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JAMES AND PIERCE WERE BYSTANDERS AT THE END
From Elias: LeBron James scored a game-high 29 points and Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 23 points, but neither was on the floor for the end of the Celtics' 93-91 overtime victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, having both collected their sixth personal foul earlier in the overtime period. It was the first NBA playoff game in which each team's outright high scorer fouled out since April 27, 1992, when Reggie Lewis (32 points for Boston) and Reggie Miller (32 points for the Pacers) were each whistled for six personal fouls in the Celtics' 102-98 victory at Indiana that completed a three-game sweep of their first-round series.
CELTICS WIN DESPITE THEIR LOW-SCORING SECOND HALF
From Elias: The Celtics were outscored 42-28 during the second half of Game 4 before winning it in overtime. Boston became the second NBA team during the shot-clock era to win a playoff game in which it scored as few as 28 second-half points. The only other team to do so over that span (since the 1955 playoffs) were the Spurs, who were outscored 43-28 during the second half of their 100-97 overtime win against the Trail Blazers in their first-round series clincher in 1993.
ZAMBRANO DOES IT ALL
From Elias: Carlos Zambrano's third-inning home run opened the scoring and he proceeded to allow one run over 7 2/3 innings to earn the victory as the Marlins topped the Phillies. It was the 24th home run of Zambrano's career, all as a pitcher. No other active pitcher has more than 10 career home runs. Zambrano's home-run total from that position ties him with Bob Gibson for the second-most during the expansion era (1961 to date), behind Earl Wilson, who hit 33 homers as a pitcher (and two more as a pinch-hitter) for the Red Sox, Tigers and Padres from 1962 through 1970.
A MAJOR-LEAGUE FIRST
From Elias: The Nationals made history in their loss to the Braves on Sunday. Stephen Lombardozzi led off the bottom of the first with a home run and when Bryce Harper followed with a four-bagger from the second spot in the batting order they became the first pair of rookies in major-league history to hit back-to-back home runs beginning with a first-inning leadoff shot.
Washington was the third major-league team to begin the first inning of a game with consecutive home runs this season, and they were the second team to lose under those circumstances. The Yankees lost to the Twins on April 16 after back-to-back homers from Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson to begin the bottom of the first inning.
JETER AND RODRIGUEZ TAKE VERLANDER DEEP
From Elias: Derek Jeter homered on the first pitch of the game, Alex Rodriguez added a solo blast in the third inning and Phil Hughes threw the first nine-inning complete game of his career as the Yankees beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers, 5-1. It was the 29th game in which both Jeter and Rodriguez homered for the Yankees. The only pair of current teammates to homer in the same game as often as the Yankees' duo is Ryan Howard and Chase Utley (43 times for the Phillies).
Verlander has allowed first-inning leadoff home runs to six players in his career (including Shin-Soo Choo earlier this season), but Jeter is the only right-handed batter among them and the first to do so on Verlander's first pitch of a game. Verlander, who has lost his last three starts, saw his record in day games drop to 1-3 this season after posting a 17-2 mark in day games over the past two seasons combined (2010-11).
CARDINALS FINALLY SCORE
From Elias: The Cardinals pushed a run across the plate in the eighth inning of their 6-1 loss to the Mets to end their streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings at the plate (dating back to the ninth inning of Thursday's loss at Atlanta). St. Louis was the first defending World Series winner to be shut out for 26 straight innings since the Royals had a streak of equal length in September 1986.
BARD IS WILD
From Elias: The Blue Jays touched Daniel Bard for five runs over the first two innings of their 5-1 win at Toronto. Bard allowed only one hit during his 1 2/3-inning stint, but he walked six batters and hit two more with pitches. Bard was the first pitcher to either walk or hit as many as eight batters in an outing of fewer than two innings since Chicago's Kerry Wood did it against St. Louis on Sept. 22, 2000 (eight walks in 1 1/3 innings). Bard was the first Red Sox pitcher to do so since Mickey McDermott walked seven batters and hit another with a pitch while allowing seven runs in a 1 1/3-inning start against the Indians on August 28, 1950 at Fenway Park. The Red Sox took McDermott off the hook in that game by erasing a 10-0 deficit in a 15-14 win.
PAGAN AT HOME BY THE BAY
From Elias: Angel Pagan went 1-for-3 in the Giants' 2-0 win over the Cubs. After going 0-for-4 in his home debut for the Giants on April 13, Pagan has proceeded to collect at least one hit in 27 consecutive games at AT&T Park. It's the longest home hitting streak for any major-league player since 2010, when Josh Hamilton hit safely in 29 straight games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
ASTROS FIGURE OUT ARROYO
From Elias: Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings and was chased from the game by Justin Maxwell's two-run, pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning as the Astros beat Arroyo for the first time since August 9, 2008. In the interim, Arroyo was 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA in nine starts against Houston.
MCDONALD CONTINUES HIS STINGY WAYS
From Elias: James McDonald allowed one earned run in six innings to beat the Brewers and in the process he lowered his ERA to 2.14. Over the last 15 years (1998-2012) the only other Pirates pitcher to post an ERA as low as McDonald's through his first 11 starts of a season was Zach Duke, who boasted a 1.84 ERA to that point in 2005.
ROYALS WHITEWASH THE ATHLETICS
From Elias: Vin Mazzaro and three Royals relievers combined to shut out the Athletics on Sunday. The A's reached the one-third mark of their season with their major-league-high 11th shutout loss of the year. Oakland is the first major-league team to be shut out in 11 of its first 54 games of a season since the 1954 Pirates (11 times) and the first American League team to do so since the 1917 Philadelphia A's (11 times).
CRUZ GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
From Elias: Nelson Cruz homered on a 3-0 pitch in the Rangers' victory over the Angels. It was the second 3-0 pitch that left the ballpark off of a Texas bat this season (the other was by Ian Kinsler on April 9) after the Rangers had a total of only three home runs on that count over Ron Washington's five previous seasons as their manager (2007-11).
CAHILL SHUTS OUT THE PADRES
From Elias: Trevor Cahill tossed the second shutout of his major-league career as the Diamondbacks beat the Padres on Sunday. Cahill, whose previous shutout was for the Athletics in 2010, is the fourth pitcher to throw shutouts for both American League and National League teams over the last three seasons. The other pitchers to do it over that span (2010-12) are Edwin Jackson (Diamondbacks and White Sox), Cliff Lee (Mariners and Phillies) and Joe Saunders (Angels and Diamondbacks).
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
From Elias: Scott Diamond allowed three runs, all unearned, in the Twins' victory at Cleveland to improve his record to 4-1 and lower his ERA to 1.86. Diamond is the third Twins rookie since the franchise relocated to Minnesota in 1961 to win at least four of his first six starts of a season while posting such a low ERA. The others were Jim Hughes in 1975 (5-1, 1.62 ERA) and Francisco Liriano in 2006 (5-1, 1.50 ERA).
ROCKIES WIN LOW-SCORING GAME AT HOME
From Elias: The Rockies topped the Dodgers at Coors Field, 3-2. Colorado had lost its previous eight home games this season in which it scored three or fewer runs and the Rockies had lost 19 straight home games under those circumstances before Sunday's victory (since a 3-2 win over the Braves on July 20, 2011). The Rockies have an all-time record of 54-325 in home games in which they scored three or fewer runs. That's the worst record of its kind for any major-league team since 1993 (Colorado's inaugural season).
SALE NOTCHES HIS SEVENTH WIN
From Elias: Chris Sale tossed the first complete game of his career in the White Sox' 4-2 victory over the Mariners. Sale (7-2) is the first White Sox pitcher to win seven of his first 10 starts of a season since Freddy Garcia in 2006. At age 23, Sale is the second-youngest pitcher in franchise history to win seven of his first 10 starts of a season. Mark Buehrle was 13 days younger than Sale when he won his seventh game in 2002 (in his ninth start of the season).
MOORE WINS AFTER A RAYS LOSS
From Elias: The Rays took the rubber game of their series against the Orioles behind Matt Moore, after losing a 2-1 decision on Saturday. Moore was 0-3 with a 7.65 ERA in four previous starts this season that immediately followed a Tampa Bay loss.