Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Roger Clemens didn't record his first strikeout until the fifth inning of his 4-0 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday night. It was only the second time in Clemens' last 132 starts, dating to 2001, that he failed to strike a batter out over the first four innings.
• Here we go again: Last season, the Astros were shut out in nine of Clemens' 32 starts, one shutout short of the highest single-season total in support -- or lack thereof -- of any starting pitcher during the live-ball era. The Cubs failed to score in 10 starts for Ferguson Jenkins in 1968.
• Joe Mauer went 5-for-5 in the Twins' 9-2 win over the Dodgers, and he now has 100 hits in 257 at-bats this season. Over the last six seasons, the only other player to reach the 100-hit mark in as few at-bats as Mauer was Derrek Lee in 2005 (255 AB).
• Mauer went 4-for-5 against the Dodgers on Monday night. Only one other catcher in the last five seasons recorded consecutive starts with four or more hits: Victor Martinez (Aug. 25-26, 2005). Mauer is batting .469 (61-for-130) since May 19.
• Coincidentally, May 19 is also the date that Francisco Liriano made his first start of the season for the Twins. Liriano's victory Tuesday night raised his record to 7-1 since then (with a 1.76 ERA). Liriano leads the majors in wins during that time.
• The Red Sox whomped Mets rookie Alay Soler in Tuesday night's 9-4 win. Soler allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings, and the Sox kept in tact their distinction of being the only team not to lose to a rookie starter this season. Boston has faced four rookie starters, whose combined record against the Sox is 0-3 with a 10.07 ERA.
• Red Sox rookie Jon Lester earned his third win without a loss in four starts. Lester recorded inning-ending strikeouts with the bases loaded in consecutive innings: Chris Woodward in the fourth, David Wright in the fifth. Only one other rookie has done that over the last four seasons, and he did it just nine days ago: Josh Johnson of the Marlins.
• The Royals overcame a 5-1 deficit to win at Cincinnati on Tuesday night. It was the first time since May 18, 2004, that the Royals won on the road after falling at least four runs behind. Kansas City had lost 78 straight under those circumstances.
• Eric Milton was the Reds' starter who failed to hold the lead. Milton's career record of 47-1 when given a lead of four or more runs looks good on paper. But this was his 13th no-decision when staked to a four-run cushion.
• The Cardinals extended their losing streak to eight in a row in a 3-1 loss to the Indians. Tony La Russa hadn't lost eight straight in more than 10 years -- since his A's finished the 1995 season with nine consecutive losses.
• A.J. Burnett of the Blue Jays threw only 22 balls in his 92-pitch complete-game victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners threw 21 balls, the 2006 season low in a complete game, in a victory over the Angels on June 11.
• The Marlins were out-homered 4-3, but they defeated the Devil Rays 8-4. After the game, Marlins manager Joe Girardi said, "It's unusual seeing seven home runs hit in this ballpark," and he was right. That tied the record for home runs in one game at Dolphin Stadium (formerly known as Pro Player Stadium).
• Brandon Webb's season continues to spiral downward. Although the Diamondbacks rallied to spare Webb a loss, he allowed seven runs in seven innings against the Mariners, including a five-spot in the first inning. Webb is the first starting pitcher since Livan Hernandez in 1997 to lose three consecutive decisions immediately after eight or more wins to start the season.
2006 World Cup
• Ronaldo has scored three goals in this tournament after scoring eight in 2002 and four in 1998. The only other player with at least three goals in three World Cups is Juergen Klinsmann, in 1990 (3), 1994 (5), and 1998 (3).
• Cafu, who played the full 90 minutes against Ghana, set a World Cup record by playing in his 16th victory. The previous mark was set by Wolfgang Overath (1966-74); it was equaled by Lothar Matthaus (1982-98) and Tuesday by Ronaldo (1998-2006).
• Brazil hasn't allowed a goal in the second half of its last eight World Cup matches, now the second-longest streak in tournament history. Brazil also owns the longest streak (10 from 1978-82).
• David Villa opened the scoring in Spain's 3-1 loss to France with a penalty kick in the 25th minute. Villa extended Spain's perfect record in World Cup play to 14 goals on 14 PKs. No other team has scored on more than eight consecutive penalty kicks. Ironically, Spain has lost two of its three penalty-kick "shootouts" after World Cup elimination matches ended in draws.
• Spain was the 12th team to go undefeated in the group stage since 1986 (under the current format: group play, then knockout). Only two of the other 11 teams lost their first knockout game: Brazil in 1990 (1-0 to Argentina) and Denmark in 1986 (5-1 to Spain).
• Following Spain's 4-0 win in its World Cup opener against Ukraine, who'd have thought it would be Ukraine advancing to the elite eight while the Spaniards headed home? But the fact is, over the last 10 World Cups, six teams have won their opening match by four or more goals, and only two reached the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Ukraine was the first team ever to lose its World Cup opener by at least four goals and advance beyond group play.
• Ronaldo scored his 15th World Cup goal in the fifth minute of Brazil's 3-0 win over Ghana, passing Gerd Muller as the all-time leader. Muller had been the sole record-holder for nearly 32 years -- since July 7, 1974. That was three months after Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth (April 8), three months before Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle" (Oct. 30).