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Monday, September 4, 2006
Elias Says ...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider

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

• The Marlins moved over .500 with their win over the Diamondbacks Monday, becoming the first team in major league history to go over .500 after being as many as 20 games under .500 earlier that season. The previous record for "most games under .500 before going over .500" was 18 games, set by the Devil Rays in 2004. Tampa Bay was 10-28 through May 19, but rebounded to go over .500 on June 26, before finishing 70-91.

• Florida's Hanley Ramirez went 0-for-4 Monday, ending his reaching-base streak at 36 games. The only other active players who had a reaching-base streak as long as Ramirez as rookies are Albert Pujols (48 in 2001), Scott Podsednik (47 in 2003), Ichiro (38 in 2001), Scott Rolen (36 in 1997), and Ronnie Belliard (36 in 1999).

 Ramon Ortiz
• Ramon Ortiz held the Cardinals hitless for eight innings before Aaron Miles' single to lead off the ninth inning. No pitcher has thrown a no-hitter since Randy Johnson had his perfect game in May 2004. No pitcher had even taken a no-no to the ninth inning since Eric Milton did it for the Phillies against the Cubs on July 25, 2004.

Ortiz, who hit a home run in the eighth inning, was bidding to become only the fifth pitcher in major league history, and first since Rick Wise of the 1971 Phillies, to throw a no-hitter and hit a home run in the same game.

• In what's become nearly a daily event, Ryan Howard hit yet another home run, giving him 53 on the season and 25 since the All Star Game. Since the break, Howard has not gone more than 17 at-bats without a home run and since hitting No. 44 on Aug. 23, Howard has not gone more than seven at-bats without a dinger.

 Jered Weaver
• Jered Weaver improved to 10-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 15 career starts with seven shutout innings and a win over the Orioles on Monday. In the last 40 years, two other pitchers won at least 10 of their first 15 starts with as low an ERA as Weaver: Cal Eldred, who was 12-1 with a 1.85 ERA over 1991-1992 and Mark Fidrych, who was 11-3 with a 1.82 ERA in 1976.

Weaver did not make his major league debut until May 27. Last year, Ervin Santana won 12 games for the Angels after not debuting until May 17. The only other team since 1900 to get at least 10 wins from a rookie starting pitcher who did not debut until the middle of May in two straight seasons was the Expos, in 1973 and 1974, with Steve Rogers (10-5 in 1973) and Dennis Blair (11-7) in 1974.

• Jon Garland's streak of winning starts on the road came to an end in Boston on Monday. Garland had won each of his last 10 road starts. That ties the longest single-season streak for any pitcher over the last 35 years. Chris Carpenter won 10 in a row on the road last season and David Wells won 10 straight on the road in 2000. The last pitcher with a longer streak was Bob Gibson, who won 12 in a row on the road in 1970.

 Carlos Pena
• Carlos Pena's first home run for the Red Sox was a game-ender in the 10th inning. Earlier this season, Mark Loretta's first home run for Boston was also a walk-off. Two other players this season hit game-enders as their first dinger with a team -- Rob Bowen for the Padres in May and Ramon Hernandez for the Orioles in April.

The last team to have two players do that in the same season was the 2002 Indians (Josh Bard and Bill Selby).

• The Twins won another one-run game on the road Monday, 2-1 over the Devil Rays. The Twins have now won their last seven road games decided by the minimum margin, tying the longest single-season streak of the last 22 years. Six other teams have won seven consecutive one-run road games over that time; the last team with a longer streak was the 1983 Reds (9 in a row).

• The Yankees overcame a four-run deficit in the eighth inning to defeat the Royals on Monday, 12-5. It was the eighth time this season that the Royals lost a game in which they led by at least four runs and the fifth time they've done that at home. The last team to lose five home games after leading by at least four was the 2002 Rangers (also 5). The 1999 Royals share the major league record in that category with the 1939 St. Louis Browns -- each lost eight home games after leading by at least four runs.

 Johnny Damon
• Johnny Damon hit a game-tying single with the bases full in the eighth inning, raising his career batting average with the bases loaded to .420, which is by far the highest among the 47 active players with at least 150 plate appearances with the bases loaded. Mike Piazza is next at .367.

• Geoff Jenkins had a hit in two at-bats against Greg Maddux Monday, raising his career average against the 300-game winner to .449 (22 for 49). That's easily the highest average by any of the 114 players with at least 40 at-bats vs. Maddux. Next-best is .429 by Tony Gwynn (39 for 91).

• Chuck James, who won Monday against the Mets, is 8-3 since June 25, when he was recalled from the minors. Even in this "Year of the Rookie Pitcher," James' eight wins are the most by any rookie over that span. Cole Hamels, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez, Jeremy Sowers, and Justin Verlander all have six wins since June 25.

• Barry Zito, who used to own the Rangers, was beat by Texas Monday, allowing seven runs in a loss, continuing a recent trend. In his first 17 starts against the Rangers (2000-03), Zito was 11-0 with a 2.40 ERA. In his last 13 starts vs. Texas, since the start of the 2004 season, Zito is 6-5 with a 5.59 ERA.

• Josh Barfield hit his first career game-ending home run and said afterwards, "Tonight I'm going to call my dad and give him a hard time. I think I've got one more walk-off to go to catch him." Not so fast there Junior. Jesse Barfield hit five career walk-off home runs, all between 1985 and 1991, tying him (with six other players) for the most in the major leagues over that time.

 Tiger Woods
• Tiger Woods won the Deutsche Bank Championship after starting Monday's final round three shots in back of third-round leader Vijay Singh. It marks the fourth time that Tiger has won on Tour while overcoming a three-or-more stroke deficit entering the final round. The other times: the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational (four back entering the final round), 1997 Mercedes Championships (four back) and 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (five back).

• Woods took over the tournament lead for good when he eagled the seventh hole. That put him at 6 under on the day. That matches the best seven-hole start in any round of his career. He played the first seven holes in the third round of the 2003 Western Open at 6 under.

• One has to feel bad for Vijay Singh. He had a thee-stroke lead entering the final round, shot a 68 (-3) and lost. Since 1980, that's only happened to two other golfers (entering the final round of a tournament with a three-or-more stroke lead, shooting 3-under-or-better in the final round and losing). Pete Jordan entered the final round of the 54-hole 1996 B.C. Open with a three stroke lead, shot 66 (-5) and lost in a playoff to Fred Funk who shot 63 (-8) in the final round. Mark Calcavecchia entered the final round of the 90-hole 1997 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with a three-stroke lead, shot 67 (-5) and lost to John Cook who shot 63 (-9) in the final round.