Sunday, July 9, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The White Sox beat the Red Sox 6-5 in 19 innings on Sunday. It was the 77th game in major-league history that lasted at least 19 innings, but it was only the second of those 77 games that took place between two teams each 20-plus games above .500. The other was in 1912, when the Washington Senators beat the Philadelphia Athletics, also in 19 innings.
• Trot Nixon went 0-for-9 in the 19-inning marathon, the largest 0-fer for any major-league player in 15 years, since Texas's Rafael Palmeiro went 0-for-9 in an 18-inning game at Kansas City on June 6, 1991.
Jason Varitek, hitting directly behind Nixon in the order, went 0-for-8. The last time two major-league teammates each had eight or more at-bats without a hit in the same game was on June 3, 1989, when the Dodgers' John Shelby (0-for-10) and Mike Davis (0-for-8) did it in a 22-inning game at Houston.
• Joe Mauer was 0-for-4 and he enters the All-Star break in a season-worst 0-for-10 slump. Nixon's 0-for-9 performance leaves him hitless in 11 straight at-bats, his first double-digit streak of the year. That leaves only two American League players with at least 200 at-bats who have not gone at least 10 straight at-bats without a hit this season: Texas teammates Gary Matthews (323 at-bats this year) and Mark DeRosa (241 AB).
• Johan Santana entered Sunday with a streak of 39 consecutive starts without allowing more than one home run, the second-longest current streak in the majors. But Santana allowed home runs to Gary Matthews and Mark Teixeira in Minnesota's loss at Texas. The two longest current streaks of starts without allowing two or more home runs now belong to a couple of guys who are currently on the disabled list: Ryan Drese (48 straight) and Rich Harden (32).
• The Tigers (59-29) and White Sox (57-31) hit the All-Star break with the two best records in the major leagues. Since 1990, there has been only one other season in which teams from the same division had the two best records in the majors at the break: Montreal and Atlanta did that in 1994.
• David Wright's game-winning three-run homer against Florida boosted his season totals to 20 home runs and 74 runs batted in. Prior to Wright, the last five players under age 24 with 20 home runs and 70 runs batted in at the All-Star break were Albert Pujols in 2003, Alex Rodriguez in 1998, Jose Canseco in 1986, Johnny Bench in 1970 and Reggie Jackson in 1969.
• Jason Giambi's grand slam on Sunday came on a 1-2 pitch. This season, 14 of Giambi's 27 home runs have been hit with two strikes in the count. He's the only player in the major leagues who has hit at least 20 home runs, with more than half of them coming on a two-strike pitch. David Wright is closest to Giambi: 10 of Wright's 20 home runs (including his game-winning shot on Sunday) have come with two strikes against him.
• The Yankees took a 5-0 lead, but lost to Tampa Bay 6-5. It's the third time since June 1 -- a span of 35 games -- that the Yankees have lost after they held a lead of at least five runs. In the last 70 years, the Yankees have had only one other season (1993) in which they had three such losses in a span of 35 or fewer games.
• The Padres did the Devil Rays one better, overcoming a six-run deficit to beat the Nationals 10-9. It's the first time that San Diego has won a game in which it fell behind by six runs since Sept. 8, 2000 -- a 10-7 win at San Francisco. Since 2000, only one major-league team has not won a regular-season game in which it trailed by six or more runs: the Angels, whose last comeback victory of that type was in 1996.
• On Sunday, for the second time this season, Mike Piazza hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning (he also did it at Wrigley Field on May 13). The last season in which Piazza hit two game-winning home runs in the ninth inning or later was 1996, when he played with the Dodgers.
• Moises Alou went to the plate twice on Sunday with the bases loaded and two out. He was 0-for-2 in those situations and the Giants lost to the Dodgers, 3-1. Alou is now 14-for-65 (.215) in his career with the bases loaded and two out. But he's 44-for-99 (.444) with the bases loaded and less than two out!
• Roy Halladay won his major-league-leading 12th game. This is the fourth time in the last 10 seasons that a Blue Jays pitcher has been the sole major-league leader in victories at the All-Star break. Roger Clemens (13 wins) enjoyed that perch in 1997, as did David Wells (15 wins) in 2000 and Halladay (13 wins) in 2003. Clemens (1986 and 1997) and Halladay are the only two active pitchers who have stood alone at the top of the All-Star break victory leaders two different times in their careers.
• For the second straight day, the Blue Jays' Aaron Hill had four hits in a Toronto victory. In each case, all four of his hits were singles. In the last 10 seasons, the only other major-league player to have back-to-back games with at least four hits and no extra-base hits was Ichiro, in September 2004.
• Bobby Abreu had three hits in Philadelphia's win against Pittsburgh. He has now reached base in 34 straight games, one shy of the longest streak by a National League player this season. Todd Helton reached safely in 35 straight games, a streak that ended this past week.
World Cup soccer
• If Zinedine Zidane retires after Sunday's match, he would join many other Hall of Famers who finished their careers with a loss in their sport's ultimate game. Some of those players were Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays; Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; John Hannah and Jackie Smith; Bill Gadsby and Dale Hawerchuk.
• Zidane was the fourth player to be red-carded in a World Cup final, but the first to be sent off in extra time. The others: Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti of Argentina in 1990 and Marcel Desailly of France in 1998.
• Zidane is the fourth player to score goals in two different World Cup finals. The others were Vava of Brazil (1958 and 1962), Pele of Brazil (1958 and 1970), and Paul Breitner of Germany (1974 and 1982). Zidane's total of three goals in World Cup finals ties a record shared by Vava, Pele, and Geoff Hurst.
• Italy had lost all three of its previous World Cup penalty-kick tiebreakers. But Italy made all five of its PKs against France; it had never missed fewer than two PKs in any previous World Cup tiebreaker.