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NO ONE ALIVE HAS EVER SEEN THIS BEFORE
From Elias: The Yankees retained their one-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East on Sunday as both teams suffered one-run losses, to the Athletics (5-4) and at Boston (2-1), respectively. New York and Baltimore have been separated by no more than one game (at the end of a day's play) since September 3. That streak of 21 straight days without either team leading the other by more than one game is the second-longest in major-league history for a pair of first- and second-place teams in a league or division race during September or later. The only longer streak of that kind occurred in 1889, when New York won the National League pennant by one game over Boston with the two teams separated by no more than one game over the final 22 days of that season.
THEY USED TO CALL IT A SALARY DRIVE
From Elias: B.J. Upton's power surge continued with a solo home run in the Rays' 3-0 win over the Blue Jays. It was Upton's tenth home run this month, after he had only 16 home runs in 116 games this season through the end of August. Only four other players in major-league history hit as many as ten home runs during September in a season in which they hit as few as 16 homers while playing as many as 115 games through the end of August: Tim Wallach (1985 Expos), Ryne Sandberg (1992 Cubs) and Randy Winn (2005 Mariners and Giants).
PUJOLS REACHES 100-RBI MARK
From Elias: Albert Pujols drove in two runs in the Angels' 4-1 win over the White Sox to eclipse the 100-RBI mark for the 11th time in his 12 major-league seasons. The only other active player with ten or more triple-digit RBI seasons is Alex Rodriguez (14). Pujols is the eighth player to drive in at least 100 runs in his first season with the Angels. He joined Dan Ford (1979), Reggie Jackson (1982), Wally Joyner (1986 as a rookie), Mo Vaughn (1999), Vladimir Guerrero (2004), Jose Guillen (2004) and Bobby Abreu (2009).
WRIGHT GETS BACK ON TRACK
From Elias: Ruben Tejada's RBI single gave the Mets a 3-2 walk-off win over the Marlins after David Wright opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run homer off of Ricky Nolasco. Wright had driven in only 12 runs over his previous 50 games (July 28-Sept. 22); it was the fewest runs driven in by Wright during any 50-game span of his major-league career. Facing Nolasco may have been just what Wright needed. Wright (.397, 25-for-63, 6 HR) has a recorded more hits and more home runs against Nolasco than he has against any other pitcher.
KIMBREL AND NATHAN SHUT THE DOOR
From Elias: Craig Kimbrel retired the side in order in the ninth inning to nail down the Braves' 2-1 victory over the Phillies. It was Kimbrel's 16th save this season in games that he entered with a one-run lead. That tied Kimbrel with Jim Johnson for the most such saves this year.
Kimbrel and Johnson have the most saves this season in games in which they entered with a one-run lead, but no one has been more reliable in those situations than Joe Nathan, who registered his 13 save in 13 such opportunities in the Rangers' 3-2 win at Seattle. Both Kimbrel (three times) and Johnson (once) have blown saves this year under those circumstances.
GONZALEZ ENDS HIS HOME-RUN DROUGHT
From Elias: Adrian Gonzalez homered in his first plate appearance after being acquired by the Dodgers (August 25), but he had 105 homerless at-bats before hitting his second round-tripper for Los Angeles, a solo shot in the second inning that preceded another home run by Gonzalez in the seventh inning of Sunday night's game at Cincinnati. It was the third-longest homerless of Gonzalez's career. He went 110 at-bats between home runs for the Padres in 2006 and he had a 109 at-bat home-run drought for the Red Sox earlier this season. Gonzalez didn't have to wait very long before hitting his third homer for the Dodgers.
LUCROY MAKES THEM PAY
From Elias: Jonathan Lucroy's seventh-inning infield single plated Ryan Braun to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead in their 6-2 win at Washington. Davey Johnson elected to intentionally walk Corey Hart to load the bases and bring Lucroy to the plate. Lucroy has five RBI-hits in his last seven at-bats that followed an intentional walk to the preceding batter (since April 2011).
ANOTHER THREE-HIT GAME FOR ROSARIO
From Elias: Wilin Rosario registered his fourth consecutive three-hit game in the Rockies' loss to the Diamondbacks. Rosario is the only player in Rockies history to collect three or more hits in each of four straight games; the only other major-leaguer to do that this season is Torii Hunter (Aug. 29-Sept. 1).
LOHSE WINS, MOTTE SAVES
From Elias: Kyle Lohse beat the Cubs on Sunday with Jason Motte earning the save. Motte has saved 12 of Lohse's 16 wins the season, the most saves for any major-league pitcher in wins by a particular teammate this year. It matches the highest such single-season total in Cardinals history. Jason Isringhausen saved 12 of Chris Carpenter's 15 victories in 2004.
TOUGH MONTH FOR VALVERDE
From Elias: The Twins pushed across a tenth-inning run against Jose Valverde to post their second victory of the day against the Tigers. Valverde, who is sporting a 7.71 ERA in ten games this September, has been charged with runs in each of three straight games for the first time in more than two years (Aug. 25-Sept. 2, 2010).
SANTANA COMES ALIVE
From Elias: Carlos Santana hit a pair of homers and drove in five runs as the Indians' DH in their 15-4 romp at Kansas City. In Santana's 24 previous games as a designated hitter this season he posted a .205 batting average (17-for-83) with one home run and six RBI.
TITANS SURVIVE FOURTH-QUARTER SHOOTOUT WITH LIONS
From Elias: What a fantastic fourth quarter was played by the Lions and Titans in Tennessee's 44-41 overtime win at Nashville. The Titans scored three unanswered touchdowns, each longer than 70 yards, to take a 41-27 lead with 76 seconds to play. Only two other teams in NFL history scored three TDs of 70 yards or longer in the same period: the Lions against the Packers on Thanksgiving Day in 1951, and the St. Louis Cardinals against the Steelers in 1968.
Not insignificantly, Tennessee's total of five TDs of 60 yards or longer was the most in any game in NFL history.
But Shaun Hill answered with a pair of touchdown passes, the first of them--yes, the first--with just 18 seconds to play. Detroit was only the third team in NFL history that needed and scored a pair of TDs in the final minute of the fourth quarter to erase a deficit and either win the game or force overtime. The others were the Falcons against the Saints in 1978 and the Bears against the Browns in 2001.
The total of 49 points that Tennessee and Detroit scored after the end of the third quarter was an NFL record, one point more than the Lions and Bears produced in the fourth quarter of their meeting at Ford Field in 2007.
WHAT'S WORSE THAN A 0-3 START?
From Elias: The Saints fell to 0-3 with a 27-24 overtime loss to the Chiefs, and New Orleans' record might actually be worse than it sounds. Washington, Carolina, and Kansas City, the three teams that beat the Saints, are all winless in their other games. Only one other team in NFL history--that's dating back to 1920--started a season with a 0-3 mark, losing to teams that were 1-2 after their first three games. That was the 1989 Cowboys, who finished the season with a 1-15 record.
CHARLES SETS TEAM RECORD WITH LONG TD RUN
From Elias: Jamaal Charles set a Chiefs record with a 91-yard touchdown run at New Orleans, breaking a mark that Ted McKnight had held since 1979 (84 yards). For 10 of the 26 current teams that predate the AFL-NFL merger, the franchise record for longest TD run was set during or prior to the 1960s.
MANNING SETS RECORD HELD BY ONLY A FEW
From Elias: Peyton Manning passed for 316 yards in the Broncos' 31-25 loss to the Texans. It was the 64th 300-yard game of Manning's career, breaking a tie with Dan Marino for the all-time record. There have been four holders of this record since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970: Johnny Unitas (1966-1982), Dan Fouts (1982-1995), Marino, and Manning.
4 SCORE ON SCHAUB'S TD TOSSES
From Elias: Matt Schaub threw four touchdown passes in the Texans' win at Denver, and it was the first time that four different players caught a TD pass from Schaub in the same game (Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Kevin Walter, and Owen Daniels). Sage Rosenfels was Houston's quarterback in the only other game in which four Texans players caught a TD. That was in 2007 and Rosenfels threw all four of his TD passes during a furious but failed fourth-quarter comeback against the Titans.
McFADDEN STARS IN WIN OVER STEELERS
From Elias: Darren McFadden rushed for 113 yards in the Raiders' 34-31 win over the Steelers. That was the highest individual rushing total ever recorded by a Raiders player in their 20 regular-season games against Pittsburgh. Note that Marcus Allen gained 121 yards on the ground in the Raiders' divisional playoff win over the Steelers on New Year's Day 1984.
FALCONS KEEP CHARGERS OUT OF THE END ZONE
From Elias: The Falcons improved to 3-0 with a convincing 27-3 victory at San Diego. Atlanta snapped the Chargers' streak of 151 consecutive regular-season games scoring at least one touchdown, the second-longest such streak in NFL history. The Browns scored a TD in 166 straight games from 1957 to 1969. The longest active streak now belongs to the Saints (100 games).
KOLB LEADS CARDINALS TO ROUT OF HIS EX-TEAM
From Elias: Kevin Kolb passed for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Cardinals' 27-6 win over the Eagles. Kolb was the fourth former Philadelphia quarterback to start against and defeat the Eagles by at least 20 points. The others were Norm Snead for the Giants (1972), Sonny Jurgensen for the Redskins (1973), and Bubby Brister for the Broncos (1998).
GABBERT THROWS LAST-MINUTE GAME-WINNING BOMB
From Elias: Blaine Gabbert threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts with 45 seconds remaining to give the Jaguars a 22-17 victory at Indianapolis. It was the longest game-winning TD ever scored in the last minute of the fourth quarter against the Colts. The previous record was a 75-yard pass from Babe Parilli to Billy Howton for the Packers at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1960.
SANU'S TD PASS IS A RECORD-BREAKER
From Elias: Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green in the Bengals' 38-31 win over the Redskins. It was the longest TD pass in NFL history by a player from Rutgers, surpassing the previous record of 56 yards by Ray Lucas of the Jets in 1999. It was also the longest by a player other than a quarterback since Steelers punter Josh Miller connected with Chris Hope for an 81-yard TD in 2003.
A FIRST FOR GREEN-ELLIS
From Elias: BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled for the first time in his NFL career in the Bengals' win. Green-Ellis hadn't fumbled after any of his first 589 carries or catches, the longest start-of-career streak by any player who entered the NFL since the league began recording fumbles for individual players in 1945. It was also the longest current streak of carries or catches without a fumble for any active player.
FITZPATRICK TOSSES 3 MORE TD PASSES
From Elias: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes in the Bills' 24-14 victory at Cleveland. This is the second straight season in which Fitzpatrick threw multiple TDs in each of Buffalo's first three games. The only other Bills QBs to do so even once were Joe Ferguson (first four games in 1975) and Jim Kelly (first three in 1991, first four in 1992).
SANCHEZ HITS THE 300 MARK
From Elias: Mark Sanchez passed for 306 yards in the Jets' 23-20 win at Miami. Over the last 19 seasons, only one other Jets quarterback posted a 300-yard game in a victory over the Dolphins: Vinny Testaverde in a 40-37 overtime win in 2000 (378 yards). That was the legendary Monday night game in which the Jets scored 30 points in the fourth quarter to force OT.
COWBOYS WIN DESPITE BUCS' STIFLING RUN DEFENSE
From Elias: The Bucs held the Cowboys to only 38 yards on the ground, but Dallas emerged with a 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay. It was only the second time in team history that Dallas won a game in which it gained less than 40 rushing yards (compared to 13 losses). The first was against the Giants in 1987.