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LEBRON EXTENDS SCORING STREAK IN CAVS' LOSS
LeBron James scored 41 points, including 18 from the free-throw line, in the Cavaliers' Game 3 loss at Orlando. It was James's 14th straight playoff game with at least 25 points (dating back to last year), the longest streak of its kind for any active NBA player, surpassing 13-game streaks by Kobe Bryant (2002-2003) and Shaquille O'Neal (2002-2003). The last player with a streak as long as LeBron's was Michael Jordan (14 straight 25-point playoff games from 1992 to 1993) .
PHILLIES TALKED IN FROM LIDGE
The Phillies took the rubber game of their series at Yankee Stadium in 11 innings after Brad Lidge surrendered a ninth-inning lead for a second straight day. It was only the second time that Lidge has blown saves in two straight appearances. He coughed up leads for the Astros on consecutive days against the Dodgers in 2006 (April 24-25) .
DUNN SLAM FOLLOWS PITCHING CHANGE
Adam Dunn greeted Jamie Walker with a seventh-inning grand slam to cap the scoring in the Nationals' 8-5 win over the Orioles. Walker was the tenth major-league pitcher this season to allow a bases-loaded home run to the first batter he faced in a game. (The Orioles are the only team to be victimized in that fashion twice this year; Radhames Liz suffered the same fate off the bat of Nelson Cruz on April 15.) All of last season, only eight pitchers yielded a grand slam to the first batter they faced in a game.
RED SOX AVOID SWEEP BEHIND WAKEFIELD
The Red Sox salvaged the final game of their three game set with the Mets behind Tim Wakefield, who notched his first win against New York's National Leaguers since Oct. 4, 1992. Wakefield's gap of more than 16 years between victories over the Mets is the second-longest against any team for any active pitcher. Jamie Moyer went 20 years, 2 days between wins versus the Braves (1987-2007).
Wakefield is 3-0 in three starts this season in which the Red Sox were facing a series sweep. His previous wins under those circumstances were against the Athletics (April 15 at Boston) and Indians (May 7 at Cleveland). The only other major-league pitcher with three sweep-averting wins this season is Washington's Shairon Martis.
BLUE JAYS LOSE SIXTH IN A ROW, DROP FROM FIRST PLACE
The Blue Jays' losing streak reached six games as the Braves completed a series sweep on Sunday. Coupled with the Red Sox' win over the Mets, the Blue Jays dropped to second place in the AL East. The last time a first-place team lost that distinction by "virtue" of a losing streak of at least six games was in September 1995, when the California Angels lost eight in a row to relinquish the top spot in the AL West to the "refuse to lose" Mariners.
PADRES PACK FOR ROCKY ROAD AFTER A PERFECT HOMESTAND
The Padres swept their nine-game homestand to even their season record at 22-22. It was the longest winning streak for any major-league team to reach the .500 mark since the Padres themselves won 14 straight games in 1999 to improve their mark to 39-39.
The Padres, winners of ten straight home games dating back to their previous homestand, will hit the road on Monday, where they've lost 11 in a row. San Diego is the first team in major-league history to simultaneously own a double-digit winning streak in home games and a double-digit losing streak in road games.
MCCARTHY ALLOWS NINE HITS IN SHUTOUT
Brandon McCarthy threw a complete game, scattering nine hits to lead the Rangers to a 5-0 win at Houston. McCarthy joined Brett Myers (Aug. 29, 2008) as the only pitchers in the last three seasons to register a shutout while allowing as many as nine hits. The only other pitchers ever to do that for the Rangers were Bill Singer (1976), Bert Blyleven (1976), Gaylord Perry (1977) and Rick Helling (1994) .
GARLAND CAN'T FIGURE OUT THE A'S
The Athletics continued to baffle Jon Garland in their 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks. Garland has a 110-92 career record in the majors, but he's 4-12 against Oakland. Only three other active pitchers with a career mark at least 15 games over .500 have lost at least eight more games than they've won against any particular team: Mark Buehrle (3-11 vs. Oakland), Brad Penny (5-13 vs. the Mets) and Arthur Rhodes (1-9 vs. Cleveland) .
MINNESOTA'S M & M BOYS GO DEEP AGAIN
Joe Mauer hit a solo home run in the first inning and Justin Morneau added a grand slam in the seventh as the Twins defeated the Brewers on Sunday night. It was the sixth time this season that Mauer and Morneau went deep in the same game, the most for any duo of major-league teammates, ahead of two pairs of Phillies (Utley/Ibanez and Howard/Ibanez, five each). Before this season, Mauer and Morneau each homered in the same game only seven times.
REDS PITCHER WINS MLB DEBUT
Carlos Fisher was credited with a win in his major-league debut when Alex Gonzalez's walkoff double in the 11th inning gave the Reds a 4-3 victory over the Indians. Fisher, who pitched one scoreless inning, was the first Reds pitcher to win his big-league debut in relief since Hector Carrasco (April 4, 1994) and he was the first reliever to win his first game in the majors in the 11th inning or later since the Yankees' Jay Tessmer (Aug. 27, 1998).
HOWARD PLAYS SMALL BALL
Ryan Howard went 2-for-5 and stole his second base of the season on Sunday, but the box score didn't tell you that both of those hits were of the infield variety. Over the last three seasons, the only other Phillies player to leg out two infield hits and steal a base in the same game is Shane Victorino, who did so three times over that span (20072009), all in 2008.
STARTING PITCHERS EACH DRIVE IN A RUN
Brian Bannister and Joel Piniero each had an RBI single in the Royals' 3-2 win at St. Louis. It was the fifth interleague game in major-league history and the first since 2005 (Dan Haren vs. Kyle Davies) in which the opposing starting pitchers each drove in at least one run.
WALKOFF HIT FOR GLOAD IN 11TH INNING
Ross Gload broke a deadlock with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th to give the Marlins a 5-4 win over the Rays. Gload had only one hit in 15 previous career at-bats during extra innings in potential walkoff win situations.
PIRATES COME FROM BEHIND WITH THE LONG BALL
Erik Hinske made it a one-run game with an eighth-inning solo homer off Octavio Dotel before Jack Wilson tied the game with a ninth-inning shot off Bobby Jenks, who proceeded to allow another run in the ninth that gave the Pirates a 4-3 win over the White Sox. Before allowing two on Sunday, the White Sox' bullpen had allowed only one home run all season while protecting a lead (Ben Zobrist off Matt Thornton on April 17).
ANGELS' LARGEST ROAD COMEBACK WIN AGAINST DODGERS
The Angels came back from an early 4-0 deficit to post a 10-7 win at Dodger Stadium. It was the third time that the Angels beat the Dodgers in a game that they trailed by four runs (previously in 1998 and 2000), but it was the Halos' first such road win against their L.A. rivals.
NOTHING NEW: HOSSA SCORES TWICE IN GAME 4
Marian Hossa has scored only six goals in this year's playoffs but he's done so with an eerie symmetry. Hossa scored twice at Columbus in Game 4 in the first round, twice at Anaheim in Game 4 in the second round and twice in Detroit's 6-1 victory at Chicago on Sunday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Hossa is one of four players with three multiple-goal games in this year's playoffs. The others are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jonathan Toews. Crosby, like Hossa, has registered all three of his multi-goal games on the road.
DOUBLE-DIGIT PLAYOFF GOALS FOR FRANZEN
Johan Franzen scored the second goal for the Red Wings on Sunday. It was Franzen's 10th goal in 15 games in the 2009 playoffs, coming one year after he scored 13 goals in 16 playoff games for Detroit on its way to the 2008 Stanley Cup. Franzen is the first player in Red Wings history to score ten or more goals in two different playoff years. Henrik Zetterberg, who also scored 13 goals for Detroit in the 2008 playoffs, needs one more goal in the current postseason to match Franzen.
LIDSTROM SITS AFTER SETTING IRON-MAN MARK
For the first time since he entered the league in the 1991-92 season, the Red Wings played a postseason game without Nicklas Lidstrom in the lineup. Lidstrom missed Sunday's game due to a "lower body injury." That ended his NHL playoff record streak of 228 consecutive games played, a mark he set in Game 3 of the series, breaking the old record of 227 games by Larry Robinson from 1973 to 1992.