Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Pirates scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Brewers 4-3 on Thursday, completing a four-game sweep of Milwaukee and thereby avoiding a dubious team record. The Pirates had played 77 consecutive series of three or more games without sweeping their opponent, equaling the franchise mark set from 1950 to 1953. It was the longest streak in the majors since the Royals had a run of 99 series (three or more games) without a sweep that ended in 1998.
• Jose Castillo drove in 14 runs in the Pirates' four wins against the Brewers, who scored only eight runs in the series. Not only was the last player to drive in more runs than the opposing team in a series of four or more games a Pirates player, but he also did it against the Brewers. Jason Bay had 10 RBI when Pittsburgh swept four games from Milwaukee in July 2004, a series in which the Brewers scored eight runs.
• The Tigers avoided a four-game sweep by overcoming a 5-0 deficit in their 7-6 walkoff victory over the Yankees. Over the last 20 years, only one team that had the best outright record in the majors, as the Tigers do, was swept at home in a series of four or more games. (The Blue Jays swept four games from the Orioles in June 1997.)
• Detroit was the first team to erase a deficit of at least five runs to avoid a sweep of four or more games since the Twins did it against the White Sox on Sept. 24, 2000. Only eight other teams in major-league history did so with a walkoff victory.
• The Indians defeated the White Sox 12-8 for their third consecutive victory after the White Sox won the series opener 11-0. It was the first time in 18 years that a team rebounded to win the last three games of a series after dropping the opener by a double-digit shutout margin. The last team to do so was the Indians against the Red Sox in the final series of the 1988 season.
• Ron Belliard fouled off five pitches with a 1-2 count before hitting a three-run, game-winning homer in the seventh inning of the Indians' victory. Belliard was the first player to stay alive with at least five foul balls immediately preceding a home run in a late-inning pressure situation since Derrek Lee hit a 10th-inning walkoff homer against the Mets on May 11, 2005.
• Neither team's pitchers issued a walk in the A's 4-0 win over the Twins on Thursday night. That in itself isn't unusual; there were six other such games already this season. But what made this one rare was the home plate umpire, Jerry Crawford, who hadn't been behind the plate for a walkless game since 1992 -- a span of 408 games in which at least one batter drew a base on balls.
The last time Crawford umpired the plate in such a game, he had help from Cardinals starter Bob Tewksbury, who had nearly as many wins (16) as he had walks (20) in 1992.
• Nowitzki's increase of 39 points from his 11-point performance in Game 4 was the second largest in consecutive games in NBA postseason history. The record belongs to Billy Cunningham of the 76ers, who scored 50 points against the Bucks in 1970, two days after Milwaukee held him to 10.
• Nowitzki scored 15 consecutive Mavs points over a span of less than four minutes in the fourth quarter, during which time the Suns scored only five points. The last player to score 15 in a row for his team in the fourth quarter of a postseason victory was Allen Iverson for the Sixers in a victory over the Raptors in 2001.
• The Hurricanes were the ninth team to win Game 7 of an NHL postseason series after trailing at the end of the second period. But they were the first to do so in a conference finals or the Stanley Cup finals since 1979, when the Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit after two periods to beat the Bruins 5-4 and advance to the Stanley Cup finals, in which they defeated the Rangers.
• Doug Janik, who scored the Sabres' first goal, is only the fourth player to score his first NHL goal in the deciding game of a playoff series. The others were John Byce (1990), Grant Martin (1987) and Poul Popiel (1968).
• The Edmonton and Carolina franchises have never met in the NHL playoffs, but they did face each other in the postseason in each of the final two years of the World Hockey Association. The New England Whalers, who evolved into the NHL's Hurricanes, beat the Oilers 4 games to 1 in the first round of the 1978 WHA playoffs. The Oilers beat the Whalers in seven games in the second round of the 1979 AVCO World Trophy playoffs.
• Incidentally, the Oilers did not face the Hurricanes during the 2005-2006 regular season. This will be only the second time since the NHL took sole possession of the Stanley Cup in 1927 that the teams who met in the finals didn't play each other during the regular season. The other time was in 1995, when the Red Wings and Devils played for the Cup. That season was shortened to 48 games due to labor problems, and the schedule was adjusted so that no interconference games were played.
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