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LeBron's triple-double can't save the Heat in Finals opener
From Elias: LeBron James had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, but it wasn't enough as the Heat fell to the Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. James became the sixth player to record a triple-double in the first game of an NBA Finals, joining Wilt Chamberlain (1967), Walt Frazier (1972), Dave Cowens (1976), Magic Johnson (1991) and Jason Kidd (2002). Kidd was the only one of the previous five to do it in a series-opening loss in the Finals.
Spurs off to their usual fast start in the Finals
From Elias: The Spurs defeated the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. The Spurs have won the first game of each of the five NBA Finals series they have appeared in since joining the NBA. Only one other team in NBA history won at least five consecutive series-opening games in the Finals: the Celtics, who won Game 1 in seven consecutive Finals appearances from 1959 to 1965.
The George Karl era is over in Denver
From Elias: The Nuggets announced that George Karl will not be back as the team's head coach next season. Denver posted a 423-257 (.622) regular season record, but never reached the NBA Finals during Karl's tenure as the team's head coach. That is the third most wins for any head coach with a single NBA team without ever appearing in the Finals with that franchise, behind the 540 wins Don Nelson had with the Bucks and the 432 victories the Nuggets registered under Doug Moe.
Karl's dismissal means the opposing head coaches in this year's NBA Finals now own two of the three longest tenures with their current team. Gregg Popovich, who was named head coach of the Spurs in December of 1996, has the longest current tenure; followed by Doc Rivers (hired by the Celtics in 2004) and Erik Spoelstra (named head coach of the Heat in April of 2008).
Hossa puts Blackhawks a win away from the finals
From Elias: Marian Hossa's goal 70 seconds into the third period broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Blackhawks on their way to a 3-2 win over the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Hossa has scored seven goals in this year's playoffs and a league-high six of them have given his team a lead. (His other tally was a score-tying goal.) Go-ahead goals in the playoffs have been the norm in Hossa's career, with 22 of his 43 postseason goals having put his team in the lead. Hossa's percentage of go-ahead goals in the playoffs (51.2%) is the highest among active players with 40 or more postseason goals and the fourth-highest in NHL history (using the same minimum). The top three players in that regard are Stephane Richer (54.7%), Dale Hunter (52.4%) and Mike Modano (51.7%).
Scherzer continues his dominant start to the season
From Elias: Max Scherzer allowed only one run in seven innings and earned the victory in the Tigers win over the Rays on Thursday afternoon. Scherzer is now 8-0 with 100 strikeouts in 12 starts this season. Only one other pitcher in major-league history was undefeated with 100 or more strikeouts through his first 12 starts of a season: Rogers Clemens, who was 11-0 with 104 K's through a dozen starts for the Red Sox in 1986.
Norris is getting no support from the Astros
From Elias: Bud Norris took the loss despite allowing only three runs over seven innings in the Astros' 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. It marked the ninth consecutive time the Astros scored three or fewer runs in a game started by Norris. That is Houston's longest streak of consecutive games with three or fewer runs scored in a particular pitcher's starts since the team did that in 11 straight starts by Doug Drabek in 1993.
Miller homers and K's 9 in Cardinals' win
From Elias: Shelby Miller struck out nine Diamondbacks over six innings of work and cracked a home run in the fifth inning in the Cardinals' win over Arizona on Thursday night. Only four other Cardinals' pitchers since 1900 have homered and registered at least nine strikeouts on the mound in the same game: Bob Gibson did it five times, Adam Wainwright (2009), Joe Magrane (1992) and Vinegar Bend Mizell (1953).
Puig ties major-league mark
From Elias: Yasiel Puig hit a grand-slam home run to help lead the Dodgers to a 5-0 win over the Braves on Thursday night. Puig has driven in nine runs in the four games he has played since he made his major-league debut on June 3. That ties the most RBIs through four games among players that began their career since 1920 (the year RBIs became an official statistic). Six other players had nine RBIs in their first four major-league games: Jack Merson, Joe Cunningham, Dave Kingman, Arquimedez Pozo, Mike Jacobs and Will Middlebrooks.
Cardinals rough up Kennedy
From Elias: The Cardinals roughed up Ian Kennedy for 10 runs and 13 hits through the first four innings in St. Louis' victory over Arizona on Thursday night. Kennedy was the first pitcher to allow at least 10 runs and 13 hits through the first four innings of a game since Houston's Runelvys Hernandez allowed those exact numbers through four innings to the Pirates on July 7, 2008.
Ortiz sends Fenway fans home happy
From Elias: David Ortiz hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Red Sox a 6-3 win over the Rangers on Thursday night. It was the 11th walk-off home run of Ortiz's career, which is the highest total among active players. Ortiz entered the day tied with Albert Pujols for the lead among active players in that category.
Ortiz's game-winning blast came after the Rangers intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia to get to him. It was the first home run in his career after the batter immediately before him had been intentionally walked.
Rosales' 10th inning blast lifts A's
From Elias: Adam Rosales hit a home run in the top of the 10th inning to give the A's the lead in their 5-4 win over the White Sox on Thursday night. It marked the second time that Rosales, the A's ninth place hitter, has homered to give his team the lead in the eighth inning or later this season. No other player in the league has done that more than once out of the ninth spot in the batting order this season. Three players have done it once: Yan Gomes, Clayton Kershaw and Jurickson Profar.
The last major league players to hit two go ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later while starting the game in the ninth spot in the batting order in a single season were Larry Bigbie and Rod Barajas in 2004.
Royals overcome first inning deficit to win
From Elias: The Royals overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit to beat the Twins by a score of 7-3 on Thursday night. It marked the second time Kansas City won a game after trailing by at least three runs at the conclusion of the first inning this season (beat Philadelphia after trailing 4-0 after the first inning on April 7). The Royals had not won a game in that fashion in the last two seasons combined, going 0-18 in games in which they trailed by three or more runs after one inning from 2011 to 2012.
Hughes is dominant in Seattle
From Elias: Phil Hughes allowed one run over seven innings and earned the victory in the Yankees 6-1 win over the Mariners in Seattle on Thursday night. Hughes has won each of his first three career starts at Safeco Field while allowing one or fewer run in each start. No other pitcher has done that in their first three starts in Seattle's current home stadium.