Bartolo Colon carried a perfect game into the eighth inning and Robinson Chirinos drove in all three runs for the Texas Rangers during their 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in 10 innings Sunday night.
The 44-year-old Colon turned back the clock and dominated the defending World Series champions for seven innings Garrett Celek Jersey , retiring his first 21 batters in an entertaining pitchers’ duel with Astros ace Justin Verlander.
Colon walked Carlos Correa on a 3-1 pitch to start the eighth before Josh Reddick lined an 0-2 delivery down the right-field line for a double that put runners at second and third, spoiling the no-hit bid as well.
Opposing fans in Houston gave Colon a standing ovation, and he clapped his bare hand softly against the outside of his glove. Two outs later, he was pulled with the score tied at 1.
HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed the Houston Rockets to outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 Sunday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
Minnesota scored four straight points to get within 3 with about 30 seconds left. Chris Paul added two free throws after that for Houston, but a tip-in by Karl-Anthony Towns got Minnesota back within 3. After a bad pass by Paul gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie it with 1.5 seconds left, Jimmy Butler’s shot was short.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Victor Oladipo scored 32 points and the Indiana Pacers held off Cleveland’s second-half rally for a stunning 98-80 victory Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series, handing LeBron James and the Cavaliers‘ their first loss in the opening round in eight years.
Indiana was in control from the outset, opening a 21-point lead in the first quarter and leading by 23 in the third. The Cavs stormed back and got within seven, but Oladipo hit a big 3-pointer and Bojan Bogdanovic helped put Cleveland away with a 3 to make it 88-71.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Paul George scored 36 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Utah Jazz 116-108 in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series on Sunday night.
George set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight 3-pointers, blowing past the previous record of five. He made eight of 11 shots from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall. It was his first playoff game with the Thunder since being acquired in a trade with the Indiana Pacers in the offseason.
Russell Westbrook had 29 points Harrison Phillips Jersey , 13 rebounds and eight assists and Carmelo Anthony added 15 points for the Thunder.
BOSTON (AP) – Al Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Boston overcame Khris Middleton’s long 3 that beat the fourth-quarter buzzer to top Milwaukee 113-107 in overtime in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series.
The Celtics led 99-96 with 0.5 seconds left in regulation when Middleton took an inbounds pass on the far right wing and hit a contested 35-footer.
Terry Rozier added 23 points, four rebounds and three assists for Boston in his first career playoff start. Jaylen Brown finished with 20 points, and rookie Jayson Tatum added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists before fouling out in overtime. Middleton had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Matt Calvert scored 12:22 into overtime, Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets overcame two goals from Alex Ovechkin to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Columbus heads home for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday two victories away from advancing to the second round for the first time in franchise history.
Cam Atkinson scored twice, Anderson had a goal at even strength and Zack Werenski added one on the power play for the Blue Jackets, who have the odds on their side. In Stanley Cup playoff history, 86.4 percent of teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series have gone on to win it.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists and Matt Murray stopped 26 shots to help Pittsburgh silence a raucous Philadelphia crowd with a 5-1 win to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Crosby scored his fourth goal of the series in the first period, and Derick Brassard, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin scored in the second to make it 4-0. Malkin and Dumoulin scored 5 seconds apart.
Justin Schultz made it 5-1 in the third on Pittsburgh’s third power-play goal of the game.
ST. PAUL Ronnie Lott Jersey , Minn. (AP) – Mikael Granlund and Zach Parise scored power-play goals in the first period for the spark Minnesota was missing on the road, and the Wild used a four-goal second to roar back for a 6-2 win against Winnipeg in Game 3 of the Western Conference series.
Jordan Greenway scored his first NHL goal just 20 seconds after Eric Staal sent a wrist shot past past a struggling Connor Hellebuyck, who was pulled for Steve Mason at the second intermission.
Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno bookended the furious middle frame with goals for the Wild, who won a postseason home game for only the second time in their last nine contests. Mikko Koivu and Nick Seeler each had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, keeping the crowd loud all night.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – James Neal scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:37 to play, and the Vegas Golden Knights rallied from a third-period deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to move to the brink of the expansion franchise’s first playoff series victory.
Cody Eakin tied it at 6:10 of the third, and William Karlsson scored 21 seconds after Neal’s goal to make it 3-1 in a final-period flurry fo Mike Sullivan knew the Stanley Cup hangover was coming. Even if the Pittsburgh Penguins coach danced around the phrase whenever the subject came up during the opening three months of the season as the two-time defending champions alternated between sizzling and sleepy.
”The first part of the year was a bit of a struggle,” Sullivan said. ”It wasn’t anything we didn’t anticipate as a coaching staff going into it.”
Sullivan didn’t panic – to be fair, he never really does – and instead offered a reminder to his team that nothing was inevitable.
Maybe not. It just sort of feels that way in Pittsburgh when Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are involved.
The proof came on Saturday night, when a pair of third-period goals by the NHL’s best power play pushed Pittsburgh to a 5-2 victory over Montreal to clinch a franchise-record 12th straight postseason berth.
”If you don’t make it to the playoffs you can’t win the Stanley Cup,” said forward Patric Hornqvist Ramon Humber Jersey , who picked up the 200th goal of his career in the first period. ”That’s the first step in this room, to make the playoffs. Now we have to make sure we try to get better every single time we come to the rink. We know what it’s all about in the playoffs. Hopefully we’ll have a really fun run.”
Something that’s become a rite of spring since Sullivan took over in December 2015. The Penguins became the first club in nearly 20 years to win back-to-back Cups last June and considering their play since New Year’s Day, they look like a very legitimate threat to give the NHL its first three-peat since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-83.
Pittsburgh is now 26-10-3 in 2018, a surge that’s pulled the Penguins within three points of first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals visit PPG Paints Arena on Sunday night.
”By no means are we satisfied,” Sullivan said. ”We know there’s another level to our team and that’s what we’re striving for.”
Phil Kessel, Riley Sheahan, Conor Sheary and Carl Hagelin scored for Pittsburgh, which dominated the largely listless Canadiens to improve to 17-1-1 in their last 19 games at homes. Matt Murray finished with 24 saves for the Penguins, who swept their season series with Montreal for only the second time in franchise history.
”We will use these last couple games to try to find some little things so we are ready to go for when the playoffs start,” Murray said.
Jeff Petry and Jonathan Drouin scored for the Canadiens, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Antti Niemi made 28 stops but Montreal couldn’t handle the NHL’s top-ranked power play. The Penguins went 3 for 5 with the man advantage Robert Griffin III Jersey , including Kessel and Sheahan scoring less than two minutes apart in the third period to blow open a one-goal game.
”At the end of the day, our penalty kill gives up three goals and if we’re not going to do the job right, we’re not going to pay the price,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said.
Niemi actually began the season as the Penguins’ top backup after Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to Las Vegas and Murray became fully entrenched at the top spot. The plan lasted all of a month. Niemi found himself on waivers in late October after going 0-3 with a 7.50 goals against average, all of the losses coming on the road.
While Niemi has rediscovered his game in Montreal, perhaps it’s fitting the Penguins reached the postseason with their former teammate – however briefly it lasted – in the opposing net. Niemi’s awful numbers in Pittsburgh weren’t entirely his fault. The play in front of him at times was lethargic.
The team Niemi faced on Saturday still has some issues in its own end, but the Penguins also have the kind of firepower few can match. Pittsburgh scored three goals in a 4:55-span in the first to erase a one-goal deficit. Kessel and Sheahan beat Niemi 1:49 apart in the third and the countdown to a potential three-peat was officially on.
”Obviously you want to go into the playoffs with a lot of swagger and a lot of confidence,” Hagelin said. ”Hopefully we can string a few more together.”
NOTES: Penguins F Derick Brassard missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … Kessel left in the third period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. … The Penguins are now 9-7-2 on the first night of back-to-backs this season. … Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby’s five-game goal streak ended, though he did have one assist. … The Penguins’ 12-year playoff run is a franchise record. The team reached the postseason 11 straight times from 1990-2001.
Canadiens: Host New Jersey on Sunday. The teams have split their first two games, each winning on home ice.
Penguins: will try to take the season series from Washington on Sunday night. Pittsburgh won two of the first three meetings.
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