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ANTHONY SCORES 30 FOR THIRD STRAIGHT GAME
Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points for the Nuggets in their series-clinching Game 5 win over the Mavericks, after scoring 31 points in Game 3 and 41 points in Game 4. Anthony is the first Nuggets player to score at least 30 points in each of three consecutive games in one playoff series since the team entered the NBA in 1976. Alex English scored 30-or-more points for Denver in each of four consecutive postseason games in 1985, spanning two series (final two games vs. Utah and first two games vs. Lakers).
BILLUPS REACHES CONFERENCE FINALS FOR 7TH STRAIGHT YEAR
Denver's victory means that Chauncey Billups will be playing in the Conference Finals for the seventh consecutive year. Since 1970, only four men have played for their conference's championship in each of seven-or-more straight playoff years and all of them did so for the Lakers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and Magic Johnson had eight-year streaks (1982-1989), and Kurt Rambis had a seven-year run (1982-1988).
NUGGETS' HOT SHOOTING IN SERIES-CLINCHING WIN
The Nuggets made 58.5 percent of their field-goal attempts on Wednesday (48 of 82), their third-highest shooting percentage ever in an NBA playoff game. Denver shot 62.0 percent against San Antonio in 1985 and 60.3 percent against Seattle in 1994.
NOWITZKI AVERAGES 34.4 PPG IN SERIES LOSS
Dirk Nowitzki averaged 34.4 points per game for the Mavericks in their series loss to the Nuggets. Over the last 20 years, only two other players had a scoring average that high in a playoff series their team lost: Allen Iverson for the 76ers in the 2001 Finals (35.6) and Amar'e Stoudemire for the Suns in the 2005 Western Conference Finals (37.0).
A RARE BIG WIN BY A ROAD TEAM IN A GAME 7
Pittsburgh's 6-2 win in Washington matched the second-largest margin of victory by a road team in the seventh game of a playoff series. The North Stars beat the Kings by five goals in a Game 7 in Los Angeles in 1968 (9-4), and the Oilers had a four-goal win at Colorado in 1998 (4-0).
AT LEAST FIVE GOALS IN EVERY GAME OF PENS-CAPS SERIES
There were at least five goals scored in all seven games of the Penguins-Capitals series. Since 1996, the only other NHL playoff series to go a full seven games with five-or-more goals scored in each game was Minnesota's victory over Vancouver in the second round in 2003.
PENGUINS SCORE TWICE IN 8 SECONDS IN GAME 7 WIN
The Penguins opened the scoring in their Game 7 win over the Capitals with a pair of first-period goals eight seconds apart by Sidney Crosby (at 12:36) and Craig Adams (at 12:44). It was the fastest two goals by one team in any Game 7 in NHL playoff history. The previous record was 14 seconds by the Minnesota North Stars in their 94 win over the Kings in the seventh game of a first-round series in 1968 (second period: Andre Boudrias at 15:58, Dave Balon at 16:12). Those goals were hardly crucial in that game, as they increased Minnesota's lead from 62 to 82.
CROSBY SCORES FIRST AGAIN
When Sidney Crosby scored the opener it marked the fifth time in this year's playoffs and the third time in the series against the Caps that he scored the first goal of a game. (He also did that in Games 1 and 4 in the first round against the Flyers, and Games 1 and 2 versus Washington.) Those are both Penguins records for most first goals by one player within one playoff year and one playoff series.
ZIMMERMAN'S HITTING STREAK IS STOPPED
Ryan Zimmerman's 30-game hitting streak came to an end as he went 0-for-3 with two walks, one of them intentional, in the Nationals' 6-3 victory in San Francisco. It was the first time in 75 years that a player had a single-season hitting streak of 30-or-more games stopped in a game in which he drew at least two walks. On June 6, 1934, Detroit's Goose Goslin had a 30-game streak end when he walked twice and went hitless in two at-bats against Cleveland.
MARTIS IS 5-0 IN FIRST SEVEN STARTS
Shairon Martis improved his record to 5-0 in seven starts this season with a win in San Francisco on Wednesday, in which he allowed only one run and two hits in seven innings. Martis is the fifth rookie pitcher in the last 60 years to go undefeated with at least five wins in his first seven starts of a season, all within his team's first 35 games. The others were Jerry Garvin in 1977 (Blue Jays, 5-0), Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 (Dodgers, 7-0), Mike Grace in 1996 (Phillies, 5-0), and Kaz Ishii in 2002 (Dodgers, 6-0).
TATIS HITS SEVENTH CAREER GRAND SLAM
Fernando Tatis hit a grand slam for the Mets in their 12-inning loss to the Braves on Wednesday afternoon. It was the 105th home run of Tatis's major-league career and his seventh with the bases loaded (6.7 percent of his overall total). He has the second-highest grand-slam percentage among active players with at least 100 home runs, behind A.J. Pierzynski (7 of 102, 6.9%).
BOTH STARTERS PULLED EARLY AND WITH A LEAD
Neither Bobby Cox nor Jerry Manuel showed much patience with their starting pitcher in Wednesday's game at Citi Field. Cox yanked Jo-Jo Reyes in the bottom of the third inning with the Braves leading 4-2 after Reyes loaded the bases with no one out on a walk and two singles. (Buddy Carlyle relieved Reyes and gave up a grand slam to the next batter, Fernando Tatis.) Jonathon Niese was removed by Manuel with the Mets leading 6-5 with two outs and a runner on second base in the top of the fifth inning.
This was the first major-league game in which both starting pitchers were pulled from the mound in the middle of an inning with their team leading before pitching five innings since the Anaheim-Texas game on Sept. 29, 2004. The starters that night were Jarrod Washburn for the Angels and Kameron Loe for the Rangers.
JAMES LONEY'S FIRST HOME RUN OF 2009
Dodgers first-baseman James Loney hit his first home run of the season in L.A.'s 9-2 victory in Philadelphia. Entering the game, Loney was the only player in the majors who had played at least 25 games at first base this season but had not hit a home run in 2009.
DAMON: NINE STRAIGHT GAMES WITH RUN SCORED AND XBH
Johnny Damon has scored at least one run and had at least one extra-base hit in each of his last nine games, including the Yankees' 8-2 win in Toronto on Wednesday, when he was 2-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored. Damon's streak of consecutive games with both a run scored and an extra-base hit is the longest by an American League player since Brady Anderson had a nine-game streak for the Orioles in 1997. Damon is the first Yankees player to do it since Don Mattingly in 1987 (10 straight games).
CLIFF LEE CONTINUES TO IMPROVE AFTER TOUGH FIRST TWO STARTS
Cliff Lee pitched seven scoreless innings in his 4-0 win over the White Sox. The 2008 A.L. Cy Young Award winner allowed 11 runs in 10 innings over his first two starts this season (losses to Texas and Toronto) but he's given up only seven runs in 44 innings in six starts since then. Lee has only two wins largely due to poor run support. Before Wednesday's game, the Indians had scored only two runs in his last four starts.
THERIOT: 12 CAREER HOMERS, ALL AT WRIGLEY
Ryan Theriot hit two home runs for the Cubs in their rain-shortened win over the Padres. Theriot has 12 homers in his five seasons in the majors and he's hit all of them at Wrigley Field. The only other players in major-league history to hit the first 12 (or more) home runs of their career at the same ballpark all did so at the Polo Grounds: Johnny Vergez (first 27), Burgess Whitehead (17), Bill Rigney (16), Freddie Fitzsimmons (14) and Andy Cohen (13).
ALL NINE ASTROS STARTERS WITH 2+ HITS
The Astros won a 15-11 slugfest at Coors Field and all nine players in their starting lineup, including pitcher Mike Hampton, had at least two hits. It was the only the second time in the last 50 years that a team with a pitcher in the batting order had all nine of its starters record two-or-more hits. The other team to do that was the Braves in a 17-9 win in Cincinnati on May 1, 1985.
TWO ROCKIES PITCHERS EACH ALLOW 10+ HITS
The Rockies' starting pitcher in Wednesday's game against the Astros, Jason Marquis, allowed 10 hits in 3.2 innings, and the pitcher who relieved him, Glendon Rusch, gave up 12 hits in 2.2 innings. Colorado was the first major-league team to have two pitchers each allow 10-or-more hits in the same game since Aug. 13, 1999, when Minnesota's LaTroy Hawkins (12 hits in 3.1 innings) and Benj Sampson (10 hits in 2.2 innings) did that in a 14-2 loss to the Yankees.
LANCE BERKMAN OWNS JASON MARQUIS
Lance Berkman went 2-for-2 with a walk off Jason Marquis on Wednesday night, improving his career batting average against Marquis to .511 (23 hits in 45 at-bats). Berkman's average versus Marquis is the highest for any active major-league player off any current pitcher against whom he has at least 40 at-bats. Juan Uribe is second with a .500 average against Carlos Silva (20-for-40).
MATT PALMER'S IN SOME HEADY COMPANY
Matt Palmer, who beat the Red Sox with his first career complete game on Wednesday, is 4-0 in four starts this season. He's tied with with Roy Halladay (4-0) and Derek Lowe (4-0) for the most wins in the majors since April 23, the day Palmer made his debut with the Angels.
CREDE HITS 2ND CAREER EXTRA-INNING WALKOFF GRAND SLAM
Joe Crede homered with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th inning to break a 10-10 tie and give the Twins a 14-10 win over the Tigers. It was the second extra-inning walkoff grand slam of Crede's career - he had one for the White Sox on Aug. 27, 2002 tying a major-league record. The other players with two walkoff slams in extra innings are Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Lee, Jim Presley and Ruppert Jones.