Friday, September 15, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
½A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• History was made at Dodger Stadium on Friday night when Greg Maddux opposed David Wells in the first matchup in major-league history of starting pitchers, both 20-year veterans, who had never before started against each other.
Maddux was credited with a 3-1 victory and pitched no-hit ball until Brian Giles lined a single with one out in the seventh inning. Recall that on Aug. 3 at Cincinnati, Maddux threw six hitless innings before being removed from the game following a rain delay. Only two other starting pitchers have twice completed the first six innings in hitless fashion this season: Carlos Zambrano (May 26 and June 5) and Randy Johnson (Aug. 9 and Sept. 6).
• J.D. Drew drove in the Dodgers' first run with a fourth-inning double and he came around to score on Julio Lugo's single. In 13 previous games vs. San Diego this season, Drew had batted .114 (5-for-44).
• The Phillies defeated the Astros 4-3 in a game that had thrills from the first inning to the ninth. In the first, with two outs, Roger Clemens issued three walks before Pat Burrell connected for a grand slam. Of the 121 grand slams in the majors this season, this was the first one allowed by a pitcher who had walked the three men driven in by the slam.
• The Phillies survived a wild ninth inning that included errors by Ryan Howard and Jeff Conine that helped load the bases with one out. It was only the second time in the last 30 seasons that a major-league team has won a game in which it took a one-run lead to the bottom of the ninth, let two runners reach base on errors, but held on to the lead (the Marlins beat the Cubs using that formula, 1-0, in 1997).
• This is hard to believe, but when Tom Gordon induced Humberto Quintero to bounce into a game-ending double play with the tying run on third base, it extended the Astros' futility in such situations. Remarkably, in a season in which it seems that there are walk-off hits every night, the Astros are the only major league team that has not produced a single one.
The Astros' three walk-off wins have come via two sacrifice flies and an infield groundout.
• Ryan Garko hit a first-inning, two-run homer off Johan Santana, and his 10th-inning ground ball produced the game-winning RBI in the Indians' 5-4 win over the Twins. Garko was the first rookie to hit a home run off the Minnesota ace this season; entering the game, rookies had been batting .148, with 27 strikeouts in 61 at-bats, against Santana.
• The Tigers doubled their division lead over the Twins from one game to two by drubbing the Orioles 17-2. It was the most lopsided victory by Detroit over the Orioles, or their predecessors, the St. Louis Browns, since the first game of a doubleheader at Navin Field on Aug. 14, 1937, when the Tigers defeated the Browns 16-1. Detroit pitcher Eldon Auker, who died earlier this year at age 95, threw a four-hitter and belted a couple of home runs in that game.
Oh, yes, in the second game of that twin bill, the Tigers beat the Browns 20-7. (It would have been 20-1, but the Browns scored six runs in the ninth.)
• Vladimir Guerrero's 11th-inning homer provided the winning run in the Angels' 2-1 win over the Rangers. Guerrero went 2-for-5 in the game, lowering his career batting average vs. Texas to .433; it's the highest career batting average by any active player against any opposing team (minimum: 100 at-bats).
• Bronson Arroyo is trying to keep the Reds in the wild-card race almost single-handedly. Over the Reds' last 21 games, their starting pitcher has been a winner just five times, and four of those wins belong to Arroyo. He blanked the Cubs for eight innings Friday en route to a 4-0 win for his fourth win in his last four starts -- but that actually understates how well he has been pitching.
In each of his last four starts, Arroyo has gone at least seven innings, allowed no more than two runs, allowed no more than four hits, and has not allowed a home run. That replicates a current streak by San Francisco's Matt Cain, currently working on a run of four starts of that sort.
Over the past 10 years, only two other major-league pitchers -- both future Hall-of-Famers -- have strung together four successive starts of that nature: winning each one, allowing no more than four hits and no more than two runs, without allowing a home run. Roger Clemens did that with Toronto in 1998, and Pedro Martinez did it with Boston in 2002.
• The Mets' plans to clinch the division title on the field on Friday fell apart as they lost to the Pirates and left-hander Paul Maholm 5-3. Mets fans were left to chew on two disappointments: 1) Pedro Martinez allowed four runs in three innings in his first appearance in 32 days and just his fifth in 79 days; 2) the team's record fell to 3-10 against left-handed pitchers of decision since July 31, the day that right-handed hitting right fielder Xavier Nady was traded to Pittsburgh.
• Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-4 in the Marlins' 6-2 victory in Atlanta, and he took a .342 to .340 lead over Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez (1-for-3 on Friday) in the National League batting race. It's only the second day since the All-Star break that Sanchez has been out of the lead; Cabrera moved into the lead for one day on Monday.
• Dan Uggla's 25th home run of the season made Florida just the second team in big-league history to have a pair of rookies hit that many homers; Josh Willingham has also connected 25 times. The other team that did it: Al Rosen (37) and Luke Easter (28) for the Indians in 1950.
• Chris Duncan hit two home runs Friday, giving him 18 this season including 15 since the All-Star break. The only other rookie in Cardinals history who hit as many as 15 homers after the break was Albert Pujols, who had 16 in 2001.
• Esteban Loaiza has been tough to beat pitching at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland. His 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Friday made it five wins in his five starts at home since the start of August.
• Oops, they did it again. The Royals led 5-0 after one inning, but the visiting Mariners wound up winning 11-8. Back on May 25, the Royals lost at home, 13-8, to the Tigers after leading 6-0 after the first inning; and on Aug. 23, Kansas City fans were shocked to see the Royals lose to the Indians, 15-13, after holding a 10-1 lead after the first inning.
The Royals became the first team in major-league history to lose three home games in one season in which they led by five or more runs after the first inning.