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JAMES TAKES OVER IN GAMES 6 & 7
From Elias: LeBron James scored 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Heat's Game 7 win over the Celtics on Saturday, after he had 45 points and 15 rebounds in Game 6 on Thursday. Only three other players have had 30 points and 10 rebounds while playing for the winning team in Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series: Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant did that as teammates in 2002 against the Kings and Bob Pettit did it in 1961 for the St. Louis Hawks against the Lakers.
James averaged 33.6 points and 11 rebounds per game while making 52.7 percent of his field goals against the Celtics. Only two other players in NBA history have averaged 33 points per game and 11 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor in a seven-game playoff series: Wilt Chamberlain (38.6, 23.4 and 55.9% in the 1964 Western Division Finals for the San Francisco Warriors against the St. Louis Hawks) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (37.1, 18.7 and 60.7% in the 1977 Conference Semis for the Lakers against Golden State).
The Heat won by 13 points in Game 7 after the score was tied heading to the fourth quarter. This was 10th winner-take-all playoff game in NBA history in which the score was tied entering the fourth quarter, and it was the largest margin of victory in any of those games.
JONES TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS AND WORKING OVERTIME
From Elias: Adam Jones hit a 12th-inning walk-off home run on Saturday, which was his third extra-inning homer this season. He had a 17th-inning homer on May 6 against the Red Sox and a 15th-inning homer against Kansas City 10 days later. Jones has tied the Orioles record for extra-inning homers in one season, established by Frank Robinson in 1969 and tied by Eddie Murray in 1978 and Rafael Palmeiro in 1998. However, none of those players hit all three of their extra-inning homers in the 12th inning or later.
ROCKIES CAN'T CATCH TROUT
From Elias: Mike Trout terrorized the Rockies again, collecting three hits, three runs and two stolen bases for the second straight game. In the modern era (1900 to date), only two other major-league players - neither a rookie - had back-to-back games with three hits and runs and two stolen bases: the Padres' Gene Richards did it in July 1980 and the Philadelphia Athletics' Rube Oldring did it in September 1913.
SALE EXTENDS WINNING STREAK
From Elias: Chris Sale has won each of his last five starts, including Saturday against Houston, while posting a 0.98 ERA and striking out 43 batters. Sale is the first White Sox pitcher to win five consecutive starts with an ERA under 1.00 since Mark Buehrle in 2001 and he's the first to do that for the Pale Hose with an ERA under 1.00 and at least 40 strikeouts since Jack Harshman in 1954.
HARD TO HIT GONZALEZ
From Elias: Gio Gonzalez allowed only three hits to the Red Sox in 6 1/3 innings on Saturday, lowering his opponents batting average this season to .168. That's the lowest against a major-league pitcher in his first 12 starts of a season since Francisco Liriano held opponents to a .163 batting average in his first 12 starts in 2006, his rookie season.
HANSON A BEAST VS. THE EAST
From Elias: Tommy Hanson and the Braves defeated the Blue Jays on Saturday, giving Hanson six wins in six career starts against teams from the American League East. Hanson is the first pitcher to win his first six starts against AL East teams since Bob Welch had a six-game streak in 1988, his first year in the American League after 10 seasons with the Dodgers.
HAIRSTON HITS LEFTIES...HARD
From Elias: Jerry Hairston, Jr. had two hits - a double and a home run - in three at-bats against Jason Vargas on Saturday, continuing his hot streak against left-handed pitching. Hairston has 13 hits in his last 22 at-bats against left-handed pitchers, a .591 batting average.
TIGERS LEFTIES MAUL MARSHALL
From Elias: Brennan Boesch and Prince Fielder each had hits off Sean Marshall to give the Tigers a win over the Reds on Saturday. It was the first time in nearly a year that two left-handed batters had hits off Marshall in one game; the last time it happened was when Chase Utley and Ryan Howard did it last June 12. In the interim, left-handed batters were 10 for 71 (.141) against Marshall.
Fielder's hit came after the Reds intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera. It was the fifth time this season that Cabrera has been intentionally walked to bring Fielder to the plate, and Fielder has delivered RBI singles in each of the last three instances. The other plate appearances resulted in a fly out and a sacrifice fly.
YANKEES EXTEND STREAK VS. METS
From Elias: The Yankees defeated the Mets on Saturday, 4-2, extending to 10 their streak of games holding the Mets to three or fewer runs. That's the Yankees' longest streak of that kind against any major-league team since a 10-game streak against the Indians over the 1971 and 1972 seasons.
BELTRAN ENDEARS HIMSELF TO ST. LOUIS FANS
From Elias: Carlos Beltran hit his 17th home run of the season and his 10th at Busch Stadium on Saturday, in his 26th home game for St. Louis. The only Cardinals players who reached 10 home runs in fewer home games from the start of their St. Louis career than Beltran are Mark McGwire (21st home game, in 1997), Albert Pujols (23rd, in 2001) and Dick Allen (25th, in 1970).
DIAMOND NO LONGER ROUGH
From Elias: Twins rookie Scott Diamond threw six shutout innings against the Cubs on Saturday, lowering his ERA to 1.61, which is the lowest for any Twins rookie in his first seven starts of a season since the team arrived in Minnesota in 1961. The previous low was 1.64, by Francisco Liriano in 2006.
ZOBRIST'S BIG GAME
From Elias: Ben Zobrist went 3 for 3 with two homers, two walks, four runs scored and four RBIs for the Rays on Saturday. Two other players have had a game this season in which they reached base safely in each plate appearance, while having at least four runs and RBIs and two homers: Josh Reddick (May 11) and Josh Hamilton, in his four-homer game on May 8.
PIRATES CONTINUE WINNING WAYS
From Elias: The Pirates' win over the Royals on Saturday gave Pittsburgh 11 wins in its last 14 games - their best 14-game record in nearly eight years, since an 11-3 span in June/July 2004.
VOGELSONG COMFORTABLE AT HOME
From Elias: Ryan Vogelsong allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings on Saturday, giving him a 1.94 ERA at home since the start of the 2011 season. The only pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings at home over the last two seasons with a lower ERA than Vogelsong are Jered Weaver (1.61) and Clayton Kershaw (1.91).
ALONSO ENDS SKID
From Elias: Yonder Alonso broke an 0-for-21 drought with a sixth-inning single on Saturday and he scored on John Baker's go-ahead hit. At the time of his hit, Alonso had the longest current hitless streak among major-league position players.
SOMETIMES SALVATION COMES VIA SALVADOR
From Elias: Bryce Salvador gave the Devils a 2-1 lead with a goal at the 9:05 mark of the second period and New Jersey preserved that one-goal lead the rest of the way for a victory over the Kings in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. It was the fourth goal of the 2012 playoffs and the first Stanley Cup Final goal for Salvador, who played all 82 games for the Devils in the 2011-12 regular season without scoring a single goal. He's the first player in NHL history to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final after playing in 80 or more games and not scoring a goal in the preceding regular season. The old record for that was held by another New Jersey defenseman, Ken Daneyko, who scored a goal in Game 1 of the 2000 Final against the Dallas Stars, after going goalless in 78 games in the 1999-2000 season.
The Devils are only the third team to win Games Four and Five of a Stanley Cup Final after losing the first three games of the series. The Maple Leafs did that in 1942 against the Red Wings (Toronto also won Games Six and Seven), and three years later the Red Wings returned the favor against the Maple Leafs (Detroit won Game Six in the 1945 Final as well, but Toronto prevailed in Game Seven).