Elias Says: June 8, 2017

Dubs break record for longest postseason winning streak in major professional sports

The Warriors opened up a commanding 3–0 Finals lead with a 118–113 victory at Cleveland. Golden State improved to 15–0 in the 2017 playoffs, and in so doing passed the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins (14 straight from 1992 to 1993) for the longest postseason winning streak by any team in one of the major North American professional sports leagues.

KD scores 30 in a win, again

Kevin Durant’s 31 points led the Warriors in their Game 3 win at Cleveland. Durant, who scored 38 and 33 points respectively in Games 1 and 2, is the third player ever to put up at least 30 points in a winning effort in each of the first three games of an NBA Finals. The others are Hakeem Olajuwon in 1995 and Shaquille O’Neal in 2002.

Big games for James and Irving not enough for Cavs

LeBron James’s 39 points and Kyrie Irving’s 38 weren’t enough for the Cavaliers in their Game 3 loss to the Warriors. It was the seventh time that two teammates each scored at least 35 points in a non-overtime NBA Finals game. James and Irving were the first to emerge with a loss.

Mancini does more in the last three innings than most hitters do in a week

Trey Mancini pinch-hit a score-tying two-run home run in the ninth inning and then connected for a three-run walkoff blast in the 11th inning of the Orioles’ 9–6 win over the Pirates. Only one other player in the expansion era (since 1961) has hit a ninth-inning, game-tying homer as a pinch hitter and then followed that with a walkoff home run in extra innings. That was Atlanta’s Brian McCann, against Houston (his current team) on May 17, 2011.

Besides Mancini, only two other players in the expansion era have driven in at least five runs in a game which they did not enter until the ninth inning or later: Harold Baines for the Orioles on May 4, 1999 and Adam LaRoche for the Nationals on September 3, 2014.

Farmer bucks history, improves to 2–0

Buck Farmer, who entered 2017 with a lifetime record of 0–6 and an ERA of 6.84, improved to 2–0 this season by throwing six and two-thirds scoreless innings in the Tigers’ 4–0 home win over the Angels. In his first appearance this year, Farmer tossed six-and-one-third shutout frames in a win over the White Sox on May 27. Farmer is the first pitcher in major-league history to win his first two starts of a season without allowing a run in either after entering that year with a career record of 0–5 or worse.

Surprising Rockies are led by two rookie pitchers

Rookie Kyle Freeland improved to 7–3 and the Rockies record went to 38–23 in Colorado’s 8–1 home win over Cleveland on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Antonio Senzatela, another rookie, won his eighth game of the season. Colorado is the first major-league team in 80 years to get at least seven wins from two different rookie pitchers within its first 65 games of a season. In 1937, Lou Fette (9 wins) and Jim Turner (7) did that for the Boston Bees.

Sabathia is the Yankees’ stopper

CC Sabathia won his fifth straight start, tossing eight shutout innings in the Yankees’ 8–0 home win over the Red Sox. All five of those wins immediately followed losses by New York’s Opening Day Starter and presumed ace, Masahiro Tanaka. The last Yankees pitcher to win at least five consecutive starts, all of which snapped his team’s losing streak, was Ron Guidry in 1978. The last six of Guidry’s 10-start winning streak followed Bombers losses and “Louisiana Lightning” went on to win the American League’s Cy Young Award.

Kershaw extends streak versus Washington

Clayton Kershaw won his ninth straight regular-season start against the Nationals by allowing one run in seven innings in the Dodgers’ 2–1 home victory on Wednesday. That ties Terry Mulholland (1990–93) and Darryl Kile (1997–2001) for the second-longest such streak by any pitcher against the Expos/Nationals franchise. Roy Halladay won 10 straight starts against Montreal/Washington from 2004 to 2011.

Smoak homers twice, the second in extras

Justin Smoak opened the scoring for the Blue Jays with a second-inning home run, and then put his team’s last run on the board with a homer in the 10th inning of Toronto’s 7–5 win at Oakland. It’s the second time in the last two seasons that Smoak has hit multiple home runs in a game, including an extra-inning blast – he also did that on May 3, 2016 against the Rangers. No other Blue Jays player has done that even once over the last six seasons, and the only other Toronto player with more than one such multi-homer game in his career is Jose Cruz Jr, who did so in 1997 and 2001.

A rare late comeback at home by the Reds

Pinch hitter Patrick Kivlehan hit a game-tying three-run home run and Joey Votto connected for a go-ahead two-run shot, both in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Reds’ 6–4 win over the Cardinals. Cincinnati had lost its previous 82 home games in which it trailed by at least three runs in the seventh inning or later. That tied the second-longest such streak in franchise history, behind a 97-game slide from 1903 to 1908.

Zunino’s second homer is a walkoff

Mike Zunino’s home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, his second of the game, gave the Mariners a 6–5 win over the Twins. Zunino is the fifth Seattle catcher to hit a walkoff home run, joining Donnie Scott (1985 vs. Milwaukee), Scott Bradley (1988 vs. Texas), Tom Lampkin (1999 vs. Toronto), and Chris Iannetta (2016 vs. Tampa Bay.) Zunino and Donnie Scott are the only two who’d also homered earlier in the game.

Nelson continues run of outstanding control

Jimmy Nelson allowed three runs in six innings to improve his record to 4–3 in the Brewers’ 6–3 home win over the Giants. Over his last three starts, Nelson has struck out 27 batters and walked just one. Only one other Milwaukee pitcher has ever had as many strikeouts and as few walks over any three-start span. That was Ben Sheets in September 2004 (28 K, 1 BB.)

Faria wins in MLB debut

Jacob Faria allowed one run in six-and-one-third innings to earn a 3–1 win over the White Sox at Tropicana Field in his major league debut. Only one other Rays pitcher has ever won and thrown more than six innings in his first major-league game. That was Jeremy Hellickson, who tossed seven frames in a victory over the Twins in 2010.

Bruce takes Darvish deep twice

Jay Bruce hit two home runs against Yu Darvish in the Mets’ 4–3 win at Texas. The only other players to homer twice in one game against Darvish are Matt Dominguez (2013), Brett Gardner (2014), and Pedro Alvarez (2016.)

Bottom of the lineup is the key to Royals win

Cheslor Cuthbert, Alcides Escobar, and Ramon Torres, batting seventh, eighth, and ninth in the Royals’ lineup, each produced two hits and at least one RBI in Kansas City’s 7–5 home win over Houston. The last time the Royals’ starting seventh- through ninth-place batters each had multiple hits and an RBI was on August 29, 2011 at Detroit (Johnny Giavotella, Salvador Perez, and Escobar.)

Atlanta’s offense explodes late

Nick Markakis hit two-run doubles in both the seventh and eighth innings and the Braves scored 10 runs over the final two innings in which they batted in their 14–1 home win over the Phillies. The last time Atlanta put at least 10 runs on the board over their final two times at bat was in a 12–7 home win over the Marlins on April 4, 2003.

Gordon leads off with a triple

Dee Gordon hit a leadoff triple in the first inning and scored the first run in the Marlins’ 6–5 win at Wrigley Field. It was the fifth time over the last two seasons that Gordon led off a game with a three-bagger. That’s the highest total by any player over that span, one more than Charlie Blackmon.