Saturday, July 8, 2006
Updated: July 9, 9:35 AM ET
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Did you see that Red Sox-White Sox game on Saturday afternoon? If you did, you saw something that had never happened before in the history of Major League Baseball -- and we're here to tell you about it.
David Ortiz broke a 3-3 tie by hitting his 31st home run of the season, a two-run blast, in the top of the fifth, and then, after Chicago had scored a run on a wild pitch, Jim Thome responded with his 30th homer of the season to knot the game in the bottom of the fifth.
It was the first time in major-league history that, in a game prior to the All-Star break, two players had each homered, lifting their season totals to 30 or more.
• Or, depending on what part of the country you live in, maybe you saw the Giants-Dodgers. And wouldn't you guess it; there was something remarkable in that game as well.
It was the 2,255th regular-season game between the longtime rivals, but it was the first of those games in which a run was scored in every inning from one through nine.
• Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the fifth time in his major-league career that he has had a single-season streak of that length. (Earlier this season, Ichiro fashioned his fourth single-season hitting streak of 20-or-more games since joining the Mariners, so Nomar's current streak again provides him with the lead among active players in that category.)
• Jered Weaver did it again: He threw seven scoreless innings in the Angels' 6-4 win at Oakland. In each of the first six games of Weaver's major-league career, he has been the starting pitcher and the winning pitcher, has gone at least six innings and has allowed no more than two runs.
The last pitcher who started his big-league career with such a streak was Boo Ferriss for the 1945 Red Sox; he followed that formula in each of his first seven major-league appearances. (Ferris actually won his first eight starts, pitching a complete game and allowing no more than two runs in each of them; he appeared in a game in relief prior to his eighth start, throwing a scoreless inning.)
• Francisco Liriano threw seven shutout innings in the Twins' 4-0 victory over the Rangers, lifting his record to 10-1 and reducing his ERA to 1.83. He became only the second rookie to head into the All-Star break with at least 10 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA. The other was Jerry Koosman of the Mets; he headed into the 1968 All-Star break with a record of 11-4 and an ERA of 1.94.
With Justin Verlander also having won 10 games, this becomes only the third season since 1933, the year of the first All-Star Game, in which two rookies had amassed 10-or-more wins prior to the midseason classic. It also happened in 1934 (the Cardinals' Paul Dean, 10-4; the Phillies' Curt Davis, 10-8) and in 1970 (Cincinnati's Wayne Simpson, 13-1; Montreal's Carl Morton, 10-6).
• Top of the ninth, two outs, none on, a two-run lead and Brad Lidge on the mound: Things looked pretty good for the Astros against the Cardinals on Saturday. But St. Louis rallied for two in the ninth and Albert Pujols homered off Roy Oswalt in the 10th to annex a 7-6 win.
It was the first game in the majors this season that a team has won after trailing by two-or-more runs in the ninth inning with two outs and none on.
Oswalt was making his first relief appearance since Aug. 24, 2004, when he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning (striking out Placido Polanco and Bobby Abreu and getting Jim Thome on a grounder). Then, after the Astros broke a tie with two in the bottom of the eighth, Oswalt became the winning pitcher when Lidge put Philadelphia down in the ninth.
• The Diamondbacks and the Rockies were tied at 1 going to the ninth at Denver. Then, after Arizona scored seven in the top of the ninth, Colorado tallied six runs in the bottom half, for a wild 8-7 Coors Field victory.
There have been more than 3,000 games in major-league history that were tied 1-1 going to the ninth inning. Saturday's game at Coors was the first of those games in which, by game's end, as many as 15 runs had been scored. (No surprise: The previous high -- 14 runs -- was also set in Denver, in 1994 at Mile High Stadium: After being tied 1-1 through eight innings, both the Padres and Rockies scored once in the 10th. Then San Diego scored nine in the 11th, Colorado responded with one, and the Padres won 11-3.)
• The Marlins beat the Mets 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader, but Mets fans who have waited through a lot of pitchers this season -- Brian Bannister, Geremi Gonzalez, John Maine, Jose Lima, Alay Soler and, yes, Jose Lima again -- were waiting for the second game, to get a look at 22-year-old Mike Pelfrey, the team's top pick in the 2005 draft.
Pelfrey became the 15th pitcher since 1994 to make his major-league debut with a start for the Mets, and he was only the second among that group to come away with a win. (Masato Yoshii, who had previously pitched in Japan's major leagues, was the other, back in 1998.)
And why shouldn't Pelfrey have won? The Mets scored 17 runs for him! Get a load of this one: That's the most runs scored by a National League team in a game in which its starting pitcher won making his major-league debut -- are you still with us? -- in more than 100 years. Back on June 23, 1897, Jack Powell made his big-league debut for the Cleveland Spiders, who won 18-1 over Louisville. (Yes, those teams were then in the National League.)
We're just getting warmed up: The Mets' total of 17 runs was the highest by one team in any of the 3,538 regular-season major-league games that have been played at Shea Stadium! And that's an all-time record: That's by far the longest streak of games played at any stadium in major-league history -- whether from the opening of the building or at any time during its life -- without a game in which one team scored 17-or-more runs!
• Jose Valentin supported Pelfrey with a grand slam in the first inning and a three-run triple in the second. He became the first player in the Mets' 45-year history to connect for a bases-loaded triple and a bases-loaded home run in the same game. The last major-leaguer to do that was Robin Jennings with the Reds against the Pirates on Augu. 31, 2001. (No penalty, by the way, if you don't remember Jennings: He had only two other homers and one other triple in his 93-game big-league career.)
• Johnny Damon didn't start against Scott Kazmir on Saturday in St. Petersburg, but he scored the first run of the game in the sixth inning after pinch-running for Jason Giambi, then got the game's biggest hit, a two-run triple off Kazmir in the seventh. The Yankees won 5-1.
It was only the fourth extra-base hit this season by a left-handed hitter against the Devil Rays' prize lefty, and the first since a David Ortiz double on May 26. (Ortiz also had a home run off Kazmir on April 30, and Kansas City's Mark Teahan tripled off Kazmir on April 14.)
Klose scored five goals in Germany's seven games. The only players in Sunday's France-Italy Final with more than one goal in the tournament are Thierry Henry (three), and Patrick Vieira, Zinedine Zidane and Luca Toni (two each).
• Portugal extended its scoreless streak to 364 minutes, between goals by Maniche against the Netherlands in the Round of 16 and by Nuno Gomes in the 88th minute vs. Germany on Saturday. That is the longest scoreless span by any team in any World Cup.
The previous high was 320 minutes in 1970 by Uruguay, which also lost its third-place match to Germany.
• Portugal was issued three yellows against Germany, raising its total to 24 for tournament, a new World Cup record. The previous high was 23 by Bulgaria in 1994.
• Bastian Schweinsteiger scored two goals, and his free-kick shot was redirected by a Portgual player for an own goal in Germany's 3-1 victory in the third-place game at the World Cup. But it's Schweinsteiger's teammate, Miroslav Klose, who appears likely to win the Golden Shoe as the 2006 World Cup's leading goal scorer.
In 2000, the year that Woods won three majors, he shot 67-or-better in consecutive rounds a total of 15 times!
• Tiger Woods followed his round of 67 on Friday with a 66 on Saturday, moving into a three-way tie for seventh place at the Cialis Western Open. It's the second time this season that Woods has shot 67 or better in consecutive rounds of one tournament. He shot 64-67 in the first two rounds of the Ford Championship, which he won back on the first weekend in March.