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VERLANDER BLANKS A'S WITH 11 K'S IN GAME 5
From Elias: Justin Verlander pitched a four-hit shutout and registered 11 strikeouts in Detroit's series clinching 6-0 win over Oakland on Thursday night. Only one other pitcher in major-league history has pitched a shutout with at least 10 strikeouts in a "winner take all" postseason game. Sandy Koufax allowed three hits and had 10 strikeouts in a 2-0 shutout win over the Twins in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series.
BUSTER'S SLAM IS THE DECISIVE BLOW
From Elias: Buster Posey's grand-slam home run keyed a six-run fifth inning in the Giants' 6-4 win over the Reds in the decisive fifth game of their NLDS on Thursday afternoon. Posey is just the fourth player in major-league history to hit a grand-slam in a "winner-take-all" postseason game. The other players to do it were the Yankees' Moose Skowron against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series, Boston's Troy O'Leary against Cleveland in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS and Boston's Johnny Damon against the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.
VISITORS RULE IN REDS-GIANTS SERIES
From Elias: After dropping the first two games in San Francisco, the Giants came back to win their NLDS series against the Reds with three straight victories in Cincinnati. It is the just the second MLB playoff series of at least five games in which the visiting team won every game. The visiting team won each of the five games played between the Rangers and Rays in the 2010 ALDS. There has been only one such series in NBA history (Nets vs. 76ers five-game series in the first round in 1984) and none in the NHL.
WERTH'S HOME RUN STAVES OFF ELIMINATION
From Elias: Jayson Werth, who hit only five home runs during the regular season, homered leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Nationals to a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals that evened their best of five NLDS series at two wins each. Only one other player in postseason history has hit a game-ending home run in a game in which his team faced playoff elimination after going deep as few as five times during the regular season. On October 10, 1981, Philadelphia's George Vukovich homered in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat Montreal and even their best of five series at 2-2. Vukovich had only one home run during the 1981 regular season.
ONLY THREE HITS EACH FOR NATS AND CARDS
From Elias: The Cardinals and Nationals were only able to muster three hits each in Game 4 of their NLDS series on Thursday afternoon. It is only the sixth postseason game in major-league history in which each team recorded three-or-fewer hits and the first such game since October 18, 2004 (Houston three hits, St. Louis one hit).
TWO MORE STRIKEOUTS FOR A-ROD
From Elias: Alex Rodriguez struck out two more times in the Yankees' Game 4 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night. Rodriguez has now K'd multiple times in each of the first four games of the ALDS series. Only two other players in MLB history have registered at least two strikeouts in each of the first four games of a postseason series: the Mets' Darryl Strawberry in the 1986 LCS against Houston (he did it in all six games) and Philadelphia's Raul Ibanez in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees.
TITANS UPSET STEELERS WITH FOURTH-QUARTER RALLY
From Elias: The Titans, who entered the day with a 1-4 record, overcame a 23-16 fourth-quarter deficit and defeated the Steelers 26-23 in Tennessee on Thursday night. It marks only the second time since Mike Tomlin took over as the team's head coach that the Steelers have squandered a seven-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to a team that entered the game with a losing record at least three games into the season. Pittsburgh blew a 7-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the 2-7 Chiefs under Tomlin's watch on November 22, 2009.
REDMAN IS FIRST STEELER RB SINCE FRENCHY WITH 100+ RECEIVING YARDS
From Elias: Isaac Redman had 105 receiving yards for the Steelers in the team's loss to Tennessee on Thursday. Redman is the first Steelers running back with a 100-yard receiving game since John "Frenchy" Fuqua had 116 against the Browns on November 29, 1970.
ANOTHER 80-YARD TD RECEPTION FOR WALLACE
From Elias: Mike Wallace caught an 82-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter in Pittsburgh's loss to Tennessee on Thursday night. It is the third career TD catch of at least 80 yards for Wallace, which is tied with Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson for the second most among active players behind Greg Jennings (four).