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NBA - Celtics
If the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals, they'll be the first team in NBA history to reach the finals after having a better road record than home record during the regular season. Boston was 26-15 on the road and 24-17 at home during the 2009-10 season.
80 SECONDS THAT DECIDED GAME FOUR: 3 SUNS TEAMMATES HIT THREES
With the Suns leading, 89-87, and 8:07 to play in the fourth quarter of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals, Channing Frye connected on a three-pointer. After a Lakers bucket, Leandro Barbosa hit a three with 7:20 remaining; and then following a Lakers miss, Jared Dudley hit a corner three with 6:47 to play as Phoenix extended its lead to 98-89. L.A. never got closer than six points the rest of the way, and the Suns won it, 115-106.
The Suns picked the perfect time to become the first team in the 2010 playoffs to have three different teammates can three-point shots within a span of 80 seconds. The last NBA team to have a sequence like that in the fourth quarter of a playoff win? The Cavaliers, in a first-round game against the Wizards in 2006, when Ronald Murray, Donyell Marshall and LeBron James connected on threes within a span of 67 seconds.
The really amazing thing is that the Suns actually practiced their three-teammates-for-threes feat in the second quarter of Game Four, when the same three players (Frye, Barbosa and Dudley) hit three-point field goals within a span of 79 seconds!
CHANNING FRYE's TURNAROUND
Channing Frye had made only one of 20 field-goal attempts over the first three games of the Western Conference Finals, but he hit four three-point shots and contributed 14 points to Phoenix's victory in Game Four. Before hitting on the first of those three-pointers, Frye had missed 17 consecutive field-goal attempts, the longest stretch of misses in playoff competition since Sam Cassell missed 20 straight field-goal attempts for the Celtics in the 2008 playoffs.
RED SOX AGAIN THROW 1-HITTER vs. 1ST-PLACE TEAM
Jon Lester combined with three relievers to limit the Rays to one hit in the Red Sox' 2-0 victory in St. Petersburg. (Perhaps it was not surprising that Tampa Bay's one hit was produced by Willy Aybar, who owns a .352 career batting average vs. Boston.)
The latest one-hitter came three days after Daisuke Matsuzaka and Daniel Bard limited the Phillies to a single safety at Philadelphia on Saturday night. The Red Sox became the first team in modern major-league history to limit first-place teams to no more than one hit twice within a span of four games.
Of course, Tuesday's game also begs the question: These days, how many pitchers does it take to fashion a one-hit shutout? It's the 16th time in major league history that four-or-more pitchers combined to limit a team to no hits or one hit; one of those games came over the first 115 years of major-league history (a four-pitcher no-hitter by Oakland as it prepared its staff for the postseason in 1975), three such games came in the 1990s, and the other 12 games have all come since 2002.
LaRUSSA's ACHILLES HEEL: THE 1-0 GAME
Tony LaRussa has done a lot of winning in his career-more wins, in fact, than all but two managers in major-league history. But one type of game has stymied him: the 1-0 game. And in Tuesday night's game in San Diego, Jon Garland (seven shutout innings) and Jerry Hairston, Jr. (second-inning homer) led the Padres over LaRussa's Cardinals, 1-0.
It was the 77th regular-season 1-0 game in which LaRussa has been involved as a big-league manager, and his won-lost record in those games is an unLaRussa-like 34-43 (.442). In fact, among the 30 managers who have participated in the most 1-0 games, only two have lower winning percentages than does LaRussa: Gene Mauch (.380) and Wilbert Robinson (.416).
TALBOT IN COMPANY OF CLEVELAND LEGEND
Mitch Talbot allowed just two runs over seven innings as he boosted his record to 6-3 in the Indians' 7-3 win over the White Sox. The rookie right-hander is the first Cleveland rookie to win six starts in the team's first 50 games since Herb Score did it in his legendary 1955 rookie season.
CALL HIM "LATE-GAME DOUMIT"
Ryan Doumit's two-out homer in the top of the ninth on Tuesday night broke a 1-1 tie and led the Pirates to a 2-1 victory at Cincinnati. It was Doumit's fifth home run of the season, and all have come in the eighth inning or later, including three that put the Pirates ahead and another that tied the score.
Paul Konerko has hit seven homers in the eighth inning or later this season, only one of those tied the game or put his team ahead. Doumit is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the major-league lead of four homers that tied the score or provided a lead in the eighth inning or later.
DÉJÀ VU: DEMPSTER DOWNS DODGERS
Ryan Dempster doesn't care how hot the Dodgers are - he showed that he's still got their number, throwing eight shutout innings and earning the victory in the Cubs' 3-0 win over Los Angeles. Dempster is now 7-3 with a 2.31 ERA all-time against the Dodgers. The only other active pitcher who has compiled an ERA that low over at least 90 innings against the Dodgers is Jake Peavy, whose ERA against the Dodgers is 2.27 over 158 1-3 innings.
GUERRERO's 2-HR, 5-RBI GAME
Vladimir Guerrero belted two home runs off Gil Meche, but it was his third extra-base hit an RBI double that drove in Texas's eighth and final run of the game-that proved key in the Rangers' 8-7 win in Kansas City. It was the seventh time in Vlad's career that he has had at least five RBIs in a multi-homer game, but only the third of those games in which he had a third extra-base hit. His last such game: Sept. 28, 2004, for the Angels against the Rangers.
It was the 16th time in Guerrero's major-league career that he has driven in at least five runs in a game. Among active major leaguers, only Manny Ramirez (34) and Alex Rodriguez (24) have more games of that type.
REYES GETS 1,000TH HIT, THEN HITS ANOTHER TRIPLE
Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the first with the 1,000th hit of his major-league career and followed with two more hits and three runs scored as the Mets blanked the Phillies, 8-0. The 1,002nd hit of Reyes's career was his 76th triple, which gives us the opportunity to point out that among the 735 players to collect their 1,000th major-league hit since 1950, only one had as many triples at the time of his 1,000th hit as did Reyes, who had 75. Garry Templeton¿s 1,000th hit in 1982 was also his 76th career triple.
KAWAKAMI: 7 DECISIONS, 7 LOSSES
The Braves dropped a 6-4 decision to the Marlins in South Florida, as Kenshin Kawakami¿s record fell to 0-7. The last Braves pitcher to drop his first seven decisions in a season was the directionally-challenged Pascual Perez, back in 1985, when he wound up with a 1-13 record. (For inspiration, Kawakami might look back prior to Perez: in 1977, Phil Niekro started 0-7 but wound up with 16 wins that season!)
O's, AGAIN HITLESS WITH RISP, CONCOCT WINNING FORMULA
The Orioles have the majors' lowest batting average with runners in scoring position (.223), and in fact they went 0-for-4 in those situations against the Athletics on Tuesday night. But despite that 0-for, the Birds figured out a way to score five runs and came away 5-1 winners. Baltimore scored on a solo homer, on a double that drove in a runner from first, on two sacrifice flies, and on a throwing error.
NAPOLI TAKES JAYS DEEP AGAIN
Mike Napoli went 2-for-3 with a home run in the Angels¿ 8-3 win over the Blue Jays, and if anyone out there has any ideas on how to keep Napoli in the ballpark, please contact Cito Gaston immediately. Napoli is a .222 career hitter (14-for-63) vs. Toronto, but seven of those 14 hits have been round-trippers, his highest home-run ratio against any American League team.