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GARNETT'S BIG GAME LEADS CELTICS
From Elias: Kevin Garnett led all players in both points (28) and rebounds (18), and made 13 of 20 field-goal attempts to lead the Celtics to a 97-81 triumph over the Heat. Only two players in Celtics history have collected as many points and as many rebounds in a playoff game while shooting at least 65 percent from the floor: Bill Russell (28 points, 26 rebounds, 12-of-18 shooting) in a loss to the Lakers in the 1966 Finals, and Dave Cowens (37 points, 21 rebounds, 16-of-24 shooting) in a win over the 76ers in the 1977 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
GAME THREE NOT SO BIG FOR BIG THREE
From Elias: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played nearly 23 minutes on the court together in Game Three of Saturday night, during which the Celtics out-scored the Heat, 53-34. In slightly over 25 minutes with at least one of those players on the bench, Miami out-scored Boston, 47-44.
And through the Heat's eight playoff games, in about 232½ minutes in which the Big Three has been on court together (accounting for about 60 percent of the playing time in those eight games), the Heat and its opponents are all tied up at 444 points apiece. With at least one of the Big Three out of the game, Miami has out-scored its opponents, 308-267.
RANDOLPH GETS A 20/20 GAME, A RARITY IN RECENT PLAYOFFS
From Elias: Zach Randolph had 21 points and 21 rebounds in the Grizzles' 101-93 comeback win over the Thunder. It was the first 20/20 game (points/rebounds) in the 2011 playoffs. In fact, in the last 150 NBA playoff games, there have been only three 20/20 games: Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer had the others last spring.
THERE HAVE BEEN 43 U.S. PRESIDENTS, BUT ONLY 29 MULTI-NO-HIT PITCHERS
From Elias: Justin Verlander became the 29th pitcher in major-league history to throw multiple no-hitters (in regular-season play, of course), and at 28, he became the first to do so before the age of 30 since Steve Busby threw his second no-hitter in 1974, at age 24. Verlander became the second Tigers pitcher to throw two no-hitters, joining Virgil Trucks, who tossed a pair in 1952. Trucks, by the way, finished that season, which included a pair of no-hitters, with a 5-19 record! The Tigers tied six other teams that have had a pair of pitchers throw multiple no-hitters: the Red Sox (Cy Young and Dutch Leonard), the Indians (Addie Joss and Bob Feller), the Dodgers (Carl Erskine and Sandy Koufax), the Reds (Johnny Vander Meer and Jim Maloney), the Cubs (Larry Corcoran and Ken Holtzman), and the White Sox (Frank Smith and Mark Buehrle).
VERLANDER BLANKS A TEAM THAT HAD VEXED HIM
From Elias: Verlander entered Saturday's game at Toronto having made five previous starts against the Jays, in which he had a 1-2 record and a 6.68 ERA. This marked the first time in major-league history (since the leagues began to keep track of ERA around 100 years ago) that a pitcher has no-hit an opposing team against which he had previously made at least five starts and had carried a career ERA of 6.00 or higher. Verlander broke a record that lasted less than a year. In fact, Verlander was a witness last July 26 when Tampa Bay's Matt Garza no-hit the Tigers in St. Petersburg; coming into that game, Garza had made six starts vs. Detroit and owned a career ERA of 5.85 against the Tigers.
GALLARDO & AXFORD 1-HIT CARDINALS
From Elias: Yovani Gallardo held the Cardinals to one hit over eight innings and John Axford pitched a one-two-three ninth in the Brewers' 4-0 victory in St. Louis. The Cardinals' lone safety came in the eighth inning off the bat of Daniel Descalso, who had just 24 previous hits in his big-league career. Over the past two seasons, there was only one other case of a major-league game in which a team had only one hit, and it was produced by someone who had fewer than 25 previous hits in the majors. You might recall that instance: an infield single by Cleveland's Jason Donald (who had 13 previous hits) spoiled a no-hit attempt by Detroit's Armando Galarraga last June 2.
IT's -30- FOR ETHIER'S STREAK
From Elias: Andre Ethier came to Citi Field on Saturday night owning a 30-game hitting streak (one game shy of the Dodgers record held since 1969 by Willie Davis), and with the prospect of batting against Chris Young, the Mets' slated starter against whom Ethier was 12-for-29 with six home runs. But when it was reported that Young "could not get loose" in pre-game warm-ups, Dillon Gee took the start and Gee and a pair of relievers held Ethier hitless. Oh, yes, New York won, 4-2.
The last four big-leaguers whose hitting streaks have reached 30 games have all seen those streaks end right there: Willy Taveras in 2006, Moises Alou in 2007, Ryan Zimmerman in 2009 and now Ethier. And the Dodgers wound up with a 13-17 record in the 30 games that comprised Ethier's streak.
YOUNG: 4-HIT GAME vs. YANKEES
From Elias: Michael Young's first-inning home run triggered a four-hit night and the Rangers went on to defeat the Yankees, 7-5. The Yankees have seen this movie: Young batted .346 against them in 2008, .314 in 2009, .306 in 2010 and he's now at .500 (10 for 20) against New York this season. But Saturday's game marked only the second time in his big-league career that he has had a four-hit game against the Yankees; he had a four-hit game against the Bombers in 2003 (getting three off Roger Clemens and the other off Mariano Rivera, no less, while his teammates Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira went hitless in the game).
HOWARD'S YOUNGEST HR VICTIM
From Elias: Ryan Howard hit the 260th home run of his big-league career, moving into second place on the all-time franchise list, surpassing Del Ennis. Howard's latest victim was Julio Teheran, who made his major-league debut for the Braves and became the Phillies star's youngest home run victim. Teheran was 234 days younger than was Jenrry Mejia when Howard homered off Mejia last September 10.
Teheran, at the age of 20 years, 100 days, was the youngest Braves player to make his major-league debut as a starting pitcher since Steve Avery came up in June of 1990. Avery (20 years, 60 days old) allowed eight runs in 2¿ innings in his debut, against the Reds.
FUKUDOME, REVERSING TYPE, GETS 2-OUT WALKOFF HIT
From Elias: Kosuke Fukudome's two-out RBI single snapped a 2-2 tie in the last of the ninth inning and the Cubs defeated the Reds, 3-2. That hit left Fukudome with three hits in six-at bats this season with two outs and runners in scoring position. Over his first three seasons with the Cubs (2008-2010), Fukudome went 22-for-162 in those situations, and his .136 batting average in those spots was the lowest among the 254 major-leaguers who had at least 100 at-bats in those situations.
UPTON'S DAY: A SUSPENSION, AN APPEAL, A 3-RUN BOMB
From Elias: B.J. Upton appealed the two-game suspension imposed on him early Saturday by Major League Baseball, and so he played in the Rays' game at Baltimore on Saturday afternoon. Why did Upton appeal? Doesn't think that the suspension was merited? Waiting for DNA tests to come back from the lab? Was he framed?
No, no, no. Upton simply said, "I like hitting in this park." We checked; he's right. With a three-run homer and two doubles in Tampa Bay's 8-2 win on Saturday, Upton now has nine homers and 27 RBIs in 38 games at Camden Yards (his highest home run and RBI totals in any visiting stadium). In his last 10 games there, Upton is batting .349 with five homers and 13 RBI.
DESMOND SHOWS WERTH HOW TO HIT VOLSTAD
From Elias: The Nationals jumped on Chris Volstad early (each of the game's first four batters singled) and Washington came away with a 5-2 victory over the Marlins in South Florida. One of those singles was stroked by Ian Desmond, who later tripled and now owns a .611 lifetime batting average (11 for 18) against the Florida right-hander. Only one active major-leaguer has a higher career batting average against a pitcher currently in the same division (minimum: 15 at-bats): Detroit's Magglio Ordonez is a .750 lifetime hitter (12 for 16) against Cleveland's Chad Durbin.
And perhaps Desmond inspired teammate Jayson Werth, who also provided one of those first-inning singles. Werth had been held hitless in each of his last 21 at-bats against Volstad; that had been the longest current streak of hitless at-bats by one active major-leaguer against a pitcher currently playing for a division rival.
INDIANS DON'T WAVER AGAINST WEAVER
From Elias: The Indians, facing Jered Weaver, made the most of their chances and downed the Angels, 4-3, in Anaheim on Saturday. Cleveland had only four at-bats with runners in scoring position against the Angels ace, but produced three hits (and a sacrifice fly). The Indians are batting .320 this season in runners-in-scoring-position situations, second in the majors behind the Braves, who are batting .326.
McCARTHY GOES ALL THE WAY IN 4-3 WALKOFF LOSS TO ROYALS
From Elias: The Royals scored in the bottom of the ninth to nip the Athletics, 4-3, but what is really noteworthy is that Oakland starter Brandon McCarthy was permitted to throw the complete game. For the second time this season, he suffered a complete-game loss.
You have to go back nearly seven years to find the last time that a major-league pitcher suffered a complete-game walkoff loss in which he allowed at least four runs. In that 2004 game it was Jon Garland of the White Sox, who yielded a walkoff homer to Orlando Cabrera of the Expos and suffered a 4-2 defeat.
LEGWAND & WARD KEEP PREDS ALIVE
From Elias: David Legwand and Joel Ward each scored two of the Predators' four goals in their Game Five win at Vancouver, keeping Nashville alive in its series against the Canucks. It was the third time in Predators history that they had two players each score twice in the same playoff game. The previous two instances came in the first two games of Nashville's series against San Jose in 2007: J.P. Dumont and Alexander Radulov in Game One, Dumont and Peter Forsberg in Game Two.
It was the first time in six tries that Nashville has won a playoff game in which it faced elimination. That leaves only two current NHL franchises that have never won such a game, but both the Thrashers and the blue Jackets have each played (and lost) only one elimination game.