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BULLS AND CELTICS TIP-OFF WITH BOTH 30+ OVER .500
From Elias: The Bulls' 97-81 win over the Celtics was only the second game between those teams in which each club entered play with a record at least 30 games above .500 (Chicago 57-20, Boston 54-23). Their first such game was played on March 31, 1991 at Boston Garden, when Chicago entered with a 53-17 record and Boston was 51-20. The Celtics won that game in double overtime, 135-132, with Larry Bird leading the winners with 34 points, while Michael Jordan scored 37 points and Scottie Pippen added 35 for the Bulls.
DERRICK ROSE PASSES 600-ASSIST MARK
From Elias: Derrick Rose handed out eight assists against the Celtics on Thursday night to increase his season total to 606, a career high. Rose is the sixth player in Bulls history to hand out at least 600 assists in a season, but none of those players had more than one such season for Chicago. The highest single-season assist totals in franchise history belong to Guy Rodgers (908 in 1966-67), Ennis Whatley (662 in 1983-84), Michael Jordan (650 in 1988-89), Norm Van Lier (636 in 1976-77) and Clem Haskins (624 in 1969-70).
A CLEAN LOSS FOR THE CELTICS
From Elias: Boston was called for only 12 personal fouls in Thursday's loss to the Bulls. That's the Celtics' fewest personal fouls in a loss since Feb. 16, 1987, when they had nine in a defeat at Utah.
FAUSTO CARMONA: TEN RUNS IN FIRST START, NONE IN SECOND
From Elias: Fausto Carmona's performance in his second start of the season was quite a change from his disastrous start in the Indians' season opener, when he allowed 11 hits and was charged with 10 runs while pitching three-plus innings against the White Sox. In his second game of 2011 Carmona pitched seven innings while allowing only two hits and no runs.
He's the first major-league pitcher in 106 years to allow 10 or more runs in his first start of a season and then no runs in his next start, without relief appearances between those games. The last pitcher to do that was a guy named Dick Harley for the 1905 Boston Beaneaters. They didn't pick up the nickname "Braves" until several years later. Harley allowed 15 runs in a complete game on April 15 and then threw a four-hit shutout in his next start, four days later.
INDIANS WIN 1-0 BY SQUEEZING IN A RUN
From Elias: The Indians beat the Red Sox, 1-0, on a run that scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was only the second 1-0 game in the last 22 seasons in which the run scored on an RBI sac bunt or an RBI bunt single. Since 1990, the only other such game was the Angels' win at Oakland on July 4, 2003. David Eckstein's sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning plated the only run in that game.
TAMPA BAY'S STILL LOOKING FOR ITS FIRST LEAD
From Elias: The Rays' record fell to 0-6 this season with their 5-1 loss to the White Sox on Thursday. Not only are the Rays winless, but they haven't led in any of their six games. Since 1900, the only other major-league team to begin a season with six consecutive games in which they never had a lead was the 1992 Tigers.
JACKSON SETS CAREER HIGH FOR Ks IN WIN OVER RAYS
From Elias: Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter for Arizona against Tampa Bay on June 25 last year, faced the Rays for the first time since then and set a career high for strikeouts in one game (13) as he pitched the White Sox to a 5-1 victory on Thursday. Jackson reached double-figures in strikeouts in only one of his 131 career starts before he was traded to Chicago on July 30 last year, but he's done so in four of 13 starts for the White Sox.
0-5 ASTROS BEAT 5-0 REDS
From Elias: The Astros got their first win of the season after five consecutive losses and handed the Reds their first loss in six games this year with a 3-2 victory in Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon. It was the first time that a winless major-league team with at least five losses beat an undefeated team with five or more wins since 1987, when the 0-5 Dodgers defeated the 5-0 Giants.
PHILLIES' LEADOFF MEN HAVE A PERFECT DAY
From Elias: The Phillies' leadoff batter reached base safely in all eight innings in which they came to the plate in Thursday's game (seven singles and one walk). They were the first major-league team to have its leadoff man get on base via a hit, walk or being hit by a pitch in every inning in which they batted in one game since the Pirates did that in a 13-2 win over the Braves in Pittsburgh on May 13, 2007.
POLANCO: EIGHT RBIs IN THREE-GAME SERIES
From Elias: Placido Polanco drove in four runs as the Phillies captured the rubber game of their three-game series against the Mets with an 11-0 win at Citizens Bank Park. Polanco drove in eight runs in the three games, his highest total for one series of any length in his 14-year major-league career. Polanco's previous high for RBI in one series was six in a three-game season-opening set for the Phillies in Washington at this time last year (April 5-8, 2010).
A.J. BURNETT IS NO APRIL FOOL
From Elias: A.J. Burnett posted his second win in as many starts this season by pitching the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Twins on Thursday afternoon. In his three seasons with the Yankees, Burnett is 7-0 in 12 April starts and 18-24 in 56 starts in all other months combined. Burnett's current seven-game winning streak in April games ties him with Tim Lincecum and Chris Capuano for the longest active streak in the majors.
SECOND STRAIGHT GAME WITH SEVEN-PLUS Ks FOR CAHILL
From Elias: Trevor Cahill, who recorded eight strikeouts in his start in the A's season opener, struck out seven over eight innings in his second start, a 2-1 win against the Blue Jays in Toronto. It's only the second time in Cahill's three seasons in the majors that he's registered at least seven strikeouts in each of two consecutive starts. He did that against the Cardinals (June 20, seven Ks) and Pirates (June 26, 10 Ks) last season.
RYAN BRAUN'S FIRST-INNING HOME RUNS
From Elias: Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run in the first inning of the Brewers' 4-2 win over the Braves. Braun has hit 36 first-inning homers in his five seasons in the majors, the highest total over that span by any big-leaguer. Three other players have hit at least 30 first-inning home runs since the start of the 2007 season: Hanley Ramirez (34), Adrian Gonzalez (32) and Ryan Howard (30).
ROGERS HOPES TO IMPROVE ON HIS ROOKIE SEASON
From Elias: Esmil Rogers made a successful beginning to his sophomore year in the big leagues with a 5-1 win at Pittsburgh in which he pitched 7¿ innings and allowed only one run and four hits. Rogers' 6.13 earned-run average in 2010 was the highest for any rookie who pitched at least 60 innings last season.
ROAD WIN IN EXTRA INNINGS FOR THE NATS
From Elias: The Nationals picked up their first extra-inning win of the season, 5-3 at Florida, courtesy of Adam LaRoche's two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning. Washington had only one extra-inning win on the road last year and it came on the final day of the season in a 14-inning marathon against the Mets at Citi Field. The Nationals were tied with five other teams for the fewest extra-inning road victories in 2010.
PAVELEC TIES THRASHERS SHUTOUT RECORD
From Elias: Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec put a major crimp in the Rangers' drive for a playoff berth with a 3-0 win at Madison Square Garden. It was Pavelec's fourth shutout of 2010-11, tying the Thrashers single-season record done twice by Kari Lehtonen (2006-07 and 2007-08). Thursday's game marked Pavelec's first road win against a team outside Atlanta's own division since January 2, when he won at Montreal. Pavelec lost eight consecutive interdivision road decisions in the interim.
THREE-POINT GAME FOR OTTAWA ROOKIE
From Elias: Rookie Bobby Butler registered his first three-point game in the NHL with one goal and two assists in the Senators' 3-2 overtime win against the Canadiens. Over the last five seasons, the only other rookies to record three points in one game for Ottawa were Peter Regin (Jan. 21, 2010 vs. St. Louis) and Erik Karlsson (Mar. 27, 2010 vs. Florida).
MULTI-POINT GAMES INFREQUENT LATELY FOR ERIKSSON
From Elias: Loui Eriksson earned first-star honors with a goal and an assist for the Stars in their 4-2 win over the Avalanche. It was Eriksson's first two-point game since February 26 versus Nashville and only his third multiple-point performance in his last 36 games.