Sunday, September 24, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• David Ortiz's home run at Rogers Centre on Sunday was his 32nd homer on the road this year, tying the American League single-season record set by Babe Ruth in 1927. Two NL players have reached that level: Barry Bonds, who holds the major-league mark with 36 road homers in 2001, and Mark McGwire, who hit 32 in 1998. Ortiz, who has eight home runs in his last 12 games at Rogers Centre, can break the AL record Monday in Toronto, when the Red Sox play their final road game of the year.
• Trevor Hoffman earned the 479th save of his career to pass Lee Smith as the all-time leader in that category. Smith had held a share of that mark since April 8, 1993; on that date, Smith notched career save No. 357, tying Jeff Reardon for the lead.
• Moises Alou's second-inning double in the Giants' loss at Milwaukee was the 2,000th hit of his major-league career. Moises and Felipe Alou are two of 244 players to reach that milestone; Ken Griffey Jr. is the only other player to join his father in that fraternity.
• The Tigers clinched their first playoff berth since 1987 with an 11-4 win over the Royals. Three MLB franchises have a longer current postseason drought than Detroit: the Expos/Nationals (who last played a postseason game in 1981), Brewers (1982) and Royals (1985).
• Minnesota kept pace with Detroit in the AL Central as six relievers combined to shut down the Orioles over the final 3 2/3 innings in the Twins' 6-3 victory. Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch his 35th save of the year. Nathan has retired every batter he faced in 21 of his saves this season, the most "perfect saves" in the majors -- two more than J.J. Putz and Jonathan Papelbon (19 each).
• The Reds beat the Cubs in walk-off fashion when Royce Clayton delivered the winning run with a pinch-hit single on the 11th pitch of his at-bat against Scott Eyre. It was the longest plate appearance (in terms of the number of pitches) that resulted in a game-ending hit since May 11, 2005, when Derrek Lee smacked a walk-off homer on the 11th pitch from the Mets' Heath Bell to give the Cubs a 4-3 victory in 10 innings.
• Grady Sizemore hit a pair of four-baggers, including an inside-the-park homer, as the Indians defeated the Rangers on Sunday. Sizemore is the second player this month to hit both an inside-the-park and out-of-the-park homer in the same game. Nelson Cruz did it for the Rangers on Sept. 4, but no player had done it prior to that since Carlos Guillen on May 31, 2004.
• The Phillies' victory over the Marlins on Sunday featured nine home runs. Hanley Ramirez set the tone, homering to lead off the first inning for the sixth time this season, breaking the NL record for rookies that he shared with Chili Davis (1982 Giants) and Kaz Matsui (2004 Mets). Nomar Garciaparra holds the major league mark; he homered to lead off the first inning seven times as a rookie in 1997.
• The Devil Rays defeated the Yankees, 11-4, on the strength of two big innings: they scored six runs in the fourth frame and another five runs in the sixth. Tampa Bay has scored at least five runs in an inning only eight times this season (the fewest for any team in the majors), but Sunday marked the second time this year that the Devil Rays had two such innings in one game! The other was a 14-7 win over the Orioles, also at Tropicana Field, on July 21. Prior to that, Tampa Bay had scored five-or-more runs in an inning twice in the same game only three times in its history (once each in 1998, 2000 and 2003).
• Ryan Zimmerman drove in his 101st run of the season as the Nationals defeated the Mets. Zimmerman became only the fourth player in the last 41 years (since 1966) to appear in at least 150 games at third base in his rookie season, joining Coco Laboy (1969 Expos), Scott Rolen (1997 Phillies) and Ty Wigginton (2003 Mets). Over the four seasons immediately preceding that stretch (1962-1965), six different rookies played 150-or-more games at the hot corner: Rich Rollins (1962 Twins), Max Alvis (1963 Indians), Bob Bailey (1963 Pirates), Pete Ward (1963 White Sox), Dick Allen (then known as Richie, 1964 Phillies) and Paul Schaal (1965 Angels).
• The Braves suffered a 9-8 loss at Colorado after scoring five first-inning runs and building a 7-0 lead through the top of the fourth inning. It was the second loss this season for the Braves in a game in which they scored at least five runs in the top of the first inning. Over the previous 40 seasons since the club relocated to Atlanta (1966-2005), the Braves lost one game under those circumstances (April 18, 1993 at San Francisco). It was only the third time under Bobby Cox that Atlanta lost a game in which it led by at least seven runs.
• Brett Favre threw three touchdown passes in the Packers' 31-24 victory at Detroit. Favre's first TD pass of the day -- a 75-yarder to Greg Jennings -- was not only the 400th of his career but also Favre's 10th of 75 or more yards. That tied the all-time NFL record for TD passes of 75-plus yards, shared by George Blanda, Ed Brown, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen, and Norm Snead.
• Mark Brunell completed his first 22 passes in the Redskins' 31-15 win at Houston, the longest streak in a single game in NFL history. The previous record was 21 consecutive completions, set by Rich Gannon against the Broncos on Monday Night Football in 2002.
• Kurt Warner reached the 20,000-yard mark in the Cardinals' 16-14 loss to the Rams. It was Warner's 76th regular-season game. The only player to reach the 20,000-yard mark in fewer games than Warner was Dan Marino -- and just barely (74 games).
• Peyton Manning completed only 14 of 31 passes in the Colts' 21-14 win over the Jaguars, the lowest completion percentage in any of his 131 regular-season games (45.2 percent). Manning's previous low was 45.5 percent (20-for-44) against the Jets in 1998.
• The Bills lost to the Jets, 28-20, despite 328 yards passing by J.P. Losman and 150 yards rushing by Willis McGahee. Buffalo was the first home team in NFL history to lose a game in which it had players with at least 300 yards passing and 150 yards rushing. Six road teams have done so.
• John Kasay kicked field goals of 51, 50, 49, and 46 yards in the Panthers' 26-24 win over the Bucs, to become the first player ever to kick four FGs longer than 45 yards in an NFL game.
• T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught a pair of touchdown passes 54 seconds apart in the fourth quarter of the Bengals' 28-20 win at Pittsburgh. The only other Bengals player ever to score two TDs within 60 seconds was Lemar Parrish, who did it on a pair of interception returns against the Houston Oilers in 1972.