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BIG BUCKET FOR BIG BABY
Glen Davis scored at the buzzer to give the Celtics a 95-94 win at Orlando. During two seasons with the Celtics, Davis had never before taken a potential game-tying or go-ahead shot from the floor in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or an overtime period-neither in a regular-season nor a postseason game.
ROCKETS ROUT JACKSON'S LAKERS
The Rockets built an 83-54 lead after three quarters and coasted to a 99-87 victory over the Lakers. It was only the second time in Phil Jackson's 286 playoff games as an NBA head coach that his team trailed by a margin that large at the end of the third quarter. The first was the final game of last season's NBA Finals--a 131-92 loss to the Celtics.
RED WINGS TAKE CRUCIAL GAME 5 AGAINST DUCKS
The Red Wings beat the Ducks, 4-1, to take a three-games-to-two lead in their series. Since 1997, Detroit played 13 other series that were tied 2-2, and in all but one of them the team that won Game 5 went on to win the series in Game 6 (Red Wings 7 times, opponents 5 times). The lone exception was in the 2002 Western Conference Final against Colorado, when the Avalanche won Game 5 in overtime but Detroit shut them out in Games 6 and 7 to win the series.
FRANZEN AND ZETTERBERG, OF COURSE
Johan Franzen opened the scoring for the Red Wings on Sunday and Henrik Zetterberg closed it with an empty net goal. Over the last two seasons, Franzen leads the NHL with 20 playoff goals and Zetterberg ranks second with 19.
It was Zetterberg's third empty-net goal of the 2009 playoffs, the most in one postseason since Pete Stemkowski of the Rangers netted three ENGs in 1974.
BRUINS WIN BIG TO HANG ON
The Bruins stayed alive with a 4-0 victory over the Hurricanes, equaling the largest shutout margin that Boston ever posted when facing playoff elimination. The Bruins won two previous potential elimination games by a 4-0 score: against the Montreal Maroons in 1937 and the Capitals in 1998.
PAPELBON EARNS A SUPER-SAVE
Jonathan Papelbon pitched himself into trouble but struck out three consecutive batters with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position to seal the Red Sox' 4-3 win over the Rays. Papelbon was the first pitcher in 20 years to earn a save by recording three straight strikeouts to end a game with the tying run 90 feet away. The last pitcher to do so was Mitch Williams in his debut for the Cubs on April 4, 1989.
JOBA'S POOR STARTS ARE BECOMING A HABIT
Joba Chamberlain allowed a three-run home run to Aubrey Huff in the bottom of the first but the Yankees rallied for a 5-3 win at Baltimore. Chamberlain gave up four runs in the first inning before shutting down the Red Sox in his previous start. Last season, only two pitchers allowed three or more first-inning runs but nothing more through five innings in consecutive starts: Josh Beckett and Brian Moehler.
AND THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT THE BULLPEN?
The Yankees have trailed after three innings in 17 of their 31 games this season (55%). The only other team to do so in a majority of their games to date is the Rays (17 of 33).
METS ARE BACK IN A FAMILIAR PLACE
The Mets, who moved into first place on Saturday, maintained their hold on sole possession of the division by extending their winning streak to seven games with an 8-4 win over the Pirates. Although the Mets reached the postseason only once in the past three seasons (2006-2008)-losing the NLCS to the Cardinals in 2006-they spent by far the most time in sole possession of first place in their respective division of any team in the majors during that time (367 days).
JONES' LONG HITTING STREAK VS. PHILLIES COMES TO AN END
Chipper Jones went 0-for-3 in the Braves' 4-2 victory at Philadelphia, snapping his 29-game hitting streak against the Phillies that dated back to April 2007. It was the longest hitting streak against Philadelphia since Hall-of-Famer Freddie Lindstrom posted a 30-game streak from 1929 to 1931.
PADILLA TOSSES ANOTHER RYAN-LIKE GEM
Vicente Padilla allowed one hit for a second straight start in the Rangers' 7-1 win over the White Sox. Padilla was the first Rangers pitcher ever to make back-to-back starts in which he allowed fewer than two hits. Nolan Ryan did it twice, but he did it for the Angels (1979) and Astros (1984).
GRIFFEY INITIATES ANOTHER ROOKIE
Ken Griffey Jr. hit a game-tying two-run home run off Jose Mijares in the eighth inning of the Mariners' 5-3 win at Minnesota. It was Griffey's 100th career homer off a rookie pitcher. Among the freshmen tagged by Griffey were Kevin Appier (1990), Mariano Rivera (1995), Eric Gagne (2000), Ben Sheets (2001), and Jeff Francis (2005).2005
CARDINALS WIN DESPITE REDS' 5 HOMERS
The Cardinals overcame five home runs by the Reds in their 8-7 win at Cincinnati. It was only the fourth time in team history that the Cards won a game in which they allowed as many as five homers. (Oddly, two came within a span of 17 days in July 2003.)
OWINGS DELIVERS IN A PINCH
Micah Owings hit a pinch-hit solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning to send the Reds to extra innings in their loss to the Cardinals. It was the second game-tying pinch homer of Owings's career. The only other pitcher to do that even once over the last 50 years was Brooks Kieschnick of the Brewers, who did it in 2003 and 2004.
RODRIGUEZ PARTIES LIKE THE OLD PUDGE
Ivan Rodriguez went 4-for-4 with a home run and a triple in the Astros' 125 win over the Padres. (Did anyone report that he fell "a double short of a cycle?") Rodriguez was the first catcher in 24 years to hit a homer and a triple going 4-for-4 or better. The only other catcher to do so during the expansion era was Rich Gedman of the Red Sox (July 21, 1985 vs. Angels).
TIGERS SWEEP INDIANS, WHO NEVER LED
The Tigers defeated the Indians, 5-3, to conclude a three-game sweep in a series in which Cleveland never held a lead. The Indians also never led in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers to open the 2009 season. Cleveland suffered only two such sweeps in their previous six seasons combined.
ROCKIES FINALLY POST A ONE-RUN VICTORY
The Rockies' 3-2 victory over the Marlins was their first one-run win of the season. Colorado came into the game with an 0-8 record in games decided by one run. The Rockies were only the seventh team since 1900 to suffer as many as eight one-run losses to start a season before posting a one-run win.
ABREU GOES 4-FOR-4 THE HARD WAY
Bobby Abreu walked four times on four trips to the plate in the Angels' win over the Royals on Sunday. He became only the sixth player in Angels history to record that kind of a 4-for-4 game-a list that includes Frank Robinson (August 12, 1974). Reggie Willits did it last season.
ANGELS RALLY FROM 3 DOWN TO DEFEAT ROYALS
The Angels overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Royals, 4-3. It was the Angels' first victory of the season in which they trailed by as many as three runs. They were the last AL team without such a win this season.
WHO GOT THE GAME BALL?
A.J. Hinch and Esmerling Vasquez both earned their first career victory in the Diamondbacks' 10-8 win over the Nationals--Hinch in the dugout and Vasquez on the mound. It was the 19th time since 1900 that a manager and pitcher both recorded their first win in the same game. The most recent pair was Dale Sveum and Mark DiFelice for the Brewers last September. The most notable was Hall-of-Fame manager Joe McCarthy and Charlie Root for the Cubs in 1926. Root was on the mound for Babe Ruth's alleged "called shot" home run in the 1932 World Series.
SCHERZER FOILED AGAIN AS BULLPEN SURRENDERS HIS LEAD
Max Scherzer again failed to record his first major-league victory when the Diamondbacks' bullpen couldn't hold the one-run lead that he left after five innings. It was the fourth time in Scherzer's 13 career starts that he left with a lead and his relievers cost him a potential victory.