Special to ESPN.com
HIBBERT EVOKES THE GAME'S IMMORTALS
From Elias: Roy Hibbert had an outstanding all-around game in the Pacers' convincing win over the Heat in Game Three of their playoff series; the Pacers center amassed 19 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots while making nine of 16 field-goal attempts (56.3 percent). Get a load of this: since the NBA began recording blocked shots in the 1973-74 season, only six other individuals have reached those four levels (points, rebounds, blocks, shooting percentage) in one playoff game: Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan each did it twice, while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Artis Gilmore and Dwight Howard each did it once. The last to do it was Howard (25 points, 22 rebounds, five blocks, 61.5 shooting percentage) against the Raptors in the Magic's playoff opener in 2008.
WADE: 2-FOR-13; JAMES: BEEN THERE
From Elias: Dwyane Wade, who averaged 22.1 points per game during the regular season, made only two of 13 field-goal attempts (15.4 percent) in Miami's loss at Indianapolis. Over the last five years of playoffs, only one other NBA player who had averaged at least 22 points during that regular season had a playoff game in which he shot for such a low percentage (minimum: 10 field-goal attempts)... and that was none other than LeBron James! Playing for Cleveland in the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals Series at Boston, James, coming off a regular season in which he averaged 30 points per game, went 2-for-18 from the floor in a Game One loss.
PARKER BLOWS OUT CANDLES & EXTINGUISHES CLIPPERS
From Elias: Tony Parker celebrated his 30th birthday in style, scoring a game-high 22 points as the Spurs rolled to victory in Game Two of their playoff series with the Clippers. Parker had appeared in 143 NBA playoff games prior to reaching the big Three-Oh; only Magic Johnson (158) and Kobe Bryant (152) had higher totals of playoff games before reaching 30. The only active NBA player who played in a playoff game on his 30th birthday? Parker's buddy Tim Duncan, who did it on April 25, 2006, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in a victory over the Kings.
ODDS ARE WRIGHT WILL REACH BASE
From Elias: David Wright went 2-for-2 with three walks in the Mets' 9-4 win over the Reds to improve his batting average to .411 and his on-base percentage to .513. The last major-league player to finish a game with such high batting and on-base averages, at least 150 plate appearances into a season, was Larry Walker for the 1997 Rockies (.422/.517 in 267 trips to the plate, through June 9). The last right-handed batter with such high averages in each category this far into a season: Rico Carty for the 1970 Braves (.422/.514 in 216 PAs through June 7).
REDDICK'S HOME-RUN PACE IS FASTEST SINCE KONG
From Elias: Josh Reddick hit his 10th home run of the season in the A's 5-4 win at Texas, reaching double-figures in Oakland's 39th game of the season. That's the quickest that any player in his first season with the A's has reached 10 home runs since Dave Kingman homered 10 times in Oakland's first 22 games in 1984.
COOK'S START IS BEST FOR A'S SINCE ZIEGLER
From Elias: Ryan Cook pitched two innings--scoreless, of course--to earn the victory in the A's win over the Rangers. Cook has pitched 19 2/3 innings without allowing a run this season. That's the second-longest shutout streak to start a season for the A's since they moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in 1955. But having surpassed the 18 1/3-inning streaks of Joe Coleman (1978) and Jim Corsi (1995) with Thursday's performance, Cook has some serious work to do in order to break the team record of 39 scoreless innings to start the 2008 season by Brad Ziegler.
UPTON HITS RARE HOMER OFF BETANCOURT
From Elias: Justin Upton hit a two-run tie-breaking homer off Rafael Betancourt with two outs in the ninth to give the Diamondbacks a 9-7 victory at Colorado. Betancourt has pitched 88.1 innings in 104 appearances at Coors Field, and that was the first go-ahead home run he has allowed at one of the most homer-friendly ballparks in the majors.
ROSS CARRIES BOSTON TO WIN
From Elias: Cody Ross drove in four of Boston's five runs on Thursday to lead the Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Rays. Ross has seven home runs and 27 RBIs this season; all other Red Sox outfielders have combined for four home runs and 34 RBI.
A BRAZILIAN PLAYING THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
From Elias: Yan Gomes made his major-league debut for the Blue Jays on Thursday and he went 2 for 3 in Toronto's win over the Yankees. It was widely reported that Gomes is the first major-league player who was born in Brazil. But it's actually more than that--Gomes is the first big-leaguer born in a South American country other than Venezuela (which has sent over 250 players to the majors) and Colombia (a distant second, with 11 major leaguers).
HUGHES SETS UNWANTED YANKEES RECORD
From Elias: Jose Bautista hit a home run off Phil Hughes in the Blue Jays' win over the Yankees on Thursday, making Hughes the first pitcher in Yankees history to allow a home run in each of his first eight games of a season. The only other Yankees pitcher to allow a homer in each of his first seven starts of a season was Tim Leary in 1990.
MORNEAU & PLOUFFE TAKE FISTER DEEP
From Elias: Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe hit back-to-back home runs off Doug Fister in the third inning and the Twins were never caught, posting a 4-3 win over the Tigers. Fister had allowed only two home runs is his previous 55.2 innings at Comerica Park, and he had allowed homers to consecutive batters only once before in his major-league career--to a different pair of Twins, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel (May 31, 2010).
THE O'S ARE WINNING THE WAY THEY DID FOR EARL
From Elias: The Orioles improved their record to 25-14 with a 5-3 victory over the Royals. That marks the first time since 2005 that Baltimore has been more than 10 games above the .500 mark. The O's last stood this tall in the saddle with a 42-31 record on June 24, 2005. But Baltimore went 32-57 the rest of the way, a collapse that cost Lee Mazzilli his job as manager during the first week of August.
The Orioles' win on Thursday also guarantees they will have at least 25 victories at the 40-game mark for the first time since that 2005 season. Baltimore did so four times in the 15 seasons that Earl Weaver started as manager (1969, 1970, 1979, and 1981), but only four more times in 26 seasons since thenżonce each for Johnny Oates (1992), Davey Johnson (1997), Mazzilli (2005), and Buck Showalter (2012).
MARLINS GET BEACHY-ED
From Elias: Brandon Beachy improved his won-lost record to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to a major-league low 1.33 in his shutout against the Marlins on Thursday. Only two other Braves pitchers have had an ERA under 1.50 in their first eight starts of a season since the team moved to Atlanta: Greg Maddux in 1994 (1.13) and Buzz Capra in 1974 (1.06). Each of those pitchers led the major leagues in ERA in those seasons.
THE ULTIMATE BATTERYMATE
From Elias: Carlos Ruiz went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs on Thursday night as he continued his robust support of battery mate, Roy Halladay. Ruiz is 15 for 30 with 12 RBI in Halladay's starts this season. No other major-league player is hitting .500 or higher with at least a dozen RBI in any pitcher's starts this season.
SALE FITTING IN FINE IN ROTATION
From Elias: Chris Sale recorded a win on Thursday; his fourth in seven starts this season, while lowering his ERA as a starting pitcher to 2.98. He's the first homegrown White Sox pitcher to have four wins with an ERA below three in his first seven starts since Steve Trout in 1978 and 1979 (5-1, 2.85).
TRUMBO STAYS HOT FROM CLEANUP SPOT
From Elias: Mark Trumbo's recent surge increased his batting average from .283 two weeks ago to .344 heading into Thursday's game. Angels manager Mike Scioscia promoted Trumbo from the seventh spot in the batting order at the start of the surge, to sixth, then fifth, and finally to the cleanup spot. Trumbo went 4-for-4 on Thursday in his first start of the season as a cleanup hitter (he had only one as a rookie last season). He improved his batting average to .370 and now has 15 hits in his last 24 at-bats, including seven in a row heading into Friday's meeting with the Padres at PETCO Park.
GIANTS COME TO CAIN'S SUPPORT
From Elias: Matt Cain wasn't at his best, but his teammates came through with some long-awaited run support and the Giants defeated the Cardinals, 7-5. It was the 211th start of Cain's major-league career--a career in which his team has averaged only 3.73 runs in his starts. That's the lowest such average for any of the 100 pitchers who have the most big-league starts since 2005, the year that Cain made his major-league debut. Thursday night's game was the 72nd victory of Cain's career, but only the fifth in which he allowed as many as four earned runs.
BELEAGUERED BRANDON LOSES CONTROL
From Elias: Brandon League walked three batters in the 11th inning, fueling the Indians' two-run game-winning rally in their 6-5 win over the Mariners. League had walked three batters in a game only twice before-although not in his previous 249 appearances, dating back to April 2008-and he had never done so within a single inning.
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
From Elias: Jonathan Quick has won his last eight playoff starts and has not allowed more than two goals in any of them (he owns a 1.24 goals-against average and a .950 saves percentage). That matches the longest such streak within one season in NHL playoff history. Detroit's Terry Sawchuk won all eight of his playoff starts and did not allow more than two goals in any of them back in 1952.