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BYNUM: 30 REBOUNDS ON WEDNESDAY, 30 POINTS ON FRIDAY
From Elias: Andrew Bynum scored a game-high 30 points and led the Kobe-less Lakers to a 103-97 victory over the Nuggets. Bynum, who had 30 rebounds in the Lakers' last game, at San Antonio on Wednesday, became the first NBA player with 30 rebounds in one game and 30 points in the next since Moses Malone had 32 rebounds (and also 38 points) on Feb. 11, 1982, and then scored 32 points in his next game, two days later.
IBAKA: 101 BLOCKS OVER LAST 23 GAMES
From Elias: Serge Ibaka blocked seven shots in the Thunder's 115-89 victory over the Kings. That was the 23rd consecutive game in which Ibaka has blocked at least one shot, now the longest streak in the NBA this season. But Ibaka rarely satisfies himself with the minimum requirement of a single streak-extending blocked shot (he has done that only once over the last 23 games); Friday's seven lifted his total over the last 23 games to 101 blocks. That's the fewest games within one season that any NBA player has needed to accumulate 100 blocked shots in more than four seasons, since Marcus Camby had 101 blocks over 23 games for the Nuggets in the 2007-08 season.
WIZARDS AVOID ONE DUBIOUS RECORD, BUT SNAG ANOTHER
From Elias: The Knicks clobbered the Wizards in New York, 103-65, as the visitors barely avoided tying the franchise record for fewest points scored in a game: on January 11 of this season, the Wizards dropped a 78-64 decision in Chicago. But the Wizards, who trailed the Knicks by 21 points at the half, did play their way into a slice of NBA history: Friday night's game marked Washington's 60th consecutive loss in a road game in which it had trailed at halftime, tying the league's longest such streak in the shot-clock era (which began in 1954). From 2000 to 2002, the Bulls lost 60 straight road games in which they trailed at halftime.
HEAT WIN WITHOUT A 20-POINT SCORER
From Elias: The Heat, playing without Dwyane Wade, rolled to an easy 105-82 victory over the Bobcats. LeBron James led Miami's scoring with 19 points - making it only the Heat's second game this season in which its leading scorer had fewer than 20 points. (On March 29, Miami won, 106-85, over Dallas, with LeBron and Chris Bosh leading with 19 points each.) That comes one game after the Heat lost to the Bulls despite 20-plus points apiece from James, Wade and Bosh ¿Miami's only loss this season despite getting at least 20 points from each of the Big Three.
CELTICS START FAST, BUT BLOW 13-POINT LEAD
From Elias: The Celtics ran out to a 30-17 lead toward the middle of the second quarter, and held the Raptors to nine field goals in 39 attempts in the first half, but it was Toronto that finished the evening with the 84-79 victory Friday night. That matched the Celtics' largest blown lead in a loss this season; eight days ago, they lost at Chicago, 93-86, after holding a 49-36 lead late in the first half.
GORTAT LEADS SUNS TO ANOTHER WIN IN HOUSTON
From Elias: Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Suns downed the Rockets, 112-105, in Houston. The Suns have now won 11 of the 17 games they have played at the Toyota Center since the Rockets began playing their home games there in 2003. Among visiting teams that have played at least 10 games there, only the Mavericks (12 wins in 17 games) have a better record.
CAIN TOSSES A GEM IN HOME OPENER
From Elias: Matt Cain tossed a one-hit shutout, striking out 11, in his team's home opener as the Giants blanked the Pirates, 5-0. Pittsburgh's only baserunner of the game was losing pitcher James McDonald, who singled with two out in the sixth. Cain was the first major-leaguer to throw a one-hitter in which an opposing pitcher had the only hit since the Mets' R.A. Dickey downed the Phillies, 1-0, in August 2010 (Cole Hamels had a sixth-inning single for the only hit). By the way, Dickey's game also came on a Friday the 13th.
You have to go back more than 25 years to find the last major-leaguer to throw a nine-inning complete game in which an opposing pitcher's hit created the lone baserunner. And while Cain doing it in the home opener added a measure of excitement, the pitcher who did it back in 1986 was making his major-league debut! On September 21 of that year, Jimmy Jones of the Padres, in his first game in the majors, blanked the Astros, 5-0, in Houston, with pitcher Bob Knepper the only man to reach base against him by virtue of a third-inning triple.
Cain was the first pitcher in the Giants' 130-year history to throw a one-hit shutout in the team's home opener. The last major leaguer to do that was Cleveland's Rick Waits in 1979, and the last National Leaguer to do it was the Cubs' Hippo Vaughn in 1918.
Cain became the second straight Giants pitcher to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning; Madison Bumgarner did the same in Denver on Thursday afternoon. The last three times that a big-league team has seen its starters hold opponents without a hit in each of two consecutive games, that team has been the Giants. (Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum did it in May of last year, and Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez did it in July 2009.)
HARANG HARANGUES THE PADRES
From Elias: Aaron Harang struck out nine consecutive Padres batters in the early innings of Friday night's game at Dodger Stadium, falling one shy of the major-league record of 10 set by Tom Seaver against the Padres 42 years ago this month. Three other pitchers had nine straight strikeouts in one game: Mickey Welch in 1884 (the first year in which overhand pitching was permissible), Jake Peavy in 2007 and Ricky Nolasco in 2009.
WHO'S AFRAID OF FRIDAY THE 13TH?
From Elias: With the Yankees, for the first time in their history, playing their home opener on Friday the 13th, Alex Rodriguez, wearing uniform number 13, blasted a titanic home run to deep center field in the Yankees' 5-0 win over the Angels. It was the 630th home run of A-Rod's big-league career, tying former teammate Ken Griffey, Jr. for fifth place on the all-time list. A-Rod and Junior played 587 games as teammates with the Mariners from 1994 to 1999; when Rodriguez left Seattle following the 2000 season to sign as a free agent with the Rangers, he trailed Griffey by exactly 250 career homers, 398 to 148.
ST.LOUIS FANS, WEARING RED, WIND UP BLUE
From Elias: Cardinals fans enjoyed a marvelous pre-game ceremony extolling their championship team of last year, then watched in horror as the home team dropped a 9-5 decision to the rival Cubs. And that meant that the 46,882 on hand at Busch Stadium witnessed a different kind of history, because the Cardinals had also lost their home openers in 1983 and in 2007, following each of their two most recent championships. Since the National League and American League championships first met in 1903, no other team has lost three consecutive home openers in seasons after they had won a World Series.
DICKEY AND FRIENDS KEEP METS' 10-STRIKEOUT STREAK ALIVE
From Elias: R.A. Dickey outpitched Cliff Lee in the Mets' 5-2 victory at Philadelphia, as Mets pitchers continued their unexpected early-season run of strikeouts. Dickey fanned seven in seven innings, and Bobby Parnell (one in one inning) and Frank Francisco (three in one inning) contributed to the team total of 11 strikeouts. That marked the fifth straight game in which Mets pitchers have produced a double-digit strikeout total, their longest such streak since they had a six-game run of 10-strikeout games in April of 1990. (The starting pitchers for the Mets during that stretch were Ron Darling, Frank Viola, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Dwight Gooden and Darling again.)
In fact, it speaks to the increasing strikeout totals in Major League Baseball that from 1900 to 1969, no major-league team ever saw its pitchers produce a double-digit strikeout total in each of five consecutive games. The Mets did it in 1970 and had that six-game streak in 1990, and there were two other five-game streaks in the 1990s. But since the year 2000, there have now been 17 such streaks.
SOX AT U.S.CELLULAR ON FRIDAY THE 13TH: A WINNING FORMULA
From Elias: The White Sox' victory over the Tigers on Friday lifted their record to 8-0 in home games played on Friday The 13th since they opened U.S. Cellular Field (originally known as the second Comiskey Park) in 1991. No other major-league team has ever won its first eight home games at a particular stadium on Friday The 13th; the Dodgers were the only team to win their first seven such games, having done it at Dodger Stadium from 1962 to 1973.
PEAVY HANDLES CABRERA AND TIGERS
From Elias: Jake Peavy struck out eight batters in six and two-thirds innings and continued his career-long mastery of Miguel Cabrera as the White Sox handled the Tigers, 5-2. Cabrera, whose first-inning complaint about the positioning of the outline of the batters' box was sustained by the umpires, went 0-for-2 against Peavy on Friday and now has four hits in 28 career at-bats against Peavy, with 11 strikeouts. That produces a batting average of .143, Cabrera's lowest against any of the 62 pitchers against whom he has had at least 20 major-league plate appearances.
INDIANS QUICKLY STIFLE ENTHUSIASM IN K.C.
From Elias: The Indians scored seven runs in the top of the first inning of the Royals' home opener, the most runs scored by a visiting team before a home-opening team came to the plate in the last 25 years of major-league play. Cleveland went on to win, 8-3. Back in 1987, the Rangers scored eight first-inning runs in the Brewers' home opener.
It probably came as no surprise to Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar that Shin-Soo Choo knocked in the first of Cleveland's seven opening-inning runs. Choo went 2-for-2 with a walk against Hochevar on Friday, lifting his career batting average against the Royals right-hander to .600 (based on 15 hits in 25 at-bats). Among active opponents, only two other major-leaguers possess a .600-or-better batting average against a particular pitcher (minimum: 25 at-bats): the Rockies' Jason Giambi has a .622 average (23 for 37) against the Blue Jays' Darren Oliver, and the Giants' Melky Cabrera tops the chart with a .630 mark (17 for 27) against Mark Buehrle, who is now with the Marlins.
TO RAYS, BECKETT LOOKS LIKE THE SECOND COMING OF PEDRO
From Elias: Josh Beckett allowed one run over eight innings and the Red Sox broke the game open with an eight-run eighth as Boston opened its 101st season at Fenway Park with a 12-2 win over the Rays. It was the latest in a stretch of games in which Beckett has dominated Tampa Bay: he's 4-0 in his last six starts against the Rays (dating back to late in the 2009 season), a span during which he has allowed only four earned runs in 43 innings, an ERA of 0.84. The last Red Sox pitcher to have at least four wins, no losses, and an ERA that low over a six-start span against one team was Pedro Martinez, also against Tampa Bay: over 2003 and 2004, Pedro went 4-0 with an ERA of 0.43 over a stretch of six starts against the Devil Rays.
WERTH WINS IT, IN THE 13TH, ON THE 13TH
From Elias: Jayson Werth had a walk-off single in the 13th inning as the Nationals outlasted the Reds, 2-1. Werth is now batting .360 (9-for-25) in Late-Inning Pressure Situations with runners in scoring position in just over a year with the Nationals; over four seasons with the Phillies, Werth batted only .157 (8-for-51) in LIPS-with-RISP situations.
Werth became the first major leaguer since Willie Stargell in 1963 to get a walk-off RBI in the 13th inning on Friday the 13th.
A NIGHT FOR SOLO HOMERS IN TORONTO
From Elias: Nolan Reimold's third hit of the game was a ninth-inning home run that concluded the scoring in the Orioles' 7-5 triumph at Toronto. Reimold's homer was the seventh in the game, and all seven were solo shots. The last big-league game with seven-or-more homers, all with the bases empty, was on July 20, 2010: the Orioles also won that game, beating Tampa Bay 11-10, in Baltimore. (We also note that it was in an Orioles-Blue Jays game at Toronto in 1987 that the Jays set the still-standing major-league record of 10 home runs in one game.)
HELTON'S DOUBLE: A GAME-WINNER AND A LEAD-TAKER
From Elias: Todd Helton's eighth-inning double knocked in Carlos Gonzalez with what proved to be the winning run in the Rockies' 7-6 comeback victory over the Diamondbacks. It was the 557th double of Helton's major-league career, and gave him the lead in that category among active players; he has one more double than the Angels' Bobby Abreu.
JAGR, WHO FIRST SCORED IN NHL PLAYOFFS AT 19, SCORES AT 40
From Elias: Jaromir Jagr's first NHL playoff goal since 2008 snapped a 5-5 tie in the middle of the third period and proved to be the game-winner for the Flyers in an 8-5 victory in Game 2 of their series against the Penguins. Jagr, who turned 40 years old in February, scored his first playoff goal at age 19 for the Penguins in 1991. He's the fourth player in NHL history to score playoff goals as a teenager and after his 40th birthday. The other players to do that were Ray Bourque, Dave Andreychuk and Brendan Shanahan.
GIROUX AND COUTURIER: 3 GOALS APIECE
From Elias: Claude Giroux and rookie Sean Couturier each scored three goals for the Flyers in their 8-5 win in Game Two of their series against the Penguins. They were the first teammates to record hat tricks in the same Stanley Cup playoff game since 2006, when Buffalo's J.P. Dumont and Jason Pominville each scored three goals in Game 2 of the Sabres first-round series against the Flyers.
Giroux tallied three assists to go along with his three goals in Pittsburgh, becoming only the third player in NHL history to score at least six points in a road playoff game. Wayne Gretzky did that twice, with seven-point games for Edmonton in 1983 (at Calgary) and 1985 (at Winnipeg), and Rick Middleton registered points on all six Bruins goals in a 1983 game at Buffalo (the day after Gretzky's first seven-point road game).
Couturier, meanwhile, at 19 years and 128 days, became just the second teenager in NHL history to score three goals in a playoff game - and the first ever to be able to celebrate openly such an achievement. The explanation: Ted "Teeder" Kennedy was five days younger than that when he scored all three of Toronto's goals in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final against the Red Wings on April 14, 1945, but those goals went for naught as Detroit won, 5-3!
Friday's game was the first in NHL history played on a Friday The 13th - in the regular season or in the playoffs - that featured exactly 13 goals!
BROWN MAKES HISTORY IN VANCOUVER
From Elias: Dustin Brown scored the first two of the Kings' four goals - and both of them came with the team playing shorthanded - and Los Angeles went on to a 4-2 win in Vancouver, taking a two-games-to-none lead in the first-round series. Brown became the 13th player in NHL history to score a pair of shorthanded goals in a playoff game, but he is the first of those players to account for his team's first two goals in a playoff game in that manner.
FRANZEN NETS ANOTHER GAME-WINNER
From Elias: Johan Franzen scored the game-winning goal in the Red Wings' 3-2 victory that evened their first-round series against the Predators at one win apiece. Franzen, who scored 10 game-winning goals during the 2011-12 regular season, third-most in the NHL behind co-leaders Steven Stamkos and Radim Vrbata (12 each), has scored more playoff game-winners (12) over the last six years than any other NHL player.
DEVILS SEIZE HOME-ICE ADVANTAGE
From Elias: The Devils drew first blood in their series against the Panthers with a 3-2 road win. New Jersey overwhelmed Florida in the first period, outscoring the Panthers, 3-0, and outshooting them, 26-9. It was the first time that the Devils won the first game of a playoff series on the road since they beat the Flyers, 4-1, in Philadelphia in the opener of the 2000 Eastern Conference Final. New Jersey had lost all five of its series openers on the road since then.