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WITH HEAT TRAILING IN SERIES, JAMES AGAIN COMES UP BIG
From Elias: LeBron James scored 32 points and made all 12 of his free-throw attempts as the Heat earned a 100-96 decision in Oklahoma City, evening the NBA Finals at one win apiece.
Thursday's game marked the third time in this year's playoffs that Miami took the court while trailing in the series; the Heat had trailed the Pacers, two games to one, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and they had trailed the Celtics, three games to two, in the Eastern Finals. Not only has Miami evened the series by winning each of those three games - each one on the road, by the way - but James has come up big, scoring 40 in Game Four at Indianapolis, 45 in Game Six at Boston, and 32 in Game Two at Oklahoma City. The last player to score 30-or-more points in three such victories in one year's playoffs was Dwyane Wade with the Heat in 2006.
Only two other players in the history of the NBA Finals have taken at least 12 free-throw attempts and made them all in a victory by a margin of four-or-fewer points. In Game Four of the 1956 Finals, Jack George went 12-for-12 from the line to help the Philadelphia Warriors to a 107-105 victory over the Fort Wayne Pistons; and in Game Two of the 1990 Finals, Terry Porter went 15-for-15 from the line to aid the Trail Blazers to a 106-105 overtime victory at Detroit.
BOSH IS BACK WITH A FLOURISH
From Elias: Chris Bosh had 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Heat's Game Two victory. He became the first Heat player to have a 15/15 (points/rebounds) game in any of the 14 games that Miami has played in the NBA Finals.
MLB - Dempster Allows 0 Runs Again
From Elias: For the 3rd consecutive start, Ryan Dempster allowed no runs extending his scoreless innings streak to 22.
That ties for the 4th-longest such streak by a Cubs starter since 1980
VERLANDER IS TOPS IN INTERLEAGUE GAMES
From Elias: Justin Verlander ended his four-start winless streak with a 5-3 victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Verlander has a 96-59 career record against American League teams but he's been nearly unbeatable in interleague play, with a 17-2 mark in 23 games against National League opponents. Verlander's .895 career winning percentage in interleague play is the highest for any pitcher with at least 15 decisions in cross-league matchups. In fact, it's more than 100 percentage points better than the second-best mark, which belongs to Mark Buehrle (24-7, .774).
METS ROOKIE HOMERS TWICE FROM THE #1 SLOT
From Elias: Rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered twice to lead the Mets to a 9-6 win that completed their three-game sweep of the Rays at Tropicana Field. Nieuwenhuis, who led off the first inning with a home run and hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, is the third rookie in Mets history to have a two-homer game from the first slot in the batting order. The first two were Gregg Jefferies (1989) and Jose Reyes (2003). The only other rookie to hit two home runs in one game from the leadoff slot this season is the Brewers' Norichika Aoki who did it against the Cubs last Thursday. Aoki's second homer was a walk-off blast to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning.
A PAIR OF ORIOLES EACH DRIVE IN FIVE
From Elias: Matt Wieters and Steve Pearce each drove in five runs for the Orioles in their 12 -6 win over the Pirates. They're the second pair of Orioles teammates to record five-or-more RBIs in the same game since the franchise moved to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954. Cal Ripken (six RBIs) and Will Clark (five) did that in the Orioles' 22-1 win in Atlanta on June 13, 1999.
THREE-HIT FOURSOME LEADS A'S TO VICTORY
From Elias: Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Kurt Suzuki each banged out three hits for the Athletics in their 8-2 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. It was the first time that Oakland had four players record three or more hits in the same game since a 15-10 A's win at Anaheim on Sept. 26, 2009. Suzuki was also part of that quartet that day; the other members were Daric Barton, Jack Cust and Adam Kennedy.
WHEN BLANTON IS GOOD HE'S VERY, VERY GOOD
From Elias: Joe Blanton posted his sixth win of the season with a 6-1 complete-game victory at Minnesota. Blanton has pitched extremely well or very poorly in his 13 starts this season. In his six wins he's allowed a total of 10 runs in 46 innings, but in his seven other starts (five losses and two no-decisions) he's given up 39 runs in 37 1/3 innings.
OVERBAY IS VERY PRODUCTIVE IN HIS INFREQUENT STARTS
From Elias: Lyle Overbay recorded three hits and drove in three runs for the Diamondbacks in their 11-3 win at Texas. Overbay has started only 16 games this season but he's had three or more hits in five of those 16 starts (one four-hit game and four three-hit games). That ties him with Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill for the second-most games with at least three hits by an Arizona player this year, one behind team leader Jason Kubel.
PHILLIPS AND VOTTO GO DEEP AGAINST THE TRIBE
From Elias: Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick each homered for the Reds in their 12-5 win over the Indians on Thursday. Phillips and Votto have been consistent home-run threats over the years when the Reds have played their intrastate rival from the American League. Phillips has slammed nine home runs in 38 career games versus the Indians and Votto has hit eight homers in 25 games against the Tribe. The only players with as many home runs in interleague games against the Indians as Phillips and Votto are a pair of former Reds, Ken Griffey, Jr. (11) and Adam Dunn (11).
BRAYAN PENA'S WALK-OFF SINGLE
From Elias: Brayan Pena singled in two runs with two outs and Kansas City trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn the Royals a 4-3 win over the Brewers. It was the first walk-off hit by a Royals player with the team trailing and down to its last out since July 30, 2010, when Alex Gordon hit a game-ending three-run homer in the ninth inning off Baltimore's Alfredo Simon on July 30, 2010.
ADAM DUNN SETS A PERSONAL RBI MARK
From Elias: Adam Dunn drove in the only runs for the White Sox in their loss at St. Louis with a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Dunn's three runs batted in on Thursday night give him a total of 50 RBIs in 63 games this season. That's the fewest games that Dunn has ever needed to reach the half-century mark in RBIs in any season of his major-league career. His previous best was 50 RBIs in his first 69 games in 2009 with Washington. Dunn finished that season with a total of 105 RBIs in 159 games.
FIRST CAREER SLAM FOR J.D. MARTINEZ
From Elias: J.D. Martinez hit his first major-league grand slam in the Astros' 6-3 win at San Francisco. Martinez has been in the big leagues for less than 11 months (he debuted on July 30 last year) but he's been a consistent threat with the bases loaded for Houston, recording six hits and drawing two walks in 15 plate appearances with the bags full. Martinez leads the Astros with 17 bases-loaded runs batted in over the last two seasons.