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Brad Richards' Three-Point Night
From Elias: Brad Richards scored one goal and assisted on two more as the Rangers started the 2014 playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Flyers on Thursday. Exactly 20 years earlier, on April 17, 1994, Mark Messier and Sergei Zubov each tallied one goal and two assists as the Rangers began their run to the Stanley Cup with a 6-0 win in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Islanders. Since then, Richards is only the third Rangers player to register three points in the team's first game of a playoff year, joining Michael Nylander, who did that in 2007 (at Atlanta), and Scott Gomez, who did so in both 2008 (at New Jersey) and 2009 (at Washington).
Second Straight 1-0 Game For Braves And Phillies
From Elias: The Phillies beat the Braves, 1-0, at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday afternoon, after Atlanta won by the same score when the teams played on Wednesday night. It's the first time that the Braves and Phillies have played consecutive 1-0 games against each other (regardless of which team won) since the rivalry began in 1883, though on Sept. 5, 1913, the teams played a doubleheader in Boston with Philadelphia winning the first game, 1-0, and the second game ending in a ten-inning 0-0 tie.
The Phillies and Braves were not the first major-league teams to play back-to-back 1-0 games in a series this season. The Cardinals and Reds did so in the first two games of their season-opening series in Cincinnati, with St. Louis winning on March 31 and the Reds prevailing two days later.
Late-Inning RBIs Are A Rarity For Revere
From Elias: Ben Revere drove in the run in the Phillies' 1-0 win over the Braves with a two-out single in the eighth inning. It was only Revere's second RBI in 119 plate appearances in the seventh inning or later during his two seasons with the Phillies. The first one was also a tiebreaking and game-winning RBI on an eighth-inning single at Citizens Bank Park, against the Cardinals nearly one year ago (April 21, 2013).
Three Wins In Three Games For Kyle Gibson
From Elias: Kyle Gibson pitched eight innings and did not allow a run in his victory against the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon. Gibson has won all three of his games for the Twins this season and he's sporting a 0.93 earned-run average, having given up only two earned runs in 19¿ innings. Since the original Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota in 1961, the only other Twins pitchers to win their first three starts of a season while posting an ERA below 1.00 were Bill Krueger in 1992 (0.75 ERA) and Francisco Liriano in 2006 (0.56 ERA).
Twins Draw Eight Walks In One Inning
From Elias: The Twins scored six runs on only one hit in the bottom of the eighth inning as they came from behind to beat the Blue Jays, 9-5, in the second half of their split doubleheader at Target Field. Minnesota's six-run "rally" benefited from the almost total inability of Toronto pitchers to throw strikes in that inning, as Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos and J.A. Happ combined to walk eight Twins batters. (Santos threw gasoline on the fire by uncorking three run-scoring wild pitches in that inning.) Minnesota was the first big-league team to draw eight walks in one inning since April 19, 1996, when the Texas Rangers did that as they scored 16 runs in the eighth inning of a 26-7 win against the Orioles. The eight walks by Baltimore pitchers in that inning were issued by Armando Benitez, Jesse Orosco and infielder Manny Alexander.
Kinsler Homers And Knocks In Four Runs From #1 Spot
From Elias: Detroit's leadoff batter, Ian Kinsler, homered and drove in four runs in the Tigers' 7-5 victory over the Indians. Over the last four seasons, the only other game in which a Detroit player hit a home run and recorded at least four runs batted in from the first slot in the batting order was on May 13 last year, when leadoff man Andy Dirks hit a grand slam off the Astros' Bud Norris.
Chisenhall's .522 BA Through Seven Games
From Elias: Designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall, batting ninth in the order for the Indians, went 4 for 4 in Cleveland's loss to the Tigers on Thursday. Chisenhall has posted a .522 batting average (12 hits in 23 at-bats) while hitting safely in all seven games he's played this season. Over the last 80 years, the only other Indians players to record at least 20 at-bats and a batting average over .500 through their first seven games of a season were Sandy Alomar, Jr. in 1997 (.581, 18 for 31), Bill Glynn in 1954 (.522, 12 for 23) and Lou Boudreau in 1948 (.517, 15 for 29).
Cano Finally Hits His First Home Run In 2014
From Elias: Robinson Cano, who hit 27 home runs for the Yankees last season and then signed with the Mariners as a free agent in December, hit his first home run this season in Seattle's loss to the Rangers on Thursday. Four of the 29 other major-league players who hit at least 25 home runs last season remain homerless this season: Adrian Beltre, Chris Carter, Edwin Encarnacion and J.J. Hardy.
Figueroa's Second MLB Victory Comes Day After His First
From Elias: Rangers reliever Pedro Figueroa, who recorded the first win of his major-league career on Wednesday night when Texas staged a ninth-inning rally to beat the Mariners, posted his second victory in two days when the Rangers beat Seattle again on Thursday afternoon. Figueroa is the first pitcher to register his first two wins in the majors on consecutive days since another Ranger, Robbie Ross, did so on April 14 and 15, 2012.
Ryu Unscored Upon For Fourth Time In Five Starts
From Elias: Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings in his win at San Francisco on Thursday. Ryu allowed eight runs in two innings in his loss to the Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 4, but he hasn't given up a run in any of his four other starts this season. Ryu made 30 starts for the Dodgers as a rookie last season and the only one of them in which he didn't allow a run was his two-hit shutout against the Angels on May 28.
First-Time First Baseman Takes Part In Triple Play
From Elias: The Yankees turned an around-the-horn triple play in the second inning of their game against the Rays, with Sean Rodriguez hitting a grounder to Yangervis Solarte who stepped on third base for the first out and then threw to Brian Roberts for out #2, with Roberts relaying the ball to first baseman Scott Sizemore to complete the TP. Sizemore might be excused for thinking a triple play is a routine occurrence, since it came in his first big-league game as a first baseman. But since 1900, the only other first baseman to participate in a triple play in his first major-league game at that position is the Indians' Carlos Santana on April 3, 2011.
Morneau's Off To A Good Start In His First Season With Rockies
From Elias: Justin Morneau drove in the first run for the Rockies in their 3-1 win at San Diego. Morneau, who's in his first season with Colorado, is hitting .346 (18 for 52) in the 15 games he's played for the Rockies. Morneau has been in the major leagues since 2003, but the only other season in which his batting average has been that high through his first 15 games was 2005, when he was hitting .390 for the Twins at that juncture (23 for 59). Morneau finished that season with a .239 batting average.
Wainwright Pitches A Two-Hit Shutout
From Elias: Adam Wainwright pitched a two-hitter as he went the distance for the Cardinals in their 8-0 win at Washington. Over the last 35 years the only other St. Louis pitchers to record a shutout, before the end of April, in which they allowed no more than two hits were Jose DeLeon in 1989 (April 21 vs. Montreal, two hits) and Kyle Lohse in 2011 (April 21 vs. Washington, two hits).
Bucs Go Deep Four Times
From Elias: Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison, Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez each hit a home run for the Pirates in their 11-2 win over the Brewers. The Pirates have hit 23 home runs this season but more than 75 percent of them (18 of 23) have come in only four games: April 4 versus St. Louis (three homers), April 9 against the Cubs in Chicago (five), April 14 at Cincinnati (six) and Thursday against Milwaukee (four). Pittsburgh is the only major-league team that's hit at least four home runs in a game more than once this season.
Another Big Strikeout Game For James Shields
From Elias: James Shields recorded 12 strikeouts and allowed only one run in eight innings in his win at Houston. Shields notched a dozen or more strikeouts in a game six times when he pitched for the Rays (with a high of 15 in his final game with Tampa Bay, on Oct. 2, 2012 vs. Baltimore), but this was his first game with more than 10 Ks for the Royals. He's the first Kansas City pitcher to strike out as many as 12 batters in one game since Zack Greinke fanned 12 at Cincinnati on June 13, 2010.
Lester: Nine Strikeouts, No Walks
From Elias: Jon Lester struck out nine batters and did not issue a walk as he pitched eight innings in his 3-1 victory over the White Sox. Lester is the first Red Sox pitcher to have a walk-free game in which he pitched at least eight innings and registered eight or more strikeouts since Josh Beckett racked up 11 strikeouts in eight innings in a win at Houston on July 3, 2011. Lester had one previous performance of that kind in his major-league career, in a complete-game win versus the Twins in Boston on May 20, 2010 (9 innings, 9 strikeouts).