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Insider

Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

NBA
• LeBron James literally led his team to victory as the Cavaliers knotted their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pistons at two games apiece Monday night.

For the third straight game, James led his team, outright, in points, rebounds and assists, becoming only the second player to do that in three straight games during an NBA playoff year. Chris Webber paced the Kings in each of those categories in the second, third and fourth games of Sacramento's first-round playoff series loss to the Lakers in 2000.

• The Mavericks pushed San Antonio to the brink of elimination with an overtime victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. There have been 13 previous best-of-seven playoff series in which the defending NBA champions faced a three-games-to-one deficit. Two of those teams came off the ropes to win the series: Washington over San Antonio in the 1979 Eastern Conference finals and Houston over Phoenix in the 1995 Western Conference semifinals.

MLB
• Josh Beckett celebrated his 26th birthday by limiting the Orioles to one run, while his Red Sox teammates chipped in for an 11-run present. Beckett's 10-run margin of victory was the largest for any winning pitcher on his birthday since May 20, 1996, when the Orioles' David Wells defeated the Angels 13-1 on his 33rd birthday. The last Red Sox pitcher to enjoy such a lopsided victory on his birthday was Tom Brewer, with a 16-0 nightcap win over the Senators on the day he turned 25 (Sept. 3, 1956).

The sixth-though-ninth spots in the order drove in all 11 runs for the Red Sox. It had been almost 20 years since the last game in which a team scored that many runs, all of which were driven in by the bottom four spots in its batting order (Royals 13, Yankees 3, Aug. 10, 1986).

• Boston's victory was its 12th straight win over the Orioles, matching the longest current winning streak for any major league team against another (the Astros have won their last 12 games vs. the Phillies). Over the last 50 years, Boston has won as many as 12 straight games against only one other opponent: 15 in a row over the Mariners, from 1977 to 1978.

The Orioles hadn't lost 12 straight games against Boston since relocating to Baltimore in 1954. The old St. Louis Browns had a pair of 12-game losing streaks against the BoSox, one from 1911 to 1912, and the other in 1950.

• If the only two things you knew about Monday night's game at Houston were, 1) Barry Bonds played; and 2) the Giants scored 10 runs, wouldn't you think that Bonds homered? Well, he didn't. In fact, it was the fourth time this season that Bonds was in the lineup for a game in which San Francisco scored in double digits, and he didn't homer in any of them.

• Nomar Garciaparra snapped a 2-2 tie with a seventh-inning, run-scoring single in the Dodgers' victory at Colorado. It was Nomar's fourth game-winning RBI in the seventh inning or later this season, tying him with Albert Pujols for the most in the majors. Garciaparra has driven in 23 runs this season, all since April 24; only Jeff Francoeur (24) has more RBI over that span.

• Scott Podsednik snapped a streak of 647 regular-season homerless at-bats with a second-inning shot off Scott Baker in the White Sox's 7-3 win at Minnesota. Only two active non-pitchers have current streaks of at least 600 at-bats without a home run: Jason Kendall (910) and Jamey Carroll (659).

Podsednik hadn't gone deep during a regular-season game since doing it for the Brewers on Sept. 30, 2004 (his only home run that season). Last year, Podsednik was homerless in 507 at-bats for the White Sox during the regular season, but he hit a round-tripper in the ALDS opener and a walkoff homer in Game 2 of the World Series. Podsednik is the only player in major league history to hit two postseason homers in a year in which he had none during the regular season.

• The Marlins wasted a six-RBI performance by Mike Jacobs in their 11-8 loss at Atlanta. Jacobs became the 10th different player to drive in at least six runs in a game for Florida, but he was only the second to do so in a losing effort. Gary Sheffield drove in a Marlins' club-record seven runs in a 13-10 loss at Philadelphia on Sept. 18, 1995.

NFL
• Doug Flutie announced his retirement Monday. Flutie was selected in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL collegiate draft by the Rams -- the 10th of 11 quarterbacks chosen. Among the other QBs picked in that draft were Randall Cunningham, Frank Reich, Steve Bono and Rusty Hilger.

Flutie's farewell closes the book on that 1985 draft -- every player is now retired. After Flutie, the longest careers for players in the Class of 1985 belong to Jerry Rice (final season was 2004) and Bruce Smith (last season was 2003).