Date: April 6, 2010

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

MLB

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Heyward

HEYWARD CONNECTS IN DEBUT

Twenty-year-old Jason Heyward, perhaps the most ballyhooed rookie in the majors this season, belted a three-run homer on his first swing in his first plate appearance in Atlanta's 16-5 win over the Cubs. He was the youngest player to hit a home run in his first big-league at-bat since 1950, when Cincinnati's Ted Tappe, then 19, connected as a pinch-hitter at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. The youngest player ever to accomplish that feat was Whitey Lockman of the New York Giants, whose first-at-bat homer in 1945 came 20 days before his 19th birthday.

Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs

BRAVES GET A PAIR OF SIXES

The Braves scored six runs in the first inning and six more in the seventh in their season-opening rout of the Cubs at Turner Field. And they made history in doing that: No other team in major-league history has opened a season at home with a pair of innings scoring at least six runs.

Two teams did that in season-opening road games: the White Sox against the Browns in St. Louis in 1951 and the Brewers at Toronto in 1982.

Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs

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Pujols

ALBERT'S BOXSCORE LINE: 5-4-4-3 WITH 2 HRS

Albert Pujols drove out four hits, including two home runs, and he scored four times in the Cardinals' 11-6 victory at Cincinnati. Only two other players in major-league history had a multiple-homer season opener in which he had at least four hits and scored at least four runs: Dmitri Young did it for the Tigers in 2005 (he had three home runs in that game vs. Kansas City) and Xavier Nady followed suit for the Pirates in a 12-inning game at Atlanta in 2008.

St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds

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Lincecum

LINCECUM'S CALLING CARD: 7 SCORELESS

Tim Lincecum threw seven scoreless innings and the Giants started the season with a 5-2 victory in Houston. Since he entered the majors in 2007, Lincecum has now had 16 starts in which he has not allowed a run while throwing at least seven innings, the highest such total for any pitcher in the majors over that time. (Jake Peavy and CC Sabathia each have had 14 such starts, the second-highest total since 2007.)

San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros

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Drew

STEPHEN DREW JOINS J.D. IN INSIDE-PARK HR CLUB

Stephen Drew's inside-the-park homer was the big blow in the Diamondbacks' season-opening win over the Padres. It was the first in-park homer of Drew's major-league career, equaling the total of his brother J.D., who raced around the bases for a score as a Cardinals rookie in 1999. Accordingly, the Drews are the first pair of major-league brothers each to have hit an inside-the-park homer since it was done by the Bells - George (1984 Blue Jays) and Juan (1992 Phillies).

Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres

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Stewart

NOW THIS IS A BIRTHDAY

Ian Stewart, on his 25th birthday, homered in his first plate appearance of the season and the Rockies took a 5-3 decision at Milwaukee. Stewart became the first player in major-league history to produce a home run in his first at-bat in his team's season opener, on his birthday.

Only one other player had ever homered in a season-opener on his birthday: Scott Rolen, then with the Phillies, did that against Randy Johnson in 2000, but in his third at-bat of that game.

Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers

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Polanco

POLANCO MAKES PHILLIES HISTORY

Placido Polanco, playing his first game for the Phillies since 2005, did two things on Monday that neither he nor anyone else who had ever played for the Phightins had ever done. He produced a grand-slam home run in the season opener, and he also collected six RBIs in a season opener. (The previous-best RBI total by a Phillies player in a lid-lifter was five by Don Money in 1969.)

Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals

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Marcum

RANGERS' MEMORABLE OPENING-DAY WIN

The Blue Jays held a 3-0 lead over Texas through six innings on Monday, and Shaun Marcum had held the Rangers hitless to that point. But Nelson Cruz had a three-run homer and an RBI double and Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided the game-winning hit in the Rangers' 5-4 comeback victory.

You may not see another game this season in which the eventual winning team, through six innings, had been held hitless and faced a deficit of at least three runs. There had been only five such games over the past 10 seasons and there were only five such games during the 1990s.

Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers

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Jones

JONES GOES WHERE KINER, CLEMENTE & POPS NEVER DID

Garrett Jones measured Vicente Padilla for a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the third inning as the Pirates routed the Dodgers, 11-5. The Pirates have been around for a long time - they joined the National League in 1887 - but Jones became the first player in all that time to belt a pair of homers in his first two at-bats of a season opener.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Wright

WRIGHT: HR TO UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

David Wright homered in his first at-bat of the season, driving a Josh Johnson pitch over the right-field fence in the first inning to key the Mets' 7-1 victory over the Marlins. All last season, the Mets hit only two opposite-field home runs at Citi Field - and only one of those, by Wright, actually left the park. (Angel Pagan had an opposite-field inside-the-park homer.)

In the Mets' 49-year history, only two other players have connected for first-inning homers in a season opener played in front of the hometown fans. And those two players - Darryl Strawberry (in 1987) and Howard Johnson (in 1990) - happened to form the battery for Monday's first-pitch ceremony at Citi Field, with pitcher Strawberry delivering the first pitch to catcher Johnson.

New York Mets, Florida Marlins

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Quentin

HBP - QUENTIN (2)

The White Sox blanked the Indians, 6-0, taking advantage of the wildness of Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook. Westbrook walked four, threw four wild pitches and hit two batters - or, actually, he hit one batter twice. No surprise, that batter was Carlos Quentin.

Quentin is fast becoming one of the majors' most plunkable players: he has now been hit 56 times in 368 major-league games. That's a faster pace than several of the game's most notable targets: Ron Hunt was hit for the 56th time in his 584th big-league game; Don Baylor in his 614th game; and Craig Biggio in his 1,031st game!

Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians

ROYALS TRY A WHOLE NEW LINEUP

Calling the Royals the "new-look" Royals may be the understatement of the year. Kansas City's starting lineups in the 2009 and 2010 season openers did not contain a single player starting at the same position in both seasons.

You have to go back to the 2002-03 Tigers to find the last time that an American League team (with 10-player starting lineups, including both the pitcher and the DH) did not have a single player start at the same position in each of two consecutive openers.

Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers

NHL

CAPS' 4TH STRAIGHT WIN OVER BRUINS - A FIRST!

The Capitals' 3-2 overtime victory over the Bruins was their fourth consecutive win against Boston, a streak that dates back to the teams' final meeting last season. It's the first time that Washington has ever won four straight games over the Bruins. Way back when, the Caps did not record their first victory over the Bruins until their 27th game against them (March 12, 1980; they had been 0-21-5 vs. Boston before that win).

The Bruins have not scored more than three goals in any of their last 18 games against the Capitals. The last time Boston "scored four" against Washington was a 4-3 OT win in D.C. on Dec. 27, 2005.

Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins

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Recchi

RECCHI NOW ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER VS. CAPS

Mark Recchi took sole possession of the record for most points scored against the Capitals when he assisted on the Bruins' second goal in their overtime loss at Washington. It was Recchi's 109th point vs. Washington (47 goals, 62 assists in 96 games), moving him past Marcel Dionne, who recorded 108 points in 67 games against Washington. The other players with at least 100 career points against the Caps are Wayne Gretzky (105), Bryan Trottier (103) and Mario Lemieux (101).101

Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins

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Johnson

JOHNSON'S 2ND OT GOAL OF SEASON

Erik Johnson scored 3:59 into overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. It was the second overtime goal of the season for the second-year defenseman, who scored in extra time against Phoenix on November 19. Johnson is the first defenseman in Blues history to record two OT goals in one season.

St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets


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