Elias Says ...

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


Ryan Howard couldn't have done much more in the Phillies' final game of the month: He homered, singled, was hit by a pitch and walked twice. That left him with 49 home runs for the season, breaking Mike Schmidt's team record.

Howard became only the sixth different player in major league history to take a total of at least 49 home runs into September. Roger Maris took 51 into September in 1961; Mark McGwire, 55 in 1998 and 51 in 1999; Sammy Sosa, 55 in 1998 and 1999, and 52 in 2001; Barry Bonds, 57 in 2001; and Luis Gonzalez, 51 in 2001.

Even more impressive is that Howard drove in 41 runs during August, appropriately the most by any major leaguer in any month since another ferocious-hitting Howard who did his share of damage at Washington's RFK Stadium -- big Frank Howard, that is -- drove in 41 runs for the Dodgers in July 1962.

• The Phillies took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth at Washington but wound up losing 6-5 in 10 innings. Philadelphia had been the only National League team that had not lost a game this season in which it had taken a lead into the ninth inning.

So when was the last major-league game in which a team lost after taking a lead of at least two runs into the last of the ninth and taking another lead in the tenth? More than two years ago: On July 2, 2004, the Rockies scored three in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Tigers; then, after Detroit scored one in the top of the 10th, Colorado scored twice to win, 9-8.

• Though the Royals had beaten the Twins in the first two games of their three-game series in Minneapolis, consider what Kansas City would have had to overcome to win on Thursday:

* The Twins hadn't lost a home game in which Johan Santana was the starting pitcher in more than a year.

* The Royals had not completed a sweep of a road series -- of any length -- since July 2003.

Form held true as Santana led Minnesota to a 3-1 win. It was the Twins' 21st straight win in a home game that Santana had started -- the longest such streak by any major league team in home games started by a particular pitcher in modern major league history.

And the Royals extended to 85 their streak of road series without a sweep, surpassing what had been the second-longest such span in major-league history, an 84-road-series streak in which the Rockies had gone sweepless from 2001 to 2004. The only longer streak lasted 88 road series, and was fashioned by the Montreal Expos from 1995 to 1998.

The Royals' last road sweep came just before the 2003 All-Star Break, when they took three games from the Rangers in Texas.

Randy Johnson earned his 15th victory of the season as the Yankees defeated the Tigers 6-4. It was Johnson's third straight season of 15 or more wins since he turned 40 in September 2003.

And in doing so, Johnson became only the third pitcher in major league history to be credited with 15 or more wins in each of three consecutive seasons after the age of 40. Cy Young did it from 1907 to 1909, and Warren Spahn followed suit from 1961 to 1963. (Special mention goes to Phil Niekro, who had five seasons of 15 or more wins after the age of 40, but never had three in a row.)

• The Red Sox ended August with a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays, but that win could hardly wipe out memories of a disastrous 9-21 month. Boston finished with a 5.81 ERA for its 30 games during the month -- the highest in the majors during August and Boston's highest ERA in any calendar month in more than 12 years, since its staff had a 5.88 ERA in June 1994 as the team went 8-19.

Andy Pettitte earned the victory in the Astros' 5-3 triumph over the Brewers, evening his won-lost record at 13-13. It's the first time that Pettitte has been at .500 since early April, when he was 1-1. Since then, Pettitte had lost seven consecutive decisions in games in which he had a chance to pull his record back to the .500 mark.

• Delmon Young of the Devil Rays played his third major-league game on Thursday, and had his third multiple-hit game. Three other players who broke into the majors since the year 2000 did so with (at least) three straight multiple-hit games: Boston's Morgan Burkhart (four straight multi-hit games) in 2000, Bo Hart of the Cardinals in 2003 and Toronto's Aaron Hill in 2005.

But when you look back through the list of recent players who started their careers in such a manner, there are far more players such as Burkhart and Hart than there are future All-Stars. In fact, of the 14 players over the past 30 years who started their big-league careers with at least three straight multi-hit games, only one has gone on to start an All-Star Game: Ken Caminiti, who broke in with three straight multi-hit games in 1987 and started an All-Star Game 10 years later.

• The Orioles-Rangers game produced yet another home run by Mark Teixeira against Bruce Chen, who if he is not owned by Teixeira, is at least leased, and on very favorable terms. In 12 career plate appearances against the well-traveled left-hander, Teixeira is now 7-for-11 with six home runs, a double and a walk; if you're scoring at home, that comes to a slugging percentage of 2.364.

This season, he's 4-for-6 vs. Chen, with home runs in each of his last four plate appearances. Among active major-leaguers, that's the longest current streak of home runs in consecutive at-bats for any batter against one pitcher.

Teixeira's total of 11 at-bats vs. Chen is the lowest by any active major leaguer who has hit at least six home runs against a particular pitcher. The next-lowest: Ryan Klesko has six homers in 16 at-bats vs. Paul Wilson; Gary Sheffield has connected six times in 23 at-bats vs. Jamey Wright; and Mike Piazza has gone deep six times in 26 at-bats vs. Pedro Martinez.


• Aided by the decision by Bill Parcells to force overtime by going for a one-point conversion, rather than a two-pointer, late in the fourth quarter, and also by Mike Vanderjagt's two misses on short field-goal attempts during the overtime period, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo racked up 349 passing yards in the Cowboys' 10-10 preseason tie against the Vikings. It was the first 300-yard passing game by an NFL quarterback in the preseason since Daunte Culpepper passed for 311 yards vs. Arizona in the 2000 preseason.

• Giants running back Brandon Jacobs served notice with 130 yards on 15 carries as the Giants concluded an undefeated preseason with a 31-23 win over the Patriots. That was the highest individual rushing-yards total in an NFL preseason game since last Aug. 27, when Larry Johnson of the Chiefs had 147 yards vs. Seattle and Denver's Mike Anderson ran for 159 yards against the Colts.