Thursday, May 10, 2007
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Pistons trailed the Bulls 44-28 at halftime but rallied for an 81-74 victory. Since the inception of the 24-second shot clock in 1954, only one other postseason game was won by a team that scored fewer than 30 points in the first half. Detroit also triumphed in that other instance, overcoming a 33-27 halftime deficit to beat the Pacers 69-65 in Game 6 of the 2004 Eastern Conference finals.
Chicago extended its lead to 19 points in the third quarter. The last NBA team to lose a postseason game after holding a lead of 19 or more points in the second half was New Jersey, on May 25, 2002. The Nets led Boston by 26 points in the third quarter of that game but lost 94-90.
• With Thursday night's victory, the Pistons became the 11th team in NBA history to win its first seven games in a playoff year. Seven of the previous 10 teams to do that went on to win the title. The exceptions were the Lakers in 1989, Pacers in 1999 and Heat in 2005.
• Roy Halladay allowed all eight runs in Toronto's 8-0 loss to Boston, after giving up nine runs last Saturday to the Rangers. Only two other former Cy Young award winners surrendered 17 or more runs over two consecutive starts: San Francisco's Vida Blue in 1979 and the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela in 1983.
• The Marlins beat the Dodgers 3-0 on Josh Willingham's three-run, game-ending home run off Derek Lowe. Lowe is only the second starting pitcher in the past three seasons to allow a walkoff homer. The Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang did that June 18, 2006, when Washington's Ryan Zimmerman took him deep. The last Dodgers starter to surrender a game-ending dinger was Mike Morgan, on April, 30, 1991, to the Expos' Delino DeShields.
• Ken Griffey Jr. hit a home run in Cincinnati's 9-5 win over Houston, and he is batting .432 with five home runs over his past 10 games. It's the first time in his eight seasons with the Reds that Junior has hit at least that many homers with such a high batting average over a 10-game span. He last did that in May 1999 with Seattle.
• Adam Dunn had a double, triple and homer for Cincinnati, becoming the first Reds player in 13 years to fall a single short of a cycle; Reggie Sanders did that against the Marlins on April 24, 1994.
• Jeff Weaver allowed six suns in Seattle's 7-3 loss to the Tigers, dropping his record to 0-6 in his first season with the Mariners. The last major-league pitcher to lose his first six starts with a particular team was Mark Thurmond for the 1988 Orioles.
• Mike Rabelo had three hits, including a triple, for Detroit. Prior to Rabelo, the most recent rookie catchers to have a three-hit game with a triple for the Tigers were Paul Bako in 1998 and Bill Freehan in 1963.
• The Braves beat the Padres 5-3 but failed to hit a home run for the eighth consecutive game. That's Atlanta's longest drought since May 1983, when the team had a 13-game streak under manager Joe Torre.
• The Athletics clubbed six home runs in their 17-3 win at Kansas City. It's the most home runs hit by any major-league team in a game this season and the most for Oakland in a road contest in more than a decade -- since the A's clouted eight four-baggers on June 27, 1996, in an 18-2 win over the Angels in Anaheim.
Dan Johnson was 4-for-4, with four runs scored and four RBIs in the victory. He's the first major-league player to combine a perfect 4-for-4 (or better) game with at least four runs scored and four runs batted in since Dmitri Young did that for the Tigers on April 4, 2005. The last Oakland player to do that was Rickey Henderson in September 1991.
If you're curious, there has never been a 17-3 game in the 47-year history of the Raiders-Chiefs rivalry.
• The Pirates scored three runs off Carlos Zambrano in the first inning, on the way to a 6-4 victory over Chicago. It's the third time over his last five starts that Zambrano allowed three or more runs in the first inning. In the previous three seasons combined (2004-06) he did that in only two games.
• Kelvim Escobar threw a complete-game shutout against Cleveland, striking out nine, without issuing a walk. In the past 15 years, only one other pitcher blanked the Indians with no walks and at least nine strikeouts: Mike Mussina, for the Orioles, on May 30, 1997.
• The White Sox beat the Twins 3-0, handing Minnesota its seventh shutout loss in the Metrodome since Aug. 1 of last season. No other team in the majors has been blanked even five times at home over that period.
• The Yankees began their homestand with a 15-11 loss to Seattle last Friday night and ended it with a 14-2 defeat to Texas on Thursday afternoon. It's only the third time that the Yankees allowed 14 or more runs in a game at Yankee Stadium twice within a span of one week. They also did that in June 1989 and August 1990.
• Victor Diaz hit a pinch-hit grand slam for the Rangers. Prior to Diaz, the last two players with a pinch-hit slam at Yankee Stadium were Jorge Posada in 2001 and Detroit's Mickey Tettleton in 1991.
• Michael Young missed the game with a hamstring injury. He and Mark Teixeira had both played in each of Texas's previous 287 games. Over the past 25 years, only two pairs of teammates had longer streaks. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio appeared in 389 consecutive games together from 1995 to 1998 and Miguel Tejada and Terrence Long played in 456 straight games for Oakland from 2000 to 2003.
• Tiger Woods had three bogeys and did not break par in the opening round of the Players Championship, ending his streak of 269 rounds with at least one hole under par. The last time that Tiger played a round without shooting under par on a hole was at the 2003 Masters. That was the second-longest current streak for anybody who has played on the tour this year. Phil Mickelson has played 389 straight rounds in which he broke par on a hole at least once.
• The Sabres led the league in goals scored during the regular season (298) and the Senators were second (286). It's only the second time in the past 30 years that the two highest-scoring teams in the NHL have met in the conference finals or Stanley Cup Finals. The only other time it happened over that span was in 2001, when the Devils, who led the league in goals, beat the runner-up Penguins in five games in the Eastern Conference finals.
• Daniel Alfredsson, who scored a goal in each of the last two games of the Devils series, continued his streak with a goal in Ottawa's 5-2 win over Buffalo. It's the first time he has ever scored goals in three consecutive postseason games.
• The Rapids-Real Salt Lake game was the sixth in MLS history in which each team had an own-goal, but it was the first of those games to end 1-1. Also, with the goals coming 11 minutes apart, it was the shortest span between own goals for each side in an MLS game.