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THUNDER OVERCOME 15-POINT HALFTIME DEFICIT TO CLOSE OUT THE SPURS
From Elias: The Thunder overcame a 15-point halftime deficit to defeat the Spurs and close out the Western Conference finals series on Wednesday night. Oklahoma City is the fourth team in NBA history to come back from a halftime deficit of at least 15 points in a playoff series-clinching win. The other teams to do that were Milwaukee against New Jersey in the first round in 1986 (trailed by 18 at the half), Phoenix vs. Denver in the first round in 1989 (trailed by 18) and Dallas vs. Utah in the first round in 2001 (trailed by 15).
SPURS' SEASON ENDS WITH FOUR STRAIGHT LOSSES
From Elias: The Thunder clinched the Western Conference Finals series with a 107-99 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday night, completing their comeback from 2-0 down with four straight wins over San Antonio, a team that did not lose more than two consecutive games during the regular season.
San Antonio became just the sixth team in NBA history to lose four straight playoff games after not losing more than two consecutive games during the preceding regular season. That happened to the 76ers in the 1977 NBA Finals (lost 4-2 to the Trail Blazers), the Magic in the 1996 conference finals (lost 4-0 to the Bulls), the SuperSonics in the 1998 conference semifinals (lost 4-1 to the Lakers), the Trail Blazers in the 1999 conference finals (lost 4-0 to the Spurs) and the Bulls in the 2011 conference finals (lost 4-1 to the Heat).
YANKEES' STARTERS ARE ON A ROLL
From Elias: Ivan Nova allowed one run and four hits in eight innings and earned the victory in the Yankees' 4-1 win over the Rays on Wednesday night. Nova's performance followed strong performances from Phil Hughes (9 IP, one run and four hits allowed in a win over Detroit on Sunday) and Andy Pettitte (7 1/3 IP, no runs and two hits allowed in a win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday). It is the first time that Yankees' starting pitchers have earned a win and pitched at least seven innings and allowed no more than one run and four hits in three straight games since 1947. In May of that season, Spec Shea tossed a four-hit shutout and Allie Reynolds and Spud Chandler each followed with two-hit shutouts.
MORROW TOSSES THIRD SHUTOUT WITH THREE-OR-FEWER HITS ALLOWED
From Elias: Brandon Morrow tossed a two-hit shutout to lead Toronto to a 4-0 win over the White Sox on Wednesday night. Morrow has thrown a shutout while allowing three-or-fewer hits in three of his 12 starts this season. Prior to Morrow, the last major-league pitcher with three shutouts with three-or-fewer hits allowed through his first 12 starts of a season was Boston's Roger Clemens in 1988.
GREINKE TIES MARK WITH 15 STRAIGHT HOME WINS
From Elias: Zack Greinke hurled seven shutout innings to lead the Brewers to an 8-0 win over the Cubs in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. Greinke is now 15-0 in home games since he joined the Brewers prior to the start of the 2011 season. That is tied for the longest home winning streak by a starting pitcher to begin his career with a team since 1900. Kenny Rogers won all 15 of his home decisions for the Oakland A's in 1998 and 1999.
YOUNGSTER DELGADO HURLS BRAVES TO VICTORY
From Elias: Braves rookie Randall Delgado, who turned 22 years old in February, allowed only two hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched and earned the victory in Atlanta's 2-1 win over Miami on Wednesday. Only two other Braves pitchers have won a game while allowing two-or-fewer hits in more than six innings of work prior to turning 23 years old since the team moved to Atlanta: Steve Avery did it twice at age 21 during the 1991 season and Kevin Millwood at age 22 in 1997.
ORIOLES SOUTHPAW WINS AT FENWAY
From Elias: Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run in seven innings of work and registered a win in the Orioles 2-1 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Chen became the fourth Orioles left-handed starter over the last 45 years to beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park while allowing one-or-fewer runs in at least seven innings pitched. The other Baltimore southpaws to do that over that span were Ross Grimsley on September 20, 1974, Doug Johns on June 3, 1998 and Brian Matusz on July 4, 2010.
NORRIS LOSES DESPITE 12 STRIKEOUT, NO WALK PERFORMANCE
From Elias: Bud Norris registered 12 strikeouts and did not walk a batter but was saddled with the loss in Houston's defeat at the hands of the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Norris was the 51st pitcher to record at least 12 strikeouts without a walk in a game over the last 10 seasons, but was only the sixth of those pitchers to suffer a loss (33 were credited with a win and 12 had a no decision). The five others to lose were Felix Hernandez in 2011, Aaron Harang in 2007, John Smoltz in 2005, Javier Vazquez in 2003 and Curt Schilling in 2003.
MORNEAU SNAPS BASES LOADED HITLESS SKID
From Elias: Justin Morneau came through with a bases-loaded single to drive in two runs in the fifth inning and give the Twins a 3-2 lead en-route to a 4-2 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night. Morneau entered the day 0-for-6 with the bases loaded this season, the third biggest 0-for in the American League in that situation behind Raul Ibanez 0-for-8 and Alcides Escobar 0-for-7.
BRANTLEY FINALLY GOES DEEP
From Elias: Michael Brantley hit a three-run home run in the first inning to help lead the Indians to a 9-6 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday night. Brantley entered the day's action with no homers in 205 at bats on the season. He was one of only three players with at least 200 at bats that did not have a homer in 2012, along with the Mets' Daniel Murphy and Miami's Jose Reyes.
LUDWICK COMES THROUGH WITH THE BAGS FULL
From Elias: Ryan Ludwick's three-run double highlighted a four-run fourth inning in the Reds' 5-4 win over the Pirates on Wednesday night. Ludwick now has 10 RBIs with the bases loaded, tied with Carlos Ruiz for the second highest total in the National League, behind Giancarlo Stanton (11).
COLON CONTINUES TO MASTER THE RANGERS
From Elias: Bartolo Colon pitched eight shutout innings and earned the victory in the A's 2-0 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night to run his career record to 18-6 against Texas. Colon's .750 winning percentage against the Rangers is the fifth highest among pitchers with 20-or-more decisions against them since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972. Only Barry Zito (18-5, .783), Mike Boddicker (16-5, .762), Randy Johnson (16-5, .762) and Frank Viola (16-5, .762) have a better record than Colon against the Rangers over that span.
GOLDSCHMIDT'S RECENT POWER SURGE CONTINUES
From Elias: Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs to help lead the Diamondbacks to a 6-1 win over Colorado. Goldschmidt now has 15 extra base hits in 62 at bats over his last 17 games after having only eight extra base hits in 101 at bats in his first 31 games of the season.
DEVILS AVOID SWEEP
From Elias: The Devils prevented a Kings sweep of the Stanley Cup Final with a 3-1 win at Los Angeles in Game 4 on Wednesday night. It is the 13th consecutive season in which the Stanley Cup Final did not end in a sweep, the longest such streak in NHL history. (The last sweep was Detroit over Washington in 1998.) There were two streaks of seven straight years without a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final: 1953 through 1959 and 1961 through 1967. Thirteen years without a Final sweep is the longest streak for the three major sports that determine their champs with a series. The longest streak in World Series history was 12 years without a sweep from 1977 to 1988 and the longest in NBA Finals history was also 12 from 1947 to 1958.
The Devils have not been swept in any of their last 43 playoff series. That is tied for the second-longest such streak in NHL playoff history. The Canadiens had a streak of 56 straight playoff series without being swept from 1953 to 1980 and the Penguins have not been swept in any of their last 43 series dating back to 1980.