Date: October 2, 2011

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

MLB

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Nova

HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF?

Ivan Nova pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief of CC Sabathia to earn the victory in the Yankees 9-3 triumph over the Tigers. Nova is the first pitcher to win a postseason game in which he threw at least 6 1/3 innings of relief since the Pirates' Bruce Kison (6 1/3 innings, one hit, no runs) beat the Orioles in Game 4 of the 1971 World Series (the first night game in the history of the Fall Classic).

Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees

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Cano

CANO SLAMS TIGERS IN SERIES OPENER

Robinson Cano's sixth-inning grand slam gave the Yankees an 8-1 lead and some breathing room in their victory over the Tigers. Cano was the second player in franchise history to hit a bases-loaded home run in the first game of a postseason series. Tino Martinez hit a grand slam off Mark Langston at Yankee Stadium in the seventh inning of the 1998 World Series opener.

Cano (two doubles, one homer, six RBIs) was the third major-leaguer to collect at least three extra-base hits and six or more RBIs in a postseason series opener. Cano joined San Francisco's Will Clark (1989 NLCS) and Boston's Mo Vaughn (1998 ALDS).

Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees

PHILLIES OVERCOME A SHAKY START

The Phillies overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit to defeat the Cardinals, 11-6. It was the second time in franchise history that the Phillies won the first game of a postseason series after they trailed by three or more runs. Philadelphia posted a 7-6 win over the Royals in the 1980 World Series opener after trailing 4-0 entering the bottom of the third inning. Bake McBride's three-run homer capped a five-run third inning to give the Phillies a lead that they would not relinquish.

Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals

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Howard

HOME, SWEET HOME

Ryan Howard drove in four runs for the Phillies with a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly. It was the ninth time over the last five postseasons that a Phillies player drove in four or more runs in a game and eight of those nine players did so at Citizens Bank Park. The only player with a four-RBI game on the road during the postseason for the Phillies over that span (2007-2011) was Pat Burrell (four RBIs against the Brewers in the 2008 NLDS clincher at Miller Park).

Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals

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Halladay

BERKMAN TAKES HALLADAY DEEP

Lance Berkman gave the Cardinals an early lead with a three-run homer off Roy Halladay in the first inning. Halladay hadn't allowed a home run with more than one runner on base since August 21, 2008, when he pitched for Toronto and gave up a three-run shot to the Yankees' Hideki Matsui at Rogers Centre. Halladay has allowed a first-inning homer with more than one runner on base in only two of his 352 career starts during the regular season (a grand slam by Anaheim's Andy Sheets in 1999 and a three-run shot by Boston's Mike Lowell in 2006).

Berkman's home run was the third of his career in a postseason series opener, and all of them have come on the road (the others were for the Astros at Atlanta and St. Louis during the 2004 playoffs). That ties Berkman with Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Chase Utley for the most career road homers in series openers during the postseason among active players.

Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals

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Halladay

HALLADAY MOWS THEM DOWN

Roy Halladay retired the last 21 batters he faced before being removed with an eight-run lead to begin the ninth inning. Halladay was the third pitcher in major-league history to retire the last 21 batters he faced in a postseason game and he was the first to do it since the Yankees' Don Larsen's 27-up, 27-down perfect game against the Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. The only other pitcher to do so was the Cardinals' Grover Alexander, who set down the last 21 batters he faced in his Game 2 victory over the Yankees in the 1926 World Series.

St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies

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Braun

THE HEART OF THE ORDER

Ryan Braun (batting in the third spot) and Prince Fielder (the cleanup hitter) combined to go 5-for-8 with three runs scored, three extra-base hits (including a home run by Fielder) and two RBIs in the Brewers' 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks. The third and fourth spots in Milwaukee's batting order combined for a .312 batting average, .564 slugging percentage, 154 extra-base hits and 239 runs batted in during the regular season, the highest totals in the majors in each of those categories for any team's three-and-four hitters (with the RBI total tying that of the Rangers). Those spots in the batting order combined to produce 72 homers for the Brewers this season to rank third-highest in the majors, behind the Cardinals and Blue Jays (73 each).

Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers

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Braun

THREE HITS FOR BRAUN

Ryan Braun (3-for-4 on Saturday) became the third player in franchise history to collect three or more hits in the first game of a postseason series. If you don't remember, we're sure you can guess who the other players were. Hint: they did it in the same game. Paul Molitor went 5-for-6 and Robin Yount went 4-for-6 in the Brewers' 10-0 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series (at St. Louis).

Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers

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Shields

RANGERS RALLY TO BEAT SHIELDS

James Shields was staked to a 3-0 lead before he allowed five runs in the fourth inning and two runs in the sixth to absorb the loss in the Rangers' 8-6 win in Arlington. Shields has a 51-2 career record in regular-season games in which he pitched with a lead of three or more runs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

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Napoli

NAPOLI'S BAT COMES ALIVE

Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs as the Rangers rallied to deadlock the ALDS at one game apiece. Napoli, who went 0-for-3 in the series opener on Friday, had only one hit in 12 at-bats over his previous six postseason games, dating back to the 2009 ALCS.

Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays


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