Special to ESPN.com
GORTAT ESCAPES SUPERMAN'S SHADOW IN PHOENIX
From Elias: Martin Gortat scored 20 points and contributed 16 rebounds to the Suns' 108-98 win at Minnesota. It was Gortat's sixth 20-point game since joining Phoenix in December; he never scored more than 16 points in 175 games with Orlando. Wednesday night marked the sixth time that Gortat recorded at least 15 rebounds in a game for the Suns, a total he reached only twice for the Magic.
PERKINS HITS THE BOARDS IN OKLAHOMA CITY
From Elias: On a similar note, Kendrick Perkins pulled down 17 rebounds in support of his high-scoring teammates, Kevin Durant (29 points) and Russell Westbrook (26), in the Thunder's 112-108 win over the Clippers. Perkins had as many as 17 rebounds only twice in his eight seasons with the Celtics (442 games).
AMAR'E FINDS A WAY TO HELP
From Elias: On a night when his shooting eye betrayed him, Amar'e Stoudemire made only seven of 19 shots from the field but matched his season-high of seven assists in the Knicks' 97-92 win at Philadelphia. Stoudemire has as many seven-assist games in his first season with the Knicks as he recorded in 516 games over eight seasons with the Suns.
PACERS PUT ON OFFENSIVE CLINIC IN WIN OVER WIZARDS
From Elias: All five Pacers starters scored at least 15 points and shot 50 percent or better from the field in a 136-112 win over the Wizards. The last set of Pacers starters to do so included Ric Smits, Detlef Schrempf, and Reggie Miller and it was also against Washington, when the team was known as the Bullets (Jan. 19, 1993).
STUCKEY STARS IN WIN OVER NETS
From Elias: Rodney Stuckey scored 22 points and added 10 assists in the Pistons' 116-109 win over the Nets. It was Stuckey's third 20-10 game since December; he had only one in 228 NBA games prior to that.
HELTON REACHES MILESTONE AT COORS FIELD
From Elias: Todd Helton hit a three-run home run in the Rockies' 7-5 win over the Dodgers that gave him a total of 752 RBI at Coors Field. Helton is the first player is 20 years to reach the 750-RBI mark at any stadium. The last player to do so was George Brett, who finished his career with 839 RBI at Kauffman Stadium.
LINCECUM FANS 13 IN GIANTS' WIN
From Elias: Tim Lincecum struck out 13 batters in seven innings in the Giants' 8-4 victory at San Diego. It was the 27th time the Lincecum fanned 10 or more batters in a game, tying Jason Schmidt for the second-most such games by a Giants pitcher since 1900, one short of Christy Mathewson's total.
A TRIPLE SHORT OF A CYCLE? PUH-LEEEZE STOP!
From Elias: Ryan Howard went 4-for-4 with a home run in the Phillies' 10-7 win over the Mets. But Howard's outstanding night at the plate was trivialized from coast to coast in stories that said he'd fallen "a triple short of a cycle." As we've pointed out in the past, that's like saying a bowler fell one pin short of converting the 7-10 split.
For the record, there have been 142 cycles during baseball's expansion era (that is, since 1961). During that same time, there have been 8830 instances of a player "falling a triple short of a cycle" (roughly one per 12 games), and 10 already this season including three on Wednesday night alone. In other words, it's virtually an everyday occurrence. Alex Rodriguez has done it 38 times. So enough already, it's no big deal.
JAYS GETS OFFENSE FROM AN UNUSUAL SPOT
From Elias: Yunel Escobar went 3-for-3 and his replacement, John McDonald, singled in his only at-bat in the Blue Jays' 5-3 win over the A's. It was the first time in seven years that Toronto's shortstops went 4-for-4 or better in one game. Chris Woodward went 4-for-4 against the Twins in April 2004.
RANGERS ARE SERIOUS DEFENDERS OF A.L. TITLE
From Elias: The Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners with a 7-3 win over Felix Hernandez on Wednesday, improving their record to 6-0. Texas is only the fourth defending league champion in the last 75 years to win their first six games. The others were the Giants in 2003 (a 7-0 start), the Indians in 1998, and the Tigers in 1985.
RAYS REMAIN WINLESS AND PUNCHLESS
From Elias: The Rays fell to 0-5 with a 5-1 loss to the Angels, becoming only the second team in major-league history to lose their first five games one season after posting their league's best record. The good news for Rays fans is that the other team to do so was the 1905 AL Boston team, which rebounded to finish the season with a winning record (78-74).
On the other hand, Tampa Bay's offense continued to sputter. The Rays have totaled seven runs on 21 hits through five games, becoming the fourth team ever to lose each of their first five games with so few runs and hits. The other three teams all lost more than 110 games for the season: the 2003 Tigers (43-119), 1963 Mets (51-111), and 1916 Philadelphia A's (36-117).
PIRATES EXCEL IN EARLY-SEASON ROAD TRIPS
From Elias: The Pirates defeated the Cardinals, 3-1, to conclude their road trip with four wins in six games heading into tomorrow's home opener against the Rockies. How's this for a team that hasn't posted a winning record since 1992: The Bucs have returned home with a .500 or better record in 10 of the last 11 seasons that they opened on the road.
BALTIMORE, KANSAS CITY, AND PITTSBURGH ALL WINNING
From Elias: As was the case two days ago, the Orioles (4-1), Royals (4-2), and Pirates (4-2) are all at least two games above the .500 mark. Prior to the start of the 2011 season, that hadn't happened since May 1997, when only three players on those teams' current rosters had made their major-league debut: Vlad Guerrero and Derrek Lee of the Orioles and Jason Kendall of the Royals.
BUCK CLEARS THE BASES AGAIN
From Elias: John Buck, who hit a grand-slam home run on opening day, cleared the bases with a triple to cap a four-run Marlins rally en route to a 7-4 victory over the Nationals. Buck has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats with the bags full, producing a total of 17 RBIs on those ABs.
SORIA FOLDS, WHITE SOX RALLY TO VICTORY
From Elias: The White Sox scored four runs during a two-out rally in the ninth inning en route to a 10-7, 12-inning victory at Kansas City. Chicago collected four hits and a walk after Joakim Soria retired the first two batters in the ninth. It was the first time that Soria had ever allowed five consecutive batters to reach on a hit or walk. He hadn't allowed even four in a row since May 2009.
AVILAL DRIVES IN 5 RUNS IN WIN OVER O'S
From Elias: Alex Avila drove in five runs in the Tigers' 7-3 victory at Baltimore. Avila was the first Tigers catch to post a 5-RBI game since Ivan Rodriguez did it five times over a span of two seasons (2006-2007).
INDIANS GO 2-FOR-2 VS. RED SOX
From Elias: The Indians defeated the Red Sox, 8-4. On the heels of Tuesday's 3-1 victory, it marked only the fourth time in the last 33 seasons that Cleveland won its first two games against Boston. The Indians also did that in 2004, 2000, and 1996 when they won their first 11 games against the Sox.
REDS ROUT ASTROS WITHOUT A HOMER
From Elias: The Reds banged out 14 hits in a 12-4 win over the Astros. That was the highest run total that Cincinnati has ever posted in one game at Great American Ball Park without benefit of a home run.
GRABNER PASSES TROTS IN ISLES' RECORD BOOK
From Elias: Michael Grabner scored both goals for the Islanders in their 3-2 loss at Boston. Grabner's goals, his 32nd and 33rd of the season, moved him past Bryan Trottier (32 goals in 1975-1976) into second place on the list of most goals in one season by an Islanders rookie, behind Mike Bossy, who scored 53 goals as a freshman in 1977-1978.
KOVALCHUK JOINS THE 700 CLUB
From Elias: Ilya Kovalchuk, playing in his 700th NHL game, scored one goal and assisted on another to help the Devils beat the Maple Leafs, 4-2. Kovalchuk's second point, an assist on Mattias Tedenby's second-period goal, was his 700th career point. Kovalchuk is one of three active players born in the former Soviet Union who's scored at least 700 points in the NHL. The others are Alexei Kovalev (1023) and Sergei Gonchar (711).
WARD SETS TEAM SAVES RECORD
From Elias: Cam Ward set a Hartford/Carolina franchise record for saves in a shutout when he stopped 42 shots on goal in his 3-0 win against the Red Wings on Wednesday. Ward earned a share of the old team record (40 saves) with his 1-0 win at Buffalo last month (March 15), tying a mark set by three former Whalers: Mike Liut (April 1985 vs. Washington), Kay Whitmore (March 1992 at Winnipeg), and Jason Muzzatti (April 1996 at New Jersey).
VARLAMOV RESUMES INTRADIVISION DOMINATION
From Elias: Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov recorded his 11th win of the season and his first victory since February 20 by beating the Panthers, 5-2, on Wednesday night. Varlamov has allowed two or fewer goals in every one of his wins this season. Seven of his 11 wins have come against three of the Caps' four Southeast Division rivals: Carolina (3), Florida (2), and Tampa Bay (2).
TOEWS BREAK OUT AT KEY MOMENT
From Elias: Jonathan Toews ended his personal four-game point-scoring drought with an overtime goal that gave the Blackhawks a crucial 4-3 win against the Blues. Toews' string of four consecutive games without a point matched his career high, done twice before (Nov. 2007 and Nov. 2010).
IGINLA RUNS THE 4x40
From Elias: Jarome Iginla reached the 40-goal mark for the fourth time in his 14-season NHL career when he scored the first of his two goals against the Oilers on Wednesday night. The only other active NHL players with at least four seasons of 40-plus goals are Teemu Selanne (7), Ilya Kovalchuk (6), Alex Ovechkin (5), Dany Heatley (4), and Mark Recchi (4). Iginla's four 40-goal seasons also tie him with Joe Nieuwendyk for the Flames franchise record.