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ANTHONY LAST-MINUTE TREY BEATS BULLS
From Elias: Carmelo Anthony scored 43 points, including a three-point shot with 8.2 seconds to play that gave the Knicks a 100-99 overtime victory over the Bulls. It was the second time this season that Anthony scored a game-winning three-pointer in the final 30 seconds of a game, having previously done so against Washington on January 6. He had only two such game-winners-that is, three-point FGs in the final 30 seconds-in his eight previous seasons in the NBA.
OKAY, NOW HE'S JUST SHOWING OFF
From Elias: Rajon Rondo recorded 15 assists, his 17th consecutive game in double-figures, as the Celtics routed the 76ers, 103-79. Having mastered the 10-assist game, Rondo demonstrated a new trick on Sunday, posting his 15 assists in just 29 minutes of playing time. It was the third time in Rondo's career that he assisted on 15 or more field goals while playing less than 30 minutes, something only one other Celtics payer managed. Dennis Johnson did it against the Nuggets in 1987. But one man who might not be all that impressed is Rondo's coach, Doc Rivers, who had five games of 15 or more assists in less than 30 minutes during his 13-year playing career.
NETS SUBS POUR IN THE POINTS AGAINST CAVS
From Elias: A pair of reserves topped New Jersey's scoring list as Gerald Green scored 32 points and Anthony Morrow added 24 in a 122-117 overtime win over the Cavaliers. It was the second time this month that Green and Morrow both scored at least 20 points as subs in the same game. Only one other pair of New Jersey teammates did that in the past 20 years-actually 23 years, to be exact: Josh Boone (22) and Bostjan Nachbar (20) against the Pacers in March 2007.
SPURS TOP JAZZ BY SCORING POINTS ONE AT A TIME
From Elias: The Spurs made 38 of 43 free throws in a 114-104 victory over the Jazz. That matched San Antonio's highest output from the foul line in any game over the last 12 seasons. The Spurs had two other games with 38 points from the line during that time-an overtime loss to the Mavericks in 2001 and a 48-minute win over the Suns in 2009.
TIGERS STAGE BIG LATE RALLY AND THEN THEY DO IT AGAIN
From Elias: Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, and Alex Avila capped a three-run rally with a walk-off homer that gave the Tigers an implausible 13-12 win in 11 innings over the reeling Red Sox. It was only the second game in the Tigers' 112-year history that they won by erasing a multiple-run deficit in the ninth inning and again in overtime. The first was an 11-10 victory over the White Sox on September 28, 1929 at Navin Field (later known as Briggs Stadium and Tiger Stadium).
HAMMEL MAKES A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION
From Elias: Jason Hammel took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Justin Morneau doubled to end his bid. But Hammel earned the victory in his Orioles debut as Baltimore defeated Minnesota, 3-1. Hammel was the first pitcher to throw seven or more hitless innings in a team debut since Hideo Nomo no-hit the O's in his first appearance with the Red Sox in 2001.
HELLICKSON STARTS YEAR 2 BY SHUTTING DOWN YANKEES
From Elias: Al McGuire often said, "The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores." Well that's not always the case, but last season's AL Rookie of the Year, Jeremy Hellickson, took his first step toward avoiding a sophomore jinx with eight and two-thirds scoreless innings in the Rays' 3-0 victory over the Yankees. Of the 33 pitchers who won a ROY Award, only seven others won their first appearance the next season: Joe Black (1953), Jon Matlack (1973), John Montefusco (1976), Dave Righetti (1982), Fernando Valenzuela (1982), Dontrelle Willis (2004), and Huston Street (2006). Hellickson is the first of those pitchers to throw eight or more scoreless innings in winning his sophomore debut.
HEY, YANKEES, HE'S BAAA-AAAACK
From Elias: Carlos Pena went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the Rays' victory on Sunday and he finished the series with two homers and seven RBI. No surprise there for anyone who recalls how Pena has tortured the Yankees since 2006, when New York demoted him to Triple-A in favor of backup first baseman Andy Phillips. From 2007 to 2010, Pena hit 20 home runs against the Yankees. During the era of divisional play, only three other players hit 20 homers against New York over a span of four seasons: Carlos Delgado (20, 2001-2004), David Ortiz (20, 2003-2006), and Manny Ramirez (24, 2004-2007).
FRANCISCO PROVIDES RETURN ON INVESTMENT
From Elias: With a limited budget, the Mets went shopping for a closer last winter among what some fans considered B-list relievers. While other teams in the NL East added Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon, the Mets signed Frank Francisco. Presumably the skeptics have been calmed now that Francisco has become only the third player in major-league history to record a save in every game of a season-opening series of three or more games. The only other closers to do that were Derrick Turnbow of the Brewers in 2006 and Salomon Torres of the Pirates in 2007.
REDS' MR. CLUTCH DENIES BELL HIS 1ST SAVE FOR MARLINS
From Elias: Speaking of Heath Bell, his first save opportunity for the Marlins didn't go very well. Jay Bruce hit a game-tying home run and Scott Rolen delivered an RBI-single as a pinch-hitter to give the Reds a 6-5 walk-off win. Bruce hit nine home runs with 24 RBI in Late-Inning Pressure Situations last season. That was the most LIPS RBI by a Reds player since George Foster drove in 31 in 1978.
ROOKIE CENTER FIELDER SHINES FOR CARDINALS
From Elias: Shane Robinson went 3-for-5 and hit a three-run insurance home run in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 9-3 win at Milwaukee. Over the last 50 years, only three other rookie center fielders had three hits and three RBI in a game for St. Louis: Willie McGee (twice in 1982), J.D. Drew (1999), and Colby Rasmus (2009).
SAMARDZIJA THROWS A GEM TO DEFEAT NATS
From Elias: Starlin Castro's throwing error with two outs in the ninth cost Jeff Samardzija a complete game but not the victory as the Cubs held on for a 4-3 win over the Nationals. No Cubs pitcher has completed a start in the team's first series of a season since Juan Guzman tossed a one-hitter in a 1-0 victory over the Braves in Chicago's second game in 1993. That's was Guzman's first appearance for the Cubs, and his no-hit bid was spoiled when Otis Nixon singled with two outs in the ninth inning.
MYERS REPRISES ROLE AS CLOSER FOR ASTROS
From Elias: Brett Myers made a successful return to the closer role he played for the Phillies five years ago, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in the Astros' 3-2 win over the Rockies. Myers, a career starting pitcher, saved 21 games for Philadelphia in 2007 after he was designated to replace injured Tom Gordon. Myers then returned to a starting role when the Phillies acquired Brad Lidge prior to the 2008 season. He is only pitcher in major-league history to sandwich seasons of 20 or more starts around a season of 20 or more saves, all for the same club.
DID BUCS LIGHT FUSE FOR NEW RIVALRY WITH PHILLIES?
From Elias: The longtime rivalry between the Phillies and Pirates has diminished over the last 20 years, not only on account of the Pirates' decades-long struggles but also by the realignment of the teams into different divisions. All that may have changed this past weekend when the upstart Pirates took the opening series of the season from the powerful Phillies and did it with back-to-back walk-off wins on Saturday and Sunday. Andrew McCutchen's game-winning single on Sunday gave Pittsburgh two walk-off wins in the same series against Philadelphia for the first time since the final series of the 1978 season, faint consolation for the Pirates at that time since the Phillies were headed to the NLCS.
LOWE KEEPS BALL ON THE GROUND FOR WIN
From Elias: Derek Lowe recorded 15 outs on the ground, pitching seven innings without allowing an earned run to post a victory in his debut for the Indians as Cleveland defeated Toronto, 4-3. It was the 30th game in which Lowe recorded at least 15 outs on the ground, the most among active pitchers, but his first such game since May 23, 2009.
MIDDLE RELIEVER IS STAR OF D-BACKS' COMEBACK WIN
From Elias: Wade Miley pitched four hitless innings, enabling the Diamondbacks to overcome a 6-0 deficit against Matt Cain and the Giants to post a 7-6 victory. Wiley was the first reliever in D-backs history to earn a victory by recording more than 10 outs and not allowing a hit.