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Lowry and DeRozan reminiscent of Kobe and Shaq
Well, well, well. We now have quite a series going in the Eastern Conference Finals, don't we? The Raptors evened the series at two games apiece by answering an impressive fourth-quarter run to come away the victors, 105-99, at Toronto. Once again, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan did most of the scoring for Team Canada. Lowry made 14 of 20 field-goal attempts and finished with 35 points, while his backcourt partner made 14 of 23 and generated 32 points.
Over the last 10 years, only one other pair of teammates each scored 30-plus points while shooting 60 percent or better from the floor in a playoff game. Boston's Paul Pierce (38 points, 14-of-19) and Ray Allen (32 points, 11-of-18) did it in a first-round win over New York in 2011. But only two other pairs of teammates have made that kind of contribution in a victory in either a Conference Finals or NBA Finals game. Kobe Bryant (36 points, 14-of-23) and Shaquille O'Neal (35 points, 12-of-19) did it for the Lakers against the Nets in Game 3 of the 2002 Finals, and Charles Barkley (43 points, 16-of-22) and Dan Majerle (34 points, 12-of-17) did it for the Suns against the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 5 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals.
Pavelski leads the Sharks to 3-2 series lead
Joe Pavelski scored his 11th and 12th goals of the 2016 playoffs to power the Sharks to a 6-3 win over the Blues and a three-games-to-two lead in the Western Conference Final. It was his third two-goal game of this year's playoffs, with one coming in each of San Jose's three series. Pavelski has tied the Sharks record for multiple-goal games in one playoff year which he himself had set in 2010, and in three consecutive games, no less! Pavelski is now tied with Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov for the most multiple-goal games in this year's playoffs.
Joe Thornton tied his career high for assists in a playoff game by helping to set up three of the Sharks' six goals. Thornton has earned 14 assists in the 2016 playoffs, tying teammate Logan Couture for the high in this postseason and matching the career best for one playoff year that he established with San Jose in 2011. Thornton's final assist in Monday's game was the 90th playoff assist of his 18-year NHL career. Since 1998, when "Jumbo Joe" made his playoffs debut at age 18 with the Bruins, only two other players have been credited with at least 90 assists in the playoffs: Nicklas Lidstrom (98) and Marian Hossa (97).
Giants and A's, Dodgers and Angels all win by shutouts
The Giants and the Dodgers both won 1-0 shutouts on Monday night, with both Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto tossing complete games. It marks only the third time that both of those teams have won 1-0 shutouts on the same day, with a complete-game effort by both winning pitchers. The last time it happened was on July 2, 1963: Don Drysdale tossed a five-hitter for the Dodgers against the Cardinals, while the Giants' Juan Marichal went all the way in a 16-inning victory over the Milwaukee Braves and Warren Spahn, who, at age 42, also went the distance. The game ended on a homer by Willie Mays. The earlier instance came in 1909, with Christy Mathewson, the great Giants pitcher of the era, earning a 1-0 win over the Reds and Doc Scanlan pitching a 13-inning shutout for the Dodgers.
But we've got more: while the Dodgers and the Giants were blanking their opponents, so were the Athletics and the Angels. So May 23, 2016 goes into the books as the first day on which the Giants and A's, Dodgers and Angels all won shutouts. (The Giants and Dodgers moved to California in 1958, the Angels were born in 1961, and the Athletics moved to Oakland in 1968.)
Ichiro: oldest in modern era with 10 hits over 3 games
Forty-two-year-old Ichiro Suzuki sprayed four hits across the Miami evening, establishing a modern major-league record and once again surpassing one of baseball's noblemen of more than a century earlier - all of this as the Marlins scored twice in the eighth inning to wrest a 7-6 decision from the Rays. Ichiro, who had four hits on Saturday and two on Sunday against the Nationals, became the first major leaguer at age 42 or older to collect 10 hits over a three-game span since Hall-of-Famer Cap Anson did it, also at 42, in August 1894. (In the midst of that hot streak, by the way, Anson's team forfeited a game before it even began at Louisville when Anson objected to the baseballs that the home team had presented to the umpire for use in the game. An unplayed forfeit does not interrupt a performance streak involving individual statistics, but we thought you'd like to know.)
Back to Ichiro, who lifted his career hits total to 2960, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Wee Willie Keeler's career hits total along the way. It's not the first time that Ichiro has left Wee Willie in his dust. Back in 2009, when Ichiro produced the ninth of his 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, he surpassed WWK's long-standing major-league mark of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons.
Cabrera: perfect on Sunday, better on Monday
Miguel Cabrera, for the second day in a row, went 3-for-3 including a home run, except that on Monday night against the Phillies, he blasted a pair of homers in the Tigers' 5-4 victory. Follow us on this one: Miggy became just the fifth major-league player since 1900, in each of two straight games, to have at least three at-bats and produce a hit in each, hitting one homer in the first of the games and two in the second. The most recent player to do that was Jose Bautista in 2011; he was preceded by the Pirates' Brian Giles in 2001, the Marlins' Gary Sheffield in 1995 and the Iron Horse himself - Lou Gehrig did it for the Yankees in 1934.
Kershaw blanks Reds for 3rd shutout in 10 starts
Clayton Kershaw saw his teammates score a single run, but it was enough as he went all the way to blank the Reds at Dodger Stadium. It was the star lefty's third shutout in 10 starts this season; he became the first to paint three whitewashes over his first 10 starts of a season since David Cone, pitching for the Royals, produced three shutouts in his first nine starts in 1994. The last Dodgers pitcher to toss as many as three shutouts over his first 10 starts of a season was Pedro Astasio, who blanked four opponents over his first 10 starts after making his big-league debut in July of 1992.
Cueto continues to dominate Padres
Johnny Cueto saw Clayton Kershaw's 1-0 shutout win and raised him by earning that victory while sitting in the dugout! Cueto saw Hunter Pence's two-out pop fly fall between right fielder Matt Kemp and second baseman Alexei Amarista and become a walkoff hit, delivering Brandon Belt from first base. It was Cueto's third complete game of the season; all three have come against the Padres, and they have all been squeakers; the Giants won two of them by 1-0 scores and they won the other, 2-1.
Hill on road: 6 starts, 6 wins
Rich Hill continued to write as unique a story as any in baseball this season, earning his seventh win and lowering his ERA to 2.18, when he tossed the first eight innings of the Athletics' 5-0 victory at Seattle. After producing a record of 11-8 in 32 starts for the Cubs in 2007, Hill earned only six wins as a starter over the next eight major-league seasons. But Hill has been special this season, especially on the road, where he maintained his perfect mark on Monday night - he now has won each of his six road starts this season. That ties a franchise record for the A's, who have been playing in the American League since 1901. The only other Athletics pitchers who won their first six road starts in a season were Sam Gray in 1925, and Kevin Appier and Gil Heredia, both in 2000.
Pujols draws even with Palmeiro
Albert Pujols blasted a two-run homer in the third inning, then watched Nick Tropeano and four relievers make it stand up as the only runs in the Angels' victory over the Rangers in Texas. The home run was the 569th for Pujols in the major leagues, tying Rafael Palmeiro for 12th place on the all-time list. He also tied Palmeiro for second place on the list of home runs by players born outside the United States, with only Sammy Sosa (609) standing ahead of them.
Colon bests Gonzalez
Bartolo Colon celebrated his last day as a 42-year-old by taming the Nationals and besting Gio Gonzalez, with the Mets winning, 7-1. Colon, who had lost to Gonzalez by the same score in New York last week, earned the 222nd win of his career, and his 47th since turning 40 in 2013. Only four pitchers in major-league history amassed as many wins as did Colon from age 40 to age 42 - the distinguished quartet of Warren Spahn (62), Cy Young (61), Randy Johnson (51) and Roger Clemens (50).
The Mets reached Gonzalez for three home runs, putting an end to the left-hander's streak of 44 consecutive starts without allowing more than one home run - a streak that had been the longest current streak of that sort in the major leagues. But for a silver lining, Gonzalez did hold the Mets scoreless in the first inning, becoming the first left-handed pitcher in major-league history to hold opponents scoreless in the first inning in each of 29 consecutive starts.
Yoenis Cespedes hit one of the Mets' homers, his 15th this season to take the major-league lead. It marks the first time that a Mets player has held the major leagues' outright lead (no ties) in homers this late in a season since Dave Kingman held the big-league lead with 37 homers through the games of Sept. 18, 1982. Kingman failed to hit a homer in his last 18 games that season, and though he wound up leading the National League with 37, Reggie Jackson and Gorman Thomas led the majors with 39.
Grichuk puts his name into Cubs-Cardinals rivalry
Randal Grichuk supplied a walkoff RBI for the first time in his big-league career, connecting for a two-out, ninth-inning homer off Adam Warren to lift the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Cubs. The last two walkoff homers by the Cardinals against the Cubs had both been hit by Albert Pujols, on consecutive days in June of 2011. The only other Cardinals players who hit a pair of walkoff homers against their Illinois rivals were Stan Musial and Ken Boyer.
Ramirez has a good day, evoking Mackowiak's great one
The Indians and the White Sox spent all day and night whacking at one another in Chicago, and when all was said and done, the teams split their two games. The Indians' Jose Ramirez homered in each game and did so while playing different positions - third base in the day game, left field at night. Ramirez became the first major-league player in 12 years to connect in each of two games on one day, in one game as an infielder and in the other as an outfielder. On May 28, 2004, the Pirates' Rob Mackowiak did just that, with an extra flourish or two. He hit a walkoff grand slam as a third baseman in the first game of a doubleheader and a game-tying, ninth-inning homer as a center fielder in the nightcap. Oh, and Mackowiak's son was born that same day!
Perez: 2nd Royals catcher to get 5 hits in game
Salvador Perez went 5-for-5, scoring three runs and knocking in another, to lead the Royals to a 10-4 victory over the Twins in Minneapolis. Perez became only the second catcher to produce five hits in a game for the Royals; Darrell Porter went 5-for-5 in a 13-2 victory over the White Sox back on June 4, 1978.
Pirates win it with singles
Josh Harrison produced RBI singles on each of his first two at-bats and the Pirates went on to defeat the Rockies, 6-3, in Monday's make-up game. With those two hits, Harrison lifted his career batting average with runners in scoring position above the .300 mark and at .301, he stands a hair above Andrew McCutchen's .300 career average in those situations.
The Buccos had seven hits, all singles, in their win over Colorado. It's the most runs that any major-league team has scored on seven-or-fewer total bases this season, and the most that Pittsburgh has scored in such a game since it scored six runs on six total bases on July 28, 1998, also against the Rockies, but at Coors Field.