Thursday, September 14, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• It didn't take long for Derek Jeter to extend his hitting streak to 23 games -- he slapped a single in the first inning. Jeter has now reached base in the first inning in each of his last six games, tying the longest such streak of his career (he also did that in September 2005). The only major-league players with longer streaks this season are Rickie Weeks, Jose Reyes and Julio Lugo, who each reached base safely in the first inning in seven consecutive games.
• Rocco Baldelli tripled in the first inning, hit a home run in the third inning and then homered again in the fifth inning against the Yankees on Thursday night. The last visiting player to hit a home run or a triple in each of his first three plate appearances of a game at Yankee Stadium was Bo Jackson. On July 17, 1990, Jackson, playing for the Royals, homered in each of his first three trips to the plate in a 10-7 win for Kansas City in the Bronx.
• Matt Cain threw eight shutout innings in the Giants' 5-0 win against Colorado. He has now allowed no more than one run in each of his last six starts. In the last 50 seasons only one other rookie pitcher had a streak of at least that length. Fernando Valenzuela surrendered one or no runs in seven consecutive starts in 1981. Those were his first seven starts of that season and he pitched nine innings in each of them!
• Atlanta rookie Martin Prado's three-run home run off 43-year-old Jamie Moyer was the difference in the Braves' 4-1 win. It was the first home run of Prado's big-league career. In the past 10 years, only one other player's first career round-tripper came off a pitcher as old as Moyer. In June 2001, Junior Spivey hit his first major-league homer against 44-year old Jesse Orosco.
• Braves rookie Chuck James threw seven scoreless innings to earn the win against Philadelphia. James made his first major-league start on June 25 and he is 10-3 with a 3.45 ERA since then. The only other major-league pitchers with at least 10 wins since June 25 are Jon Garland (11) and Johan Santana (10).
• Kevin Youkilis led off the game with a long shot off Adam Loewen that Terry Francona argued should have been a home run, but was ruled a double. Youkilis came around to score, but a significant streak remained intact. Loewen did not allow a home run on Thursday night and he has now not thrown a gopher ball in any of the last 212 at-bats against him, the longest current streak for any pitcher in the majors. The last home run off Loewen was a grand slam by Tampa Bay's Jorge Cantu on July 21.
• The Rangers mustered only one run and five hits in their 2-1 loss to the Angels, and Hank Blalock's slump continued with an 0-for-3 night. Blalock is batting .127 (7-for-55) since Aug. 30, the second-lowest average in the majors among players with at least 40 at-bats during that period. Sean Casey is 5-for-45 (.111) over that span.
• Mike Cameron's two-run single on a 3-2 pitch broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning and ignited the Padres to a 4-2 win over the Reds. Cameron entered that at-bat hitting only .216 (16-for-74) this season with the count full.
• There were no home runs hit in the San Diego-Cincinnati game, the third time in the last 10 days that's happened in a game at the Great American Ballpark. Entering that stretch there were only two games without a home run in that park this season.
• Aramis Ramirez's three-run homer in the seventh inning with the Cubs trailing 5-3 lifted Chicago to a 6-5 victory over the Dodgers and gave Ramirez 100 RBI this season. Ramirez had only 25 runs batted in through the end of May, to rank tied for 57th in the National League at that point. But his 75 runs batted in since June 1 are tied for fifth-most in the NL, behind Ryan Howard, Garrett Atkins, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman.
• The Indians used nine pitchers in their 9-4 loss to Minnesota, one shy of the major-league record for a nine-inning game (10 by the Orioles on Sept. 12, 2004, against the Yankees). Cleveland's hurlers threw 218 pitches, the third-most in any nine-inning American League game this season.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks notified Luis Gonzalez on Thursday that they do not plan to bring him back next season. Gonzalez, 39, has appeared in 139 games this season. He's the second-oldest individual in the major leagues who has played in at least 130 games in 2006. Omar Vizquel, four months older than Gonzalez, played in his 140th game on Thursday afternoon.
• Willie Roaf made it official Thursday, announcing his retirement from the National Football League. Roaf's career was marked by great individual acclaim, but relatively little team success. He was chosen to play in 11 Pro Bowls, but he appeared in only three postseason games. Among the 16 players who earned at least 10 selections to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Roaf's three postseason games are the fewest.
• Thompson played 10 holes under-par -- his personal best in a round on the PGA Tour, eclipsing the eight holes under-par he recorded earlier this year during the fourth round of the B.C. Open presented by Turning Stone Resort.
• Nicholas Thompson shot a 64 on Thursday at the 84 Lumber Classic, becoming the first tour rookie this season to hold the outright lead after the first round of any tour event. The last tour rookie to hold an outright lead after the first day was Nick Watney at the 2005 Buick Open last July. Since 1980, a rookie has held an outright lead after the first round 44 times. Eight of those players went on to win the event, most recently Retief Goosen at the 2001 U.S. Open.