets pitchers who had a pair of RBI plate appearances in the same game: Steve Trachsel (2004), Jae Seo (2005) and Brian Lawrence (2007). Pelfrey had previously lost all eight of his big-league decisions during May, which had been the most losses without a win by any active major-league pitcher in any month.
REDS vs. PIRATES: BOTH TEAMS ABOVE .500
The Reds defeated the Pirates, 4-0, in the opener of their three-game series on Friday night, but as fans walked over the Roberto Clemente Bridge to PNC Park prior to the game, there was something different in the air-winning records. Each team brought a record of 11-10 into the game. It was the first time since 1999 that the Pirates and Reds had met this late in a season with both teams bringing winning records into the contest.
RED WINGS MAKE HISTORY--TWICE
The Red Wings made history as soon as the puck was dropped to start their second-round series with the Ducks. It was the 18th consecutive playoff series that the Red Wings had started on their home ice, a new NHL record. The longest streak previous was compiled by the Canadiens, who played the opening game of 17 straight playoff series at the Montreal Forum from 1976 to 1983.
But Detroit didn't stop there. It also made history in the final minute of the game, as Nicklas Lidstrom's goal with 49.1 seconds remaining lifted the home team to a 3-2 victory. You'll recall that in the Red Wings' last game, Johan Franzen scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute remaining at Columbus. Detroit became the first NHL team to win consecutive games in one playoff year on tie-breaking, game-winning goals in the last minute of the third period.
This year's playoffs have now featured four tie-breaking goals in the last minute of the third period, already the highest such total in any year in NHL history.
SAVARD SCORES TWICE
Marc Savard scored two goals for the Bruins in their Game One win over the Hurricanes. It was Savard's second two-goal game in this year's playoffs; he scored twice in Game 2 of Boston's first-round sweep of the Canadiens. Savard had only two multiple-goal games during the 2008-09 regular season and they came in consecutive games back in October (Oct. 11 at Minnesota and Oct. 15 at Montreal).