United Stats of #Murica – #NBA + #NHL Edition

NBA:

nullWhiteside is a monster off the bench

Hassan Whiteside, who has settled into his role off the bench, scored 19 points to go along with his 18 rebounds for Miami in its overtime victory against the Pacers. Whiteside, who scored 25 points and grabbed 23 rebounds as a substitute on Saturday, is the first NBA player to produce at least 18 points and 18 rebounds in consecutive games, both off the bench, since LaSalle Thompson had back-to-back games of that kind for the Kansas City Kings in January 1984.

nullFirst triple-double for Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27 points, snared 12 rebounds and handed out 10 assists as the Bucks defeated the Lakers, 108-101. Seventy-eight days after Antetokounmpo’s 21st birthday, he became the first player to generate a triple-double for Milwaukee since Larry Sanders in November 2012 and the second-youngest to do so in franchise history (41 days older than Brandon Jennings when he did it on October 30, 2010). Jason Kidd’s career total of 107 triple-doubles during his playing career is the third-highest in NBA history, behind Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138), but Antetokounmpo is the first player to post a triple-double with Kidd as his head coach.

nullCurry and Thompson dominate the Hawks

Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Klay Thompson added 27 as the Warriors defeated the Hawks, 102-92. It was the sixth game this season in which Curry and Thompson each scored more than 25 points, the most such games for any pair of starting guards in the NBA. Two other starting-guard duos have produced four such games this season: DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry for Toronto, and Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for Portland.

nullLowry and DeRozan have their way with the Knicks

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan each scored 22 points to lead the Raptors to a 122-95 victory over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Both Lowry and DeRozan have scored more than 20 points in all three of Toronto’s games versus New York this season. Over the last 40 seasons (1976-77 to date), only one other pair of backcourt starters each scored 20 or more points in three games against the Knicks within one season. That was in 1996-97, when Allen Iverson and Jerry Stackhouse did it for the 76ers.

nullTowns and Griffin

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 points and gathered 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves in their 124-122 victory over the Celtics. It was the 12th game for Towns this season in which he generated at least 25 points and ten rebounds, the most for any rookie in the franchise history of the T-wolves. Over the last 16 seasons (2000-01 to date), the only other NBA player with at least a dozen such games in his rookie season was Blake Griffin (24 in 2010-11).

nullPistons’ starters score 86 of their 96 points

Reggie Jackson scored a team-high 23 points for the Pistons in their 96-88 victory at Cleveland in a game in which Detroit’s starters scored all but ten of the team’s points (with Stanley Johnson accounting for all of the Pistons’ bench points). It was only the second win for the Pistons over the last four seasons in which their bench combined to score no more than ten points. Detroit’s other victory of that kind during that time (2012-13 to date) also came against the Cavaliers, earlier this season, when its bench contributed nine points in a 104-99 triumph on November 17.

NHL-Teams-logosNHL:

nullThird-period goal for Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin scored a tiebreaking goal in the third period which put the Capitals ahead to stay in their 3-2 win against the Coyotes. Ovechkin has scored 514 goals in his 11-season NHL career and he has now registered exactly 200 of them in third periods (184) or in overtime (16). Only three other active players have scored at least 200 such goals and they have all been in the NHL for at least 18 seasons: Jaromir Jagr (277), Jarome Iginla (228) and Marian Hossa (213).

nullTwo goals each for a trio of Sharks

Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl each scored two goals for the San Jose Sharks in their 6-3 win at St. Louis. Is was the fifth time in the last three seasons that an NHL team had three multiple-goal scorers in one game, yet it was the third time over that span that the Sharks have been the team to do it! Couture, Joe Pavelski and Raffi Torres were the trio of multi-goal Sharks in a 7-3 San Jose win at Philadelphia on Feb. 27, 2014, and on Dec. 4, 2014 the Sharks beat the Bruins, 7-4, with Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Tyler Kennedy each scoring two goals.

nullRinne wins north of the border

Nashville’s Pekka Rinne made 28 saves in his 2-1 shootout victory against the Canadiens at Bell Centre. Rinne had a 4-9-3 record in his first 16 road games this season, but he’s 4-0-2 in six games on the road since then with all four wins coming in Canada (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal).

Korpisalo notches his tenth victory

Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo notched his 10th victory in his first season in the NHL with a 6-4 win against the Bruins in Boston. Korpisalo is the third rookie goaltender in Columbus franchise history to reach double-figures in wins in one season, after Pascal Leclaire in 2005-06 (11) and Steve Mason when he won the Calder Trophy in 2008-09 (33).

Source: Elias Says: Sports Statistics – Stats from the Elias Sports Bureau

What You Need To Know Wednesday

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1

5 Times a Charm

Bomb threats, DUI’s, hit-and-runs, vandalism…you know a model citizen who has already faced at least a suspension(s) of 10 games before news of his latest suspension, of which, is now a year.  You’d think it would send him packing to another team but the Raiders are gonna wait it out.  Why do teams keep giving this guy chances?  Maybe it has to do with him being the fastest guy to 30 sacks in #NFL history.  But maybe at some point we should set a higher standard than just being good at orchestrated violence – Read more about this new suspension here:

2

Mama Said Knock You Out

In this era of safety and the wussification of the gladiators we once knew – vaunted medical staff are incapable of diagnosing a player having trouble during the game, and then notice something off about him, forgetting plays, and then he suffers an apparent second concussion – then is that not negligence?  Is it not a criminal offense?  Yes congratulations to the O-coordinator for noticing something was amiss with Brian Hoyer – but shame on everyone else paying lip service to brain injury – Read more here:

3

Time Just Keeps On Ticking

Back in my day, Time of Possession was a metric that told you what team dominated field possession and overall the game.  Those with the higher T.O.P usually had the better record. As the following article dictates, Time of Possession may be a dead stat – put out to pasture by the fundamental idea that more plays correlates to the possibility of more points.

4

What If You Had a Party and No one Came?

Remember when going to Bowl-Game meant something?  In this era of everyone gets a trophy – so does everyone get a Bowl-Game.  We have now have 80 Bowl games.  80!  80 games to fill with NCAA Football teams that many of do no deserve.  There exists a real possibility that some really undeserving teams will get some free-swag bags and a trip somewhere nice, like Boise in December, as this article breaks down the what if…

5

Rookie Hazing

life can be tough for a rookie in any sport.  But what if you got your shot late, like 32 late?  Knowing your legs won’t get any fresher and stock ownership in IcyHot might be your first investment – probably will not diminish your enthusiasm.  But for Marcelos Huertas his dream is real and might be like watching John Beckwith play in the #NBA.

6

Home Cooking Your Own Books

Like Enron, the #NHL has a credibility problem.  You just can not trust the advanced stats the league puts out.  Stupidity is not like a tide that raises all boats – it’s the tide that sinks them all.  For league to trumpet out bad data and for no one to notice, screams the type of ineptitude that I and most people I know have associated Gary Bettman with for decades.  Maybe the casual fan doesn’t care, but it still doesn’t mean you invest much in a sport that continues to get lapped in the ratings by ice-dancing.

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Getting Smart with #NBA + #NHL News o’Day (11-9-15)

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1. NBA Bounce House

Love flashes his old form in Cavs’ win

Kevin Love scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the Cavaliers’ 101-97 win over the Pacers. Although Love fell one rebound short of his first 20/20 game in nearly three years, it was a performance reminiscent of his heyday in Minnesota. Love had 16 games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds for the Timberwolves, including 11 during the 2010-11 season. No other NBA player has had a season with at least ten 20/20 games (points and rebounds) since Kevin Willis in 1991-92.


nullDurant proves his value to OKC

Kevin Durant led all players with 32 points in the Thunder’s 124-103 victory over the Suns. It was Oklahoma City’s second win by at least 20 points this season. The Thunder had only one such victory in their final 26 games last season, with Durant sidelined. Here’s a broader picture to put Durant’s value in perspective: OKC has won 33 of its last 50 games with Durant, eight by 20 points or more. In its last 50 games without Durant, Oklahoma City is barely above .500 (26-24), with only four wins by at least 20 points.­


nullWhiteside is one of NBA’s top shot blockers

Hassan Whiteside blocked six shots to complement his 20 points and 11 rebounds in Miami’s 96-76 victory over Toronto. Whiteside ranks second in the NBA with 123 blocks since making his first start for the Heat on January 14. Only Rudy Gobert has blocked more shots than Whiteside during that time … and just barely (125).


nullWill Galloway become the Knicks’ go-to shooter in the clutch?

Langston Galloway hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 2:00 to play that proved to be the game-winner, as the Knicks defeated the Lakers, 99-95. Galloway has now made seven of 12 field-goal attempts (2-for-2 this season) in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime and the game within five points.


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2. Ice-Ice Baby

Bergeron leads Bruins to win over Isles

Patrice Bergeron assisted on the first goal and scored the second in the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Islanders. It was Bergeron’s third multiple-point game this season and in each of those games he recorded at least one goal and one assist. Bergeron played in 81 games for Boston last season but he had only three games in which he tallied both a goal and an assist.


nullKlingberg is top-scoring d-man

John Klingberg took over the points leadership this season among NHL defensemen with a pair of assists in the Stars’ 4-1 win against the Red Wings. Klingberg is the second defenseman in Stars franchise history with 15 points in the team’s first 15 games of a season. The first was Craig Hartsburg, who scored three goals and was credited with 12 assists in the Minnesota North Stars’ first 15 games in 1987-88.


nullPamieri powers Devils’ OT win

Kyle Palmieri scored a power play goal in overtime to earn the Devils a 4-3 win over the Canucks. It was the first time that the Devils won a home game on an overtime PPG since March 4, 2011, when Ilya Kovalchuk scored the winning goal against the Penguins. Palmieri’s overtime goal was the third of his NHL career and first for the Devils, but it wasn’t the first OT goal he scored at Prudential Center. His first overtime goal in the NHL gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the Devils in Newark on Dec. 20, 2013.


Getting Smart With #NBA + #NHL NEWS o’Day (11-5-15)

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1. NBA Bounce House

You wondered how long it was going to take before some #NBA player became fed-up with those sleeved-uniforms and for LeBron, he wasn’t having it anymore.  It’s like when Costanza made the Yankees wear all-cotton uniforms – #WorstIdeaEver.  Hopefully soon, Mr. Silver will realize these too were a turr-able idea and give the shooters their free-range back in their shoulders.

Curry continues to roll in the early going

Stephen Curry scored 31 points and made seven three-pointers in the Warriors’ 112-108 win over the Clippers on Wednesday. Curry has scored 179 points in his five games played this season. Over the last 40 seasons, the only other players to score as many points as Curry through their first five games of a season are Adrian Dantley (1980-81) and Michael Jordan, who did it three times (1986-87, 1989-90 and 1991-92).

Curry’s 28 three-pointers made are by far the most any player has made through five games of a season since the NBA instituted the three-point shot in 1979-80. The previous high was 21 by Ryan Anderson (2011-12), O.J. Mayo (2012-13) and Trevor Ariza (2014-15).


Howard is perfect from the field

Dwight Howard went 10-for-10 from the field and hauled down 14 rebounds in the Rockets’ overtime win over the Magic on Wednesday night. It marked the second time that Howard has shot 10-for-10 or better from the field in a game, having also done that on February 24, 2010 (11-for-11), ironically while he was with the Magic against the Rockets. The only other players to attempt 10 or more shots from the field and make all of them multiple times in the shot-clock era are Wilt Chamberlain (8 times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice), Bernard King (twice) and Karl Malone (twice).


Blazers’ backcourt has a big night in UtahAltX.Logo.white

Damian Lillard scored 35 points and starting backcourt mate C.J. McCollum chipped in with 27 in the Blazers’ win in Utah on Wednesday night. It’s the first time in nearly 20 years that Portland’s starting backcourt each produced at last 25 points in a road game, since Rod Strickland (32) and Clyde Drexler (30) did it against the SuperSonics in a losing effort in Seattle on January 15, 1995.


Suns win with a team effort

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 19 points and was the team’s leader in assists with eight in a 118-97 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night. It marked the most points the Suns have scored in a game in which they did not have a single player score 20 points or hand out 10 assists since December 8, 1994, when they defeated the Nets by a final of 133-106 with Wayman Tisdale and Dan Majerle producing a team high 19 points and Elliot Perry leading the way with nine assists.


Beal’s three-pointer beats Spurs

Bradley Beal‘s three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Wizards a 102-99 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday night. Beal is the first player to win a game with a three-pointer with less than a second remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime against San Antonio since the Mavericks’ Steve Nash made a shot from beyond the arc with 0.6 seconds left in overtime in a 126-123 Dallas win on December 26, 2001.


Pacers frontcourt controls the boards in win over Celtics

The Pacers starting frontcourt, Lavoy Allen (11 rebounds), Paul George (10) and Jordan Hill (10) each recorded double-digits in rebounds in the Pacers’ 100-98 win over the Celtics on Wednesday. Indiana received 10 or more rebounds from each of their frontcourt starters in only one game in the previous six seasons combined (2009-10 to 2014-15), on January 8, 2013 (George, David West and Roy Hibbert).AltX.Logo.white


Nets fall to 0-5

The Nets lost their fifth consecutive game to open the 2015-16 season, dropping a 101-87 decision to the Hawks. Brooklyn has lost by margins of 15, 17, 10, 7 and 14 points in their five defeats. The only other teams in NBA history to lose each of their first five games of a season, all by more than six points, after appearing in the playoffs the previous season, are the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets (first five games) and 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers (first six games).


Cavs win by 10 after trailing by 15

The Cavaliers overcame a 15-point deficit and defeated the Knicks by a score of 96-86 on Wednesday night. It marked the first time Cleveland won a game by a double-digit margin after trailing by at least 15 points since November 3, 2009, when the Cavs overcame a 18-point deficit and beat Washington by a score of 102-90.


Raptors produce road wins over Western foes on consecutive nights

One night after beating the Mavericks in Dallas, the Raptors (5-0) beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night to improve upon the best start in franchise history. It’s the third time since the start of the 2014-15 season that Toronto has won road games against Western Conference opponents on consecutive days, having won games in Sacramento and Utah last December 2nd and 3rd; and against the Clippers in Los Angeles and Nuggets in Denver on December 27th and 28th. No other Eastern Conference team has more than two sets of back to back road wins on consecutive days against teams from the West over that span, and the only other East teams that have done that more than once are Atlanta and Detroit.


2. Ice-Ice Baby

Burmistrov’s late goal wins it for the Jets

Winnipeg’s Alexander Burmistrov scored a tiebreaking goal with 2:05 left to play in the third period and his goal was the game-winner for the Jets in their 4-2 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. It was the second time this season that a Jets player scored a go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of the third period; Dustin Byfuglien snapped a tie with 88 seconds remaining in regulation time in Winnipeg’s home game against the Flames on October 16. The Jets are the only NHL team to have scored more than one such goal this season. Before this season, the Jets had tallied only three tiebreaking goals in the last three minutes of the third period since the team relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011.


Blues win after allowing five goals in the first

Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal with 1:06 remaining in overtime earned the Blues a 6-5 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago, a game in which St. Louis trailed, 5-2, at the end of the first period. It was the 11th time in NHL history that a team won a game in which it allowed five first-period goals, and it was the first such win in Blues history. Before Wednesday’s victory by St. Louis, the last time an NHL team won a game in that manner was when the Lightning beat the Flyers, 8-7, in Philadelphia on November 18, 2010, after Tampa Bay trailed, 5-4, at the first intermission.


Fehr nets another short-handed goal

Eric Fehr’s short-handed goal midway through the third period gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead in a game they would go on to win 3-2 in Vancouver. Fehr also tallied a short-handed goal in his Penguins debut on October 31 against the Maple Leafs. He is the first player in NHL history to score a short-handed goal in each of his first two games with a team.

SOURCE: Elias Sports Bureau

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Getting Smart With #NBA + #NHL, NEWS – 11-4-15

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1. NBA Bounce House

Monster game for Drummond

Andre Drummond scored 25 points and grabbed 29 rebounds in the Pistons loss to the Pacers. Drummond scored 20 points and hauled in 20 rebounds in his previous game against the Bulls. Andre is the fourth player in Pistons franchise history to record back-to-back 20/20 games. The other to do it are Bailey Howell (twice), Walt Bellamy (1969) and Bob Lanier (six times).

The only other active player to have a game with at least 25 points and 29 rebounds is Kevin Love. Love scored 31 points and grabbed 31 rebounds for the Timberwolves against the Knicks on November 12, 2010. This is the second time in his career that Drummond has scored at least 25 points and had at least 25 rebounds in a game and the Pistons have lost both games. Drummond had 26 points and 26 rebounds in a 106-98 loss to the Bulls on April 11, 2014. There have been 11 other 25/25 games since 2002-03 and teams with that player won 10 of those 11 games.


Faried dominates the Lakers

Kenneth Faried scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Nuggets win over the Lakers. Faried scored 29 points with 11 rebounds in his last game against the Lakers, last April. The only other Nuggets player to score at least 28 points and haul in at least 11 rebounds in consecutive games against the Lakers is Hall of Famer Alex English, who had two such streaks, one in 1980 and one in 1985. The last player from any NBA team to have a streak like that against the Lakers was Dirk Nowitzki in March 2008.


Teague leads Hawks to victoryAltX.Logo.white

Jeff Teague led all players with 26 points and nine assists in the Hawks win over the Heat. It was the twelfth time in his career that Teague led all players, outright, in both points and assists. The Hawks won 10 of those 12 games.


Ho-hum, another 20/10 game for Randolph

Zach Randolph scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies in their win over the Kings on Tuesday night. It was the 262nd time in his NBA career that Randolph had a 20/10 game in the regular season (points/rebounds). The only active players with more 20/10 games than Randolph are Tim Duncan (498), Kevin Garnett (445), Dirk Nowitzki (314) and Dwight Howard (290). Randolph’s teams are a combined 157-105 (.599) in those 262 games.


Hornets score 30+ in each quarter

The Hornets buried the Bulls, 130-105, on Tuesday night by scoring at least 30 points in each of the four quarters of the game. It was only the fourth time in franchise history that Charlotte had a game in which it scored at least 30 points in each quarter. It happened twice in the 1991-92 season and once in 1995-96.

It was the first time since December 27, 2008 against the Hawks that the Bulls allowed at least 30 points in each of the four quarters of a game.


Fournier: 71 points over last three games

Evan Fournier scored 30 points in Orlando’s win over New Orleans. Fournier has scored 71 points over his last three games: 22 against the Thunder, 19 against the Bulls and 30 against the Pelicans. That matches the most points Fournier has ever scored over a three-game span in his NBA career. He also scored 71 points over three games in November 2014.


2. Ice-Ice Baby

Seguin tricks his old team

Tyler Seguin, who played the first 203 games of his NHL career with the Bruins, scored three goals in the Stars’ win over Boston. Seguin is the sixth ex-Bruin to record a hat trick against the Bruins in the expansion era, the first since Mariusz Czerkawski in 1996. The others to do it over that span are Eddie Shack (1971), Reggie Leach (1974), Phil Esposito (1979) and Geoff Courtnall (1989).

Seguin’s first goal was the 300th point of his NHL career. Seguin is the first player from the 2010 NHL draft to score 300 points; only two others from that draft have even recorded 200 points: Taylor Hall (279) and Jeff Skinner (219).


Rangers winning comfortably at home

The Rangers have won their last five home games by at least a two-goal margin after their 5-2 victory over the Capitals at Madison Square Garden. That’s the Blueshirts’ longest such streak within one season since October of 1990 when they won their first eight home games by a margin of at least two goals.


Oscar is no grouch

Oscar Lindberg opened the scoring for the Rangers in their win over the Capitals, his sixth goal of the season in12 games. Lindberg is the first Rangers rookie to score at least six goals in the team’s first twelve games of a season since Darren Turcotte in 1989-90. Turcotte scored nine goals in the first dozen Rangers games of that season.


Larkin’s second GWGAltX.Logo.white

Rookie Dylan Larkin’s third period goal gave the Red Wings a 2-1 win over the Lightning. Larkin, who has played 12 games for the Red Wings, was also credited the game-winner in Detroit’s win over the Senators on Saturday night. Larkin is the first Red Wings rookie to record two game-winning goals in his first 12 career NHL games since Paul Woods in 1977.


Turris is off to a good start

Kyle Turris’s overtime goal gave the Senators a 2-1 win over the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Turris has scored eight goals in 12 games this season. That is, by far, the most goals Turris has ever scored in his first 12 games of a season, his previous high being four in 2010-11 and 2012-13.


Iginla scores two against Flames

Jarome Iginla scored two goals in Colorado’s 6-3 win over the Flames, his former team. It was the 106th career multi-goal game in Iginla’s career, second-most among active players, behind Jaromir Jagr (124). Ninety-four of Iginla’s multiple-goal games came while he was playing for the Flames; this was his first against the Flames.

SOURCE: Elias Sports Bureau

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Learn More About #KarmicResponsibility

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1. Further Mis-Adventures of #KarmicResponsibility

This is Pittsburgh’s Bartman.  Maybe one of the most complete teams the Pirates have ever had and some douche-nozzle comes up with THIS, AND gets a Hotel chain to produce them to pass out.  Hey, it’s #Murica and we all have that luxury – but just because we can, doesn’t mean we should and #5 is the example hillbilly fandom that screams #KarmicResponsibility.  Beyond the Nuclear-Level of OCD this fan has – he must have forgotten you never plan cheers – you’re not Duke fan and it’s never clever.  I say HE because we all know, only a man would come up with this from his mother’s basement.

Anyway, now the Cubs move on to face a team in the Cardinals that seem to be held together by duct-tape – aren’t they every year? – so now we get two fanbases, that dislike each other, to such a degree, that they both act like everyone’s drunk uncle, on Thanksgiving, at your Mom’s house, with her new boyfriend that looks a lot like Jim Tomsula…Cubs fans are excited, again.  Like a dog chasing cars – it seems like the dopamine dump, cubs fan gets, shuts off their common sense and they quickly forget/bury the destiny that they are to blow it in the worst way.  All we need now, is some clown to get a world series tattoo and complete the affront to #KarmicResponsibility – or some other nonsense that creates the cyclical train-wreck of sorrow Cubs Fan is so used to.


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2. ALDS Preview: Rangers v BlueJays

3:30 PM EST ALDS Gm 1 Rangers @ Blue Jays Gallardo (13-11) at Price (18-5) FS1 / SNET

Those plucky Rangers are back in the playoffs, and it seems they only get there when they have Josh Hamilton, and Cole Hamels – eeery.  To start the season, the 2015 Rangers found themselves without young phenom Profar and staff Ace, Yu Darvish – and further seemed out of it by the trade-deadline.  Then they traded prospects for Cole Hamels, strengthened their bullpen, got healthy and went on a second-half tear to win the division from the Astros.

For the BlueJays, you have to remember 2012, when they finished with a 73-89 record and by trades and free agent signings they brought in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey only to improve by one game.  In 2014, the BlueJays improved to 83-79, so when they were looking at a record of 45-46 at the All-Star break, the ‘Jays pushed all the chips in on Tulowitzki and David Price, to go along with 2015 free-agent signee and possible AL MVP josh Donaldson, to become an offensive juggernaut that can play D and pitch.

  • For all the talk that the Toronto Blue Jays are the obvious best team in the American League — they’re the overwhelming Vegas favorite, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark has already picked them to win the World Series — the one thing Toronto wasn’t this season was the best team in the American League. The Jays didn’t…(continue reading)

CorreaCain

3. ALDS Preview: Astros v Royals

7:30 PM EST ALDS Gm 1 Astros @ Royals McHugh (19-7) at Ventura (13-8) FS1

No-longer are they the Lastros – an organization that averaged 108 losses from 2011 to 2013 and are baseball’s youngest team – they beat the Yankees on Tuesday and now face their opposite in every way.  It’s Manufacturing versus Big Oil.  The steady-rolling production of the Royals, versus the Boom-or-Bust-strike-it-rich nature of the Astros.

  • Just three short years ago, the Royals went 72-90. It was their ninth consecutive losing season, and their eighth out of those nine that they had lost 90 or more games. Being a Royals fan meant unrelenting misery. It meant being unhappy on purpose. That same year, though…(continue reading)

4. Saturday Afternoon in Death Valley

If any fanbase can understand and appreciate what Gamecock fan is going thru – its Tiger fan.  What comes to mind for me is 2005 when LSU had to go to Arizona State after Hurricane Katrina for a home game in the desert.  Arizona State donated the gate receipts from the game to LSU and the Fiesta Bowl covered LSU’s travel expenses – in return, LSU will pay it forward to South Carolina, and what could have been a trap game looks a bit more fortuitous for LSU – so Saturday I’ll cheer for South Carolina before and directly after the game.

  • Because of the aftermath from flooding that began last weekend, officials felt it was unwise to play the game at the regularly scheduled site of Williams-Brice Stadium. Access to areas of the city, the safety of the infrastructure and the availability of drinking water were major concerns……(continue reading)

5. Banner Raised

Last night was the start of the NHL season if you were to busy to notice watching the Pirates and Cubs.  In Chicago they raised another banner and the Rangers started the Blackhawks off with a L.  If you do not have NHL-CenterIce package to watch all the ‘Ockey you want – I think you can find games on the NBCSN channel – I just have no idea where to find it…but anyway here is Yahoo Sports preview of all 30 teams from the Puck Daddy staff:

 

DiRTy Thursday

Toews scores 10th goal, Chicago ties series

Jonathan Toews scored his 10th goal of the playoffs, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead, in Chicago’s 2-1, series-tying win over the Lightning on Wednesday. The only other playoffs in which the Blackhawks had more than one 10-goal scorer were 1971 (Bobby Hull 11, Jim Pappin 10) and 2010 (Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp 11 each, Kane 10).

The first four games of this year’s Stanley Cup Final have been decided by the minimum margin. There have been just two other Finals in which the first four or more games were decided by one goal: all five games of the Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs series in 1951 and all four of the Canadiens vs. Blues series in 1968.

Brandon Saad‘s tiebreaking goal in the third period was the game-winner for the Blackhawks. Saad has scored seven goals in the Blackhawks’ 10 playoff games at United Center this year, which ties him with his teammate, Patrick Kane, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Anaheim’sCorey Perry for the most goals in home games in the 2015 playoffs. Going back to the second round of last year’s playoffs, Saad has scored 12 goals in his last 16 postseason games in Chicago.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig returned to the Dodgers’ lineup, and last night against the Diamondbacks he was a triple away from the cycle after the fourth inning. It was a very Puig game, complete with a opposite-field homer.

Cardinals have a pair of young aces

Carlos Martinez improved to 7-2 with a win over the Rockies on Wednesday; his fellow 23-year old teammate Michael Wacha is 8-2. The Cardinals are the first team to have two pitchers age 23 or younger win at least seven of their first 12 starts of a season since Dwight Gooden (8-2) and Sid Fernandez (7-2) did so for the Mets in 1986.

A surprising start by Morton

Charlie Morton, who had a 36-61 career won-lost record in the major leagues prior to this season, improved to 4-0 in four starts this year with a win over the Brewers on Wednesday. He’s the first pitcher to win his first four games of a season after entering the year at least 25 games under .500 since Red Ruffing for the Yankees in 1934. Ruffing, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967, had spent the 1920s with some poor Red Sox teams, before being acquired by the Ruth-and-Gehrig Yankees.

Nationals stun Yankees with late comeback

The Yankees led the Nationals, 4-2 in the eighth inning on Wednesday, but Washington scored twice in the eighth and once in the eleventh to win, 5-4. It was the Yankees’ first loss after leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later since August 27, 2012 against Toronto.

The Yankees’ streak of 164 consecutive wins when leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later was the longest for any major-league team since the Twins’ 207-game streak from 2004 to 2007. The only longer regular-season streaks for the Yankees were a 183-game streak from 2004 to 2006 and a 174-game streak from 1998 to 2000.

Washington took three of the four meetings between the teams this season, despite trailing by multiple runs in all four games. The Yankees are 28-4 against all other teams this season when they have had a lead of at least two runs.

Hunter loses his mind

Royals return to throne

The Royals finished off their sweep of the Twins and moved two games ahead of Minnesota in the A.L. Central with a 7-2 win on Wednesday. It’s the first time since 1982 that Kansas City has swept a series from a division rival to move into first place, and force their opponent out of first place, at least 50 games into a season. The Royals won three games from the Angels from July 2-4 to move past California into first place in the A.L. West. California wound up winning the division by three games over Kansas City.

Tuesday DiRT

A Hobbled Ben Bishop Is Good Enough

Have the Blackhawks run out of MeauxJeaux?  It seems like maybe they have.  Crawford appears to be too mercurial – that 3rd goal – it was like he didn’t expect anyone to be in front of his net. He made no effort to break up the pass or to get over. I don’t get it.  Every goalie lets up softies, but you rarely see an NHL goalie look like a soccer goalie does when a cross connects to the far side and he has no chance. Maybe it’s because the NHL nets are only 4’ wide.

Why does he stand up instead of just pushing across? He’s still on that post, but standing, as the puck goes in. He must not have known anyone was there, but with that many of his own guys you still have to respect the deflection. That looked lazy or confused. I think at times, he’s very good and underrated/unappreciated, but how easy that goal was, that one confounded me.

At the other end, Bishop was fighting the puck all night, but I think the possible-injury made him keep things simple. As the game went on, he largely let the puck just hit him and then tried to find the rebounds. Early he was aggressive — he had the horrible 2-pad stack on Hossa’s missed net and the attempted glove save where he reached far out in front and tipped it into his own net. Some big athletic goalies are better off when they can keep things simple, and he did that for the last two periods. I would like to find out what the injury is after the series – if there is one.

But…Then again it could be a replay of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013.  You know the one when Boston went up 2-1, after the Blackhawks won Game 1.  Toews did not record a single goal in those first three games, nor did Kane.  It caused plenty of panic in Chi-Town.  This team seems to operate at a different frequency than most.  They almost prefer to save their best hockey for when a series gets later, (see Western Conference Finals).  It typically starts right around Game 4.

Want to know how well the Blackhawks play in late in the series?  In games 1-3, under Quenneville, the ‘Hawks are 30-30.  In games 4-7, the ‘Hawks are 40-14!  But who knows, if you’re a fan of the Blackhawks, you have to worry a little – can’t keep pulling rabbits out of your hat – lose game 4 and it might be over.

Notes I can’t put anywhere else:

  • Cedric Paquette‘s goal with 3:11 remaining in the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and earned the Lightning a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. In Game 1, Chicago’s Antoine Vermette scored the go-ahead goal with 4:34 left to play in regulation time which provided the winning margin in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory. This is the third Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took exclusive possession of the trophy in 1927 in which there were two games with a tiebreaking goal scored in the last five minutes of the third period. The others were the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings in 1964 (Toronto’s Bob Pulford in Game 1, Detroit’s Alex Delvecchio in Game 3) and the Hurricanes versus the Oilers in 2006 (Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour in Game 1, Edmonton’s Ryan Smyth in Game 3).
  • The Blackhawks posted a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but the Lightning has won Games 2 and 3 by scores of 4-3 and 3-2. This is only the third time since 1977 that each of the first three games of a Stanley Cup Final series was decided by a one-goal margin. That also happened in 1998 (Red Wings vs. Capitals) and 2010 (Blackhawks vs. Flyers).

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DiRT on Monday

Is there no-one else out there besides Jeff Van Gundy who sees how terrible the refs are in this series, especially last night?  You either look at this series as Cleveland could be up 2-0, or Golden State could be – you could look at it that Golden State had a chance, even with the poor shooting of Steph Curry – and either way you look at it, last night was a game that was so ugly, it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down – but that dumpster-fire was entertaining to watch.  Do you doubt why the league suffers from conspiracy theories?  Watch the Refs in game 2 again, and you’ll see why – none of the calls and non-calls make any sense – how does Lebron not get some of those call towards the end – it was worse than Hack-A-ShaQ?  About the only thing Lebron did not do to win this weekend, was ride American Pharoah.

What I believe to know is that, Lebron is the only guy out there who knows what it takes to win and he is doing everything he can about it.  But can he continue to overcome the obstacles and JR Smith?  Can Golden State stop playing outside-in?  When will Cleveland stop trying to blow it at the end?  I have no real idea on any of it.  Thankfully, this series is turning into an all-timer, Spurs-Clippers-esque.  Hopefully whatever side of the fence you find yourself on, you’re enjoying it as much as we are here.

Notes I cannot put anywhere else:

  • LeBron James produced game-high totals of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Cavaliers to a 95-93 overtime victory over the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, knotting the series at one win each. James joined Jerry West as the only players in the history of the NBA Finals to achieve a triple-double with as many as 39 points. West scored 42 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out 12 assists for the Lakers in their Game 7 loss to the Celtics in 1969.
  • James became the second player to produce outright game highs of points, rebounds and assists during the NBA Finals, joining Shaquille O’Neal, who did so at Los Angeles in the Lakers’ Game 2 victory over the Nets in 2002 (40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists).
  • Stephen Curry scored 19 points in the Warriors’ loss on Sunday while making only two of his 15 attempts from beyond the arc. It was the first game of Curry’s NBA career, regular season or postseason, in which he missed as many 13 three-point field-goal attempts. His previous high was 11 missed three-pointers, done three times, twice during the regular season in the 2013 calendar year and once earlier in this year’s playoffs (7-for-18 against the Pelicans in Game 3 of the first round). The only other player in the history of the NBA Finals who missed as many as ten three-point field-goal attempts in one game is John Starks, who went 2-for-18 from the field, including 0-for-11 from three-point range, in the Knicks’ Game 7 loss at Houston in 1994.
  • The Cavaliers-Warriors series is the first in the history of the NBA Finals in which the first two games each required overtime and it’s the first series in any round of the NBA playoffs in which Games 1 and 2 both went to overtime since the Mavericks and Trail Blazers split the first two games of their best-of-five first-round series in 1985, both at Dallas, with the first game going to double-overtime and the second game decided in one extra period. It’s only the second time that two consecutive games of an NBA Finals went to overtime at any point during a series. The Knicks won Game 3 of the 1970 Finals and the Lakers won Game 4 of that series, both requiring overtime at Los Angeles.
  • Draymond Green blocked three field-goal attempts by LeBron James in Game 2, including two in overtime. The only other player who has rejected three of James’s field-goal attempts in one playoff game is Serge Ibaka, who did it for the Thunder in a Game 2 loss to the Heat in the 2012 Finals

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?  The same parable works for Horse Racing.  A triple crown winner has finally occurred after 37 years – will it save Horse-Racing?  Does it change the average persons viewpoint on the ponies?  Did you actually watch the race?  I mean before you told people on Facebook how awesome it was that it happened?  So what have we learned from an Egyptian of Jewish decent who’s horse was Grand-Sired by Empire Maker – the same horse that ruined Funny Cide’s Triple Crown in 2003 at the Belmont – you might have learned that the Triple Crown is hard in baseball and in horse racing – it’s the 12th time for horse Racing and Miguel Cabrera in 2012, was the 17th in baseball – the drought being 10 years longer in baseball.

So does this reinvigorate horse racing?  Not likely, but there is a cool stat to come out of it all – Miguel Cabrera, hit a two-run home run to give the Tigers the lead for good in their 7-1 win over the White Sox in Chicago Saturday.  The only other baseball player with a Triple Crown to his credit to hit a home run on the same day that horse racing welcomed a new member to its most elite club was Lou Gehrig. Gehrig, who led the American League in batting average, home runs, and RBIs in 1934, hit a homer on June 8, 1935, the day that Omaha won the Belmont Stakes, and two more on June 5, 1937, when War Admiral gained racing immortality.  Home Runs and Triple Crowns are hard – both on the same day is harder still.

Not sure why Bishop left in the third period, maybe he had to poop, but Vasilevskiy did just fine in stoning the Blackhawks.  In fact, the victory he earned in Game 2 is only the 4th time in NHL history that a goalie recorded a win in a Stanley Cup Final game, that he did not start.  The first time was in 1928 – one of the most famous in ‘Ockey ‘Istory – when Lester Patrick, the Rangers 44yr old coach, put himself in goal after Lorne Chabot was injured in game 2.  The “Silver Fox”, as he was known, helped the Rangers win 2-1 in overtime over the Montreal Maroons.  Vasilevskiy’s win was the first of his playoff career, making him the fourth goalie in 77 years to record their first playoff victory in a Stanley Cup Final game – the others:  Al Rollins, Toronto (’51), Hank Bassen, Detroit (’61), Jussi Markkanen, Edmonton (’06), and Patrick Roy, Montreal (’86).

 

Friday Dregs

Aside from Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, MLB has all their games playing tonight, and if you have StrikeZone you’ll get to see all of the action as it happens.  So for today we are going to give you some lineup help.  Here are 4 lineups to consider for tonight, check to see if they are playing and for rain:

#1               #2               #3               #4

P: Odorizzi     Odorizzi      Volquez      Gibson

P: Gibson       Volquez      Will.Perez   Butler

C: Posey         Saltamac    Norris         R.Martin

1: Goldschm   Goldschm  Carter         Teixeira

2: Rendon       Panik         Dozier         DJ Lemahieu

3: Gallo          Tejada        Carpenter   Donaldson

S: Jhonny P    Jhonny P   Tulowitzki    Tulowitzki

O: Rajai D       Pollock       McCutchen  Giancarlo

O: Joc Peder   Pillar          JoeyButler   Bautista

O: Burns         Moss           Springer      Gardner

As for alternate Ideas to consider for tonight here are some candidates to consider by position – remeber to check and see if they are in the lineup and for rain:

C: Saltamacchia/Cervelli/Norris/Posey/Vogt

1:  Goldschmidt/Carter/Freeman/Pujols/Posey

2:  Panik/Dozier/Phillips

3:  Carpenter/Freese/Tejada/Lawrie/Frazier/Donaldson/Arenado/MiguelC

S:  Jh.Peralta/Tulo/Tejada/Xander/Andrus/DiDi

O:  McCutchen/Pillar/Moss/JoeyButler/ShinSoo/Bruce/Deshields/A.Gordon/Pollock/Joc/Souza/Springer/Trout/Bryce Harper


 

Here we go with the recap of the last few two days….

Wednesday Review

NHL

Blackhawks rookie leads unprecedented Game 1 comeback

Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored goals in the last seven minutes of the third period which enabled the Blackhawks to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat the Lightning, 2-1, at Tampa in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s the first time in NHL history that a team won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in regulation time after trailing while being shut out in the third period.

Chicago is also the first road team to record a regulation-time victory with a third-period comeback in the opening game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Three other visiting teams won Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Final in overtime after trailing in the third period: the Islanders in 1980 (at Philadelphia), the Canucks in 1994 (at New York Rangers) and the Sabres in 1999 (at Dallas).

Teravainen, who assisted on the winning goal, is the first rookie in NHL history to score two third-period points in the first game of a Stanley Cup Final series. Since 1983, the only rookies before Teravainen to record more than one point in the opening game of a Cup Final wereJaromir Jagr for the Penguins in 1991 (two assists vs. Minnesota) and Ville Leino for the Flyers in 2010 (one goal and one assist at Chicago).

MLB

Gallo making powerful impression

Joey Gallo hit a home run in his major-league debut on Tuesday night and he cleared the fences with a solo shot on Wednesday evening. None of the 53 players in major-league history who hit at least 400 lifetime home runs began their careers by homering in each of their first two games. The player with the most home runs who did go deep in each of his first two big-league games is Todd Helton, who retired with 369 homers, which currently ranks him tied for 78th all time.

Tanaka returns with a win

Masahiro Tanaka made a triumphant return by throwing seven innings in a 3-1 victory at Seattle, improving his record to 16-6 in 25 major-league starts. Prior to Tanaka, the most recent pitchers to win at least 16 of their first 25 career starts–all for the Yankees–were Mel Stottlemyre (who, like Tanaka, was 16-6 through his first 25 starts) and Whitey Ford (17-2).

Astros rookie strikes out 11 with no walks

Lance McCullers, a 21-year old rookie making his fourth career start, struck out 11 Orioles batters and did not issue a walk in a complete-game win for the Astros on Wednesday night.

McCullers, at age 21, is the fourth youngest pitcher in the last 50 seasons with more than 10 strikeouts and no walks in a complete game. The three younger pitchers to do so over that span were Dwight Gooden (twice, at age 19 for the 1984 Mets), Bert Blyleven (at age 20 for the 1971 Twins) and Kerry Wood (at age 20 for the 1998 Cubs, while tying a major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game).

Braves surrender another huge lead

There have been only two major-league games this season in which a team was defeated after leading by at least six runs and the Braves have lost both of them. Atlanta surrendered an eight-run advantage in a 13-12 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field on April 28, and allowed a six-run cushion to disappear in Wednesday’s 9-8 setback against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Pirates sweep the defending champs

The Pirates, by virtue of their 5-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco, swept a series of at least three games on the road against the defending World Series champion for only the fifth time in franchise history. Pittsburgh’s other sweeps of at least three games on the home field of the reigning title holders were against the Cubs (in 1909), Giants (1922), Cardinals (1983) and Reds (1991).

Peralta pounds the Brewers

Jhonny Peralta was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Cardinals’ win over the Brewers and he now has 50 hits in 135 career at-bats (.370) versus Milwaukee. That gives Peralta the second-highest lifetime average for any active player against the Brewers (minimum: 100 at-bats), behind Troy Tulowitzki, who has batted .408 against them.

Buehrle throws a 93-pitch shutout

Mark Buehrle threw only 93 pitches in his shutout of the Nationals. That’s the fewest pitches thrown by a pitcher in a nine-inning complete-game performance this season and the second-fewest for Buehrle (again, in a nine-inning complete game) in his major-league career. He authored a shutout against the Indians while throwing just 90 pitches in July 2004, when he was 25 years old and playing for the White Sox.

Heart of the order powers Royals

The heart of the Royals’ order–Lorenzo CainEric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales–produced back-to-back-to-back RBI-doubles in the third inning of Kansas City’s 4-2 win over the Indians. It was the first time since May 2006 that three consecutive Royals batters in one inning each connected for extra-base hits that drove in a run. In that game nine years ago, four straight Kansas City batters did so–Emil BrownTony GraffaninoAngel Berroa and Doug Mientkiewicz.

Burns clears the bases

Billy Burns‘ bases-loaded triple on the first pitch of his at-bat in the second inning was the key hit in Oakland’s 6-1 win at Detroit. Burns has had a first-pitch hit in each of his last four games, one shy of the longest such streak in the major leagues this season. Kole Calhoun connected for a hit on the first pitch of an at-bat in five consecutive games last month.

Big day for Boston’s middle infielders

Dustin Pedroia (4-for-5) and Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4) helped the Red Sox defeat the Twins in the first game of a doubleheader and became only the second starting keystone combination in more than two years to each register at least three hits for Boston in the same game. Pedroia and Stephen Drew did that on May 6, 2013 in an 11-inning game that was coincidentally also against the Twins at Fenway Park.

Rookie stymies the Red Sox at Fenway

Trevor May threw seven scoreless innings to help the Twins record a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox in the second game of their doubleheader. The only other rookie in the last five seasons to earn a win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park by throwing at least seven shutout innings was Matt Shoemaker in 2014.

Franco takes Chapman deep

Maikel Franco hit a game-tying three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning and the Phillies went on to defeat the Reds in extra innings. Franco launched a game-tying homer on Tuesday night in the eighth inning of a Philadelphia win over Cincinnati. He is the first rookie with a game-tying or go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later of back-to-back games since the Twins’ Bobby Kielty in 2002.

Sale: consecutive starts with 12+ Ks and no runs

Chris Sale struck out 13 batters without allowing a run on Wednesday night, after a 12-K/no-run outing last Thursday. Prior to Sale, the most recent pitchers to make back-to-back starts with at least a dozen strikeouts and no runs allowed in each were Chan Ho Park (2000 Dodgers), Hideo Nomo (1995 Dodgers), Roger Clemens(1987 Red Sox), Nolan Ryan (1978 Angels) and Sandy Koufax (1965 Dodgers).


 

Thursday Review

NBA

Warriors shut down Cavs in OT to win Game 1

The Warriors outscored the Cavaliers, 10-2, in overtime, allowing only an uncontested layup byLeBron James in the closing seconds of their 108-100 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. That matched the lowest point total that any team has allowed in an overtime period of the Finals. The Lakers held the Pistons to two points in OT of Game 2 of the 2004 Finals. Richard Hamilton scored Detroit’s only points in the extra period, hitting a jump shot midway through overtime.

James scores 40-plus vs. Warriors in regular season and playoffs

LeBron James led all players with 44 points in Cleveland’s loss. James scored 42 points in his only game against the Warriors during the regular season. He is the fifth player to score 40 or more points in a regular-season game and then do it again against the same opponent in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The others were George Mikan, Minneapolis vs. Washington (1948-49); Jerry West, Los Angeles vs. Boston (1965-66); Allen Iverson, Philadelphia vs. Lakers (2000-01); and Kobe Bryant, Lakers vs. Orlando (2008-09).

MLB

Jones snaps HR drought with a game-winner

Adam Jones broke a 2-2 tie with a home run off Chad Qualls in the eighth inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory at Houston. That blast snapped Jones’ streak of 83 at-bats without a homer, his longest since early last season. It was his 14th game-winning home run in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since joining the Orioles in 2008, tying Miguel Cabrera for the most in the American League during that time. The major-league leader is Alfonso Soriano (15).

Twins overcome early deficit for late win at Fenway

The Twins, who trailed 4-0 early, scored four runs off Koji Uehara in the ninth inning to gain an 8-4 victory at Boston. It was the first time in Uehara’s 314 major-league appearances that he allowed even one run and failed to retire a batter.

This was Minnesota’s 825th game at Fenway Park, including 523 as the Washington Senators from 1912 to 1960. It was only the second of those games in which the Senators or Twins won by at least four runs after the Red Sox had taken a lead of four or more runs. The first was in 2003 and, for what it’s worth, Minnesota faced knuckleballers in both games: Tim Wakefield 12 years ago and Steven Wright yesterday.

A’s day starts well, ends with mixed results

The Athletics took a 6-0 lead over the Tigers on Thursday and held on for a 7-5 win at Detroit. The victim of Oakland’s early assault was Shane Greene, who was charged with six runs and failed to complete five innings. It was the fifth time in 12 starts that Greene allowed more than one run per inning; the last pitcher to do so in at least five of his first 12 starts for the Tigers wasDontrelle Willis (2008-09).

The A’s day didn’t end nearly as well as it began. Stephen Vogt was removed from the game in the ninth inning after pulling up lame while chasing a foul pop-up. Coming into the day, Vogt had the highest Elias Impact Rating of any catcher in the either league (82.8), and he ranked second on his team to Sonny Gray (91.5).

Tigers suffer back-to-back series sweeps

Thursday’s victory completed the A’s three-game sweep of the Tigers after Detroit had lost four straight games to the Angels. It’s the first time that Detroit has been swept in consecutive series (of two or more games, that is), after entering each series above .500, since June 1993, when Sparky Anderson’s team went 0-9 on a road trip of three games each at Baltimore, Boston and New York, knocking the Tigers out of first place.

A first for Mayberry

John Mayberry went 4-for-5 with a home run in the Mets’ 6-2 win at Arizona. It was the first four-hit game of Mayberry’s career and it came in his 313th start. Only seven other active players have made at least 300 starts and never had more than three hits in one game: Luis Valbuena (535 starts), Mitch Moreland (457),Travis Snider (409), Brett Lawrie (397), John Jaso (374), Eric Young Jr. (329), andAaron Harang (314).

Reds show no favor to an old friend

The Reds faced a former teammate on Thursday night, defeating Aaron Harang and the Phillies, 6-4. Harang, who led the Reds with 75 wins during his eight seasons with the team (2003-10), came into the game with a 2.02 ERA that ranked fifth in the National League, but allowed a season-high six runs to suffer his sixth loss of the season.

Here’s an odd twist: It was Harang’s sixth appearance against Cincinnati, each for a different team. The others were with the Athletics (2002), Dodgers (2012), Mariners (2013), Mets (2013), and Braves (2014).

Choo delivers in the clutch

Shin-Soo Choo singled in the 11th inning to deliver Leonys Martin with the winning run in the Rangers’ 2-1 victory over the White Sox. It was the seventh time Choo has produced a walkoff win, five of them in the last three seasons. The only player with more walkoff plate appearances since 2013 is Josh Donaldson (8).

Bauer continues his string of strong starts

Trevor Bauer allowed two runs in six-and-two-thirds innings to earn the victory in the Indians’ rain-shortened 6-2 win at Kansas City. It was the fifth consecutive start in which Bauer held his opponents to two or fewer runs. His ERA for those five starts is 1.75, compared to a 4.40 career mark prior to that.