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DURANT AGAIN FIRES BLANKS FROM DOWNTOWN
From Elias: Kevin Durant failed to connect on any of his eight three-point field-goal attempts in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals, after he had gone 0-for-5 from beyond the arc in Game Two. Only two other players have taken 13-or-more three-point attempts over two consecutive playoff games without making any of them; Allen Iverson went 0-for-13 over two games for the 76ers against the Bucks in 2001, and Kerry Kittles went 0-for-14 over two games for the Nets against the Celtics in 2002.
The Thunder missed its first 16 three-point attempts in Game Three before Russell Westbrook connected on a too-little-too-late jumper in the game's final minute. Bad as it was, that was not an NBA record for consecutive three-pointers missed by one team in one game; in fact, it wasn't even the longest streak in this year's playoffs. Back on April 24, the Magic missed 18 consecutive three-point attempts in a first-round game against the Hawks.
BAUTISTA, WITH 18 HRs IN 37 GAMES, JOINS A SHORT LIST
From Elias: Jose Bautista homered twice in the Blue Jays' win over the Astros, lifting his total to 18 homers in just 37 games this season. (Remember, Bautista has missed eight of his team's 45 games.) Only four other players in major-league history have hit as many as 18 home runs in the first 37 games in a season in which they played: Cy Williams (18) for the 1923 Phillies, Mark McGwire (a major-league record 20) in 2000, Barry Bonds (19) in 2000 and Albert Pujols (19) in 2006.
CUBS, DRESSED LIKE IT'S 1918, END A LONG SCHNEID
From Elias: The Cubs scored eight runs in the eighth inning, overturning a 3-1 Boston lead and cruising to a 9-3 victory at Fenway Park -- their first regular-season win at Fenway since a 9-1 win over the Boston Braves on May 24, 1915. It marked the first time since Sept. 24, 2009 -- a 3-2 win in San Francisco -- that the Cubs have won a road game in which they had trailed going into the eighth inning; coming into Saturday, they had been the only major-league team that had not won a road game in that manner since the start of last season.
LEE, FACING EX-MATES, FANS 10
From Elias: Cliff Lee struck out 10 batters over eight innings to lead his new team, the Phillies, to a 2-0 victory over his most recent team, the Rangers. It's only the second time in major-league history that a pitcher has reached double-digit strikeouts against the team for which he had pitched in the World Series the previous year. Fifty years ago -- on June 28, 1961 -- Ryne Duren of the Los Angeles Angels (then a first-year expansion team) struck out 12 Yankees batters in a 5-3 victory at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, eight months after pitching for the Yankees against the Pirates in the World Series.
LINCECUM DOMINATES A's, BUT THEY MAKE HIM WORK
From Elias: Tim Lincecum had a dominating performance against the Athletics, tossing a three-hit shutout with no walks, as the Giants took a 3-0 decision from their Bay Area rivals. More remarkable, though, is that he threw 133 pitches in the complete-game victory -- the highest total in one game in the majors this season. Excluding two games last season in which pitchers exceeded that total when trying to throw no-hitters (Edwin Jackson threw 149 pitches in his no-hitter; Brandon Morrow threw 137 in a no-hit bid that was spoiled with two outs in the ninth), you have to go back to June 2, 2009, when Toronto's Roy Halladay threw 133 pitches in a 6-4 win over the Angels, to find the last major-leaguer to throw as many pitches in one game.
And to find the last major-leaguer to throw so many pitches in a game in which he did not walk a batter, turn back to May 17, 2005, when the Yankees' Carl Pavano threw 133 pitches in a five-hit, no-walk shutout at Seattle, his only complete game during his four years with the Bombers.
LEFTY-LEFTY SUITS GRANDERSON JUST FINE
From Elias: Curtis Granderson wrote the name "Chris Capuano" in his book, right below the "Jon Lester" and "David Price" entries he made earlier in the week, as the Yankees center fielder continued his home-run barrage against left-handers in his team's 7-3 win over the Mets. In his first at-bat against a left-handed pitcher this season, Granderson homered off Detroit's Phil Coke -- and he hasn't stopped since then; Saturday's homer gave him eight in 47 at-bats vs. left-handed pitchers this season.
No major-league player -- lefty, righty or switch-hitter -- has started a season with eight homers in his first 47 at-bats vs. lefties since Ryan Braun, a right-handed batter, did it four years ago. And you have to go back to 2002 to find the last big-league left-handed batter to hit as many homers in his first 47 at-bats of a season against lefties. (Barry Bonds, the year after his 73-homer season, hit nine homers in his first 47 at-bats vs. lefties in 2002.)
HOLLIDAY THE LATEST DH TO LIFT CARDINALS
From Elias: Matt Holliday's two-run eighth-inning homer broke a scoreless tie and the Cardinals went on to a 3-0 win in Kansas City. Holliday was the Cardinals' DH on Saturday, and his performance underscored a little-known fact: In 106 games played in American League parks since interleague play began 14 years ago, Cardinals DHs have a .321 batting average and 83 RBIs, each the highest among all National League teams. No other National League team's DHs have produced a batting average as high as .280.
The three players who have had the most DH starts for the Cardinals have all contributed to their mark: Albert Pujols has batted .360 in 12 starts, Scott Spiezio .333 in 11 starts, and Chris Duncan .333 in nine starts.
GUERRERO's 7TH STRAIGHT GAME WITH 2+ HITS
From Elias: Vladimir Guerrero enjoyed his seventh consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 in the Orioles' 8-3 triumph over the Nationals. Seven straight multi-hit games is something never achieved by many of the legends of the game, including 3000-hit-club members George Brett, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro, and the all-time Orioles pantheon of Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson.
BUEHRLE: INTERLEAGUE PLAY's BIGGEST WINNER
From Elias: Mark Buehrle lifted his all-time record to 24-6 in interleague games, breaking the record of 23 interleague wins that he had shared with Jamie Moyer. For sure, Buehrle has been around for a long time, yet 15 other pitchers have started more interleague games than the Chicago lefty (who has started 37). Andy Pettitte and Livan Hernandez lead that list, with 49 apiece.
SOX HOLD ANOTHER TEAM HITLESS IN A KEY CATEGORY
From Elias: Mark Buehrle and Tony Pena held the Dodgers hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position, which went a long way toward a 9-2 win for the White Sox. It was the fourth time in the last five games that White Sox pitchers have held opponents without a hit in those situations.
PINEDA: SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST
From Elias: Michael Pineda is on a roll: He earned a win by throwing seven scoreless innings against the Padres on Saturday, did not allow a hit with runners in scoring position and did not allow a hit to a right-handed batter. He also did all of that in his last start, against the Twins. Summary for the last two games: two wins, 14 innings, no runs, five hits, one walk, 16 strikeouts, opponents are 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and right-handed opponents are 0-for-23.
MATHER PRODUCES FROM NINE HOLE
From Elias: Right fielder Joe Mather, making just his sixth start of the season for Atlanta, had four hits and four RBIs, including a go-ahead double in the top of the final inning, as the Braves outlasted the Angels, 5-4, in 12 innings in Anaheim. Mather was batting ninth in the Atlanta lineup, becoming the Braves' first nine-hole starter to have at least four hits and at least four RBIs in a game since June 8, 1959, when Lew Burdette went 4-for-4 with four RBIs while earning the victory in the Milwaukee Braves' 9-5 win over the Cubs.
LEFTY MORRISON BESTS LEFTY PRICE
From Elias: Logan Morrison's two-run double off David Price got the Marlins headed to a 5-3 victory over the Rays. It was the lefty-swinging Morrison's first extra-base hit off a southpaw this season, though through Saturday's game, Morrison's batting average vs. lefties was .323 (10 for 31). And in victimizing Price, Morrison joined a select group: lefty batters have hit .180 vs. Price this season (11 for 61), with only Curtis Granderson (home run) and Adam Lind (double) reaching the Tampa Bay lefty for extra bases.
TOMLIN STIFLES REDS
From Elias: Josh Tomlin lifted his record to 6-1, tossing seven innings in the Indians' 2-1 victory over the Reds. Cincinnati had only a few scoring chances against him, and Tomlin held strong, holding the Reds hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position. Over Tomlin's nine starts this season, opponents have only three hits in 29 at-bats in those situations, a .103 batting average. Among American League pitchers who have made at least seven starts, only the Yankees' Freddy Garcia (.098) has held batters to a punier batting average with runners in scoring position.
LIGHTNING STRIKING AGAIN
From Elias: The Lightning overcame a 3-0 deficit at the end of the first period to beat the Bruins, 5-3, in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final. The last NHL team that won a Conference Final or Stanley Cup Final game in which it trailed by a three-goal margin was Carolina in Game One of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final against Edmonton. (The Hurricanes won, 5-4, after trailing 3-0 with under three minutes remaining in the second period.) The Oilers' starting goaltender in that game was Dwayne Roloson, who was also Tampa Bay's starter on Saturday afternoon, but Roloson did not finish either game. He suffered a knee injury late in the third period of that game in 2006 (knocking him out for the remainder of the series), and he was pulled from Saturday's game when the Bruins made the score 3-0 with 2:02 left in the first period.