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SPURS' LOSING STREAK IS LONGEST IN DUNCAN ERA
From Elias: The Celtics defeated the Spurs 107-97, extending San Antonio's losing streak to five games. It's the first time since Tim Duncan joined the team before the start of the 1997-98 season that the Spurs have lost five-or-more consecutive regular-season games. San Antonio had been the only team in the league without at least one five-game losing streak over those 14 seasons. In fact, every other NBA team has had no fewer than six separate five-game losing streaks over that span. Prior to Thursday night, the Spurs' last five-game losing streak came in April 1997, when they lost their last six games of the 1996-97 season, just prior to drafting Duncan.
The Spurs' just-concluded span of 1,112 games without losing five in a row was the second-longest such streak in NBA history. The record is held by the Celtics, who went 1,412 games without losing five straight games from 1950 to 1969.
RONDO SPANKS SPURS
From Elias: Rajon Rondo had 22 points, 14 assists and five rebounds in the Celtics' win against the Spurs, becoming the only NBA player in the last three seasons to reach those statistical levels in a game without committing a turnover.
DEFENDING CHAMPS LOSE ON OPENING DAY FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR
From Elias: The Dodgers defeated the Giants 2-1, marking the third straight season in which the reigning World Series champion lost its season opener. (The 2009 Phillies and 2010 Yankees also began defense of their crowns with defeats.) That's the longest such streak in 30 years -- since the incumbent champs lost on Opening Day every year from 1978 through 1981.
This was only the second time in the history of the Dodgers that their season opener was played against the defending World Series champion. That only happened previously in 1922, when the Brooklyn Dodgers visited the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds on Opening Day, after the Giants had defeated the Yankees in the 1921 World Series.
TEIXEIRA AND GRANDERSON POWER YANKEES WIN
From Elias: Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson each hit home runs in the Yankees' win against the Tigers. Teixeira was 1-for-17 (.059) lifetime versus Justin Verlander before going deep against the Detroit right-hander, which was the lowest career average for any player -- active or not -- against Verlander (min: 15 AB). Granderson has now homered on Opening Day in three straight years: for Detroit in 2009 and in each of his first two seasons with the Yankees. He is the only player to ever hit an Opening-Day home run both for and against the Tigers.
Teixeira's teams were 0-7 on Opening Day in games in which he played before Thursday, which had been the worst lifetime record in Game One for any active major-league player.
YANKEES START SAME INFIELD AND OUTFIELD IN CONSECUTIVE OPENERS
From Elias: The Yankees started the same four infielders (Teixeira, Cano, Jeter and Rodriguez) and the same three outfielders (Gardner, Granderson and Swisher) on Opening Day in both 2010 and 2011. It was the first time that the Yankees started the same four infielders and the same three outfielders in consecutive season openers since 1926-1927 (infielders: Joe Dugan, Mark Koenig, Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig; outfielders: Bob Meusel, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth).
LEADOFF AND WALK-OFF HOMERS HIGHLIGHT WILD OPENER IN CINCINNATI
From Elias: Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez began the Brewers-Reds game with back-to-back homers, but a little more than three hours later Ramon Hernandez hit a walk-off three-run homer to give Cincinnati a 7-6 victory. It was the first Opening-Day game in 25 years in which the first batter and the last batter each hit a home run. That happened in 1986 at Seattle, when the Angels' Bobby Grich led off the top of the first inning with a homer and Jim Presley hit a game-ending grand slam for the Mariners.
Hernandez, who was 4-for-5, became the first player in major-league history to hit an Opening-Day walk-off home run after coming to the plate with his team trailing by more than one run. Two other players in major-league history had at least four hits, including a game-ending home run, on Opening Day: Raul Mondesi (1999 Dodgers) and Clint Barmes (2005 Rockies).
The Reds became the first team to win on Opening Day after trailing by three or more runs in the ninth inning or later since 2004, when the Royals defeated the White Sox, 9-7, after trailing, 7-3. Carlos Beltran won that game with a two-run walk-off homer. The Reds won once previously on Opening Day after trailing by three or more runs in the ninth inning or later (in 1932 vs. the Cubs).
HEYWARD OPENS WITH A BANG AGAIN
From Elias: Jason Heyward, who hit a home run in the first at-bat of his major-league debut last season, homered in his first at-bat of 2011 in Thursday's 2-0 win against the Nationals. Kaz Matsui is the only other player in major-league history to hit a home run in his first at-bat in each of his first two seasons (regardless of Opening Day or not). Matsui actually did that in each of his first three seasons (2004-2006 with the Mets).
CARDINALS SQUANDER LATE LEAD
From Elias: The Cardinals squandered a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning and lost to the Padres in 11 innings at Busch Stadium, 5-3. St. Louis was also defeated on Opening Day in 2009 after holding a lead entering the ninth inning, a 6-4 loss to the Pirates. Those are two of only three home losses that Tony La Russa's club has suffered since 2009, after taking a lead into the ninth inning.
PUJOLS GROUNDED IN OPENER
From Elias: Albert Pujols grounded into three double plays in Thursday's loss to the Padres, becoming the first major-league player to ever ground into three double plays in a season opener. (GIDPs have been recorded since 1933 in National League and since 1940 in the American League.).
ST. LOUIS SETS LIGHTNING RECORD FOR 30-GOAL SEASONS
From Elias: Martin St. Louis' 30th goal of the season was the game-winner for the Lightning in their 2-1 victory over the Penguins. St. Louis has reached the 30-goal mark in six of his ten seasons with Tampa Bay. That gives him sole possession of the Lightning record for most 30-goal seasons by one player. Vincent Lecavalier, who assisted on St. Louis' game-winning goal, has had five seasons of 30 or more goals for Tampa Bay.
COMEAU BEATS HIS FAVORITE TARGET
From Elias: The Islanders beat the Rangers 6-2 at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday, breaking the game open by outscoring their local rival 4-0 in the second period. Blake Comeau began the Islanders' four-goal second period when he beat Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot at the 3:24 mark. Comeau has scored 11 career goals versus Lundqvist, more than twice as many as he's scored against any other NHL goaltender. The only other NHL player who's scored as many goals against Lundqvist as Comeau is Sidney Crosby (15).
CHIMERA SCORES IN OVERTIME
From Elias: Former Blue Jacket Jason Chimera scored the fourth overtime goal of his NHL career and his first OT goal this season to earn the Capitals a 4-3 win against Columbus on Thursday. Chimera is the seventh different Caps player to score an overtime goal this season, tying them with the Thrashers and Lightning for the league high.
THRASHERS WIN THIRD 1-0 ROAD GAME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
From Elias: Nik Antropov's goal just past the midway mark of the third period was the only scoring in Atlanta's 1-0 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. It was only the third 1-0 road win for the Thrashers in their 11 seasons in the NHL. The others were at New Jersey on Dec. 23, 2005 and in Tampa on Oct. 9, 2006.
MASON STOPS 43 SHOTS IN 1-0 WIN
From Elias: Thrashers goaltender Chris Mason stopped all 43 shots on goal by the Flyers in his 1-0 victory in Philadelphia. Mason's 43 saves were the most by an NHL goaltender in a 1-0 regulation win since March 2, 2008, when Craig Anderson stopped 53 shots to lead the Panthers to a 1-0 victory over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
LUPUL STAYS HOT
From Elias: Joffrey Lupul scored two goals and assisted on another for the Maple Leafs in their 4-3 shootout win in Boston. Lupul did not score a goal in the first seven games he played after the Leafs acquired him from Anaheim in a trade on February 9 but he leads Toronto with eight goals in 17 games since then (Feb. 26 to date).
ROOKIE LEADS SENATORS PAST PANTHERS
From Elias: Senators rookie Colin Greening recorded his first two-goal game in Ottawa's 4-1 road win against the Panthers. Greening is the third Senators rookie to score two goals in a game this season, joining teammates Erik Condra (2) and Bobby Butler. Only two other NHL teams have had three different rookies notch multiple-goal games this season: Carolina (Jon Matsumoto, Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner) and Edmonton (Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi).