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Monday, April 16, 2007
Elias Says ...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider

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

MLB

Josh Beckett
Beckett
Josh Beckett on Monday afternoon became only the third starting pitcher in Red Sox history to begin a season by winning each of his first three outings, allowing no more than one run and striking out at least five batters in each of those three appearances. Babe Ruth did that for the Red Sox in 1916, and Roger Clemens did it in 1991.

Over the past 20 years, aside from Beckett and Clemens, only two other starting pitchers in the major leagues began a season with a trio of games like that: Pedro Martinez for the 1997 Expos and Kevin Tapani for the 2001 Cubs.

• The Angels, who tied a franchise record by beginning the season without allowing a run in the first inning in their first 12 games, surrendered six runs to the Red Sox in the opening frame on Monday and lost 7-2. Boston outscored Los Angeles 25-3 in the three-game sweep, the largest margin of victory for the Red Sox in a series of three or fewer games since they battered Tampa Bay 27-4 over three games in April 2001.

Ivan Rodriguez
Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez hit a grand slam in the first inning and a two-run double in the second inning leading the Tigers to a 12-5 win over the Royals. Since 1970, only two other catchers drove in six or more runs in the first two innings of a game: John Bateman for the 1970 Expos and Gary Carter for the 1986 Mets.

• The Orioles trailed the Devil Rays 7-1 in the sixth inning but rallied to win 9-7. Since 1990, Baltimore won only two other games in which it was behind by six or more runs in the sixth inning or later. Both of those victories were at Toronto -- one in July 1995 and the other in August 2002.

• The Brewers entered Monday night without a grand slam in their last 195 games (dating back to September 2005), which was the longest current drought for any team in the major leagues. Then Bill Hall homered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, helping Milwaukee to a 10-6 win over Cincinnati. The longest current streak without hitting a grand slam now belongs to Washington (118 straight games).

Matt Chico
Chico
• Washington's Matt Chico started and earned his first career victory in the Nationals' 5-1 triumph over Atlanta. Chico threw five innings, with no strikeouts and five walks. In the last 70 years, only two other starting pitchers picked up their first major league win, despite walking at least five and striking out nobody: Gil Rondon for the 1976 Astros and Jim Converse with the 1993 Mariners.

• The Cardinals lost to the Pirates 3-2 after Albert Pujols fouled out with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was the fifth time in his major league career that Pujols came to the plate with two out in the ninth with his team trailing and the tying run in scoring position. He has now been retired to end the game in four of those instances (he hit a game-winning two-run double in the other, on Sept. 12, 2006 vs. Houston).

Omar Vizquel
Vizquel
Omar Vizquel went 4-for-5 in the Giants' 8-0 win at Colorado. It was the 22nd four-hit game of Vizquel's major league career. His first was on July 18, 1991, when he went 5-for-5 for Seattle, at Milwaukee. Another player who is still active also had five hits for the Mariners in that 12-0 win over the Brewers: Ken Griffey was 5-for-6.

NHL

• Prior to Monday night's San Jose-Nashville game, the team leading after the first period in this year's NHL playoffs was 15-0 (with six additional games tied after the opening stanza). That streak ended when the Predators took a 1-0 lead after one period but lost the game 3-1.

Trent Hunter
Hunter
• The Islanders lost Game 3 of their series to the Sabres 3-2 though at least they ended their goal drought in home playoff games at 187:04 when Trent Hunter scored in the second period. This came one day after the Wild set the all-time NHL mark for home scoring futility in the postseason (216:50).

Hunter's drought-ending goal cut Buffalo's lead in the game to 2-1, but it turned out to be too little, too late for the Isles. The Sabres were a league-best 40-0-0 during the regular season in games in which they had a two-goal lead at any point during the game.

Martin Brodeur
Brodeur
Martin Brodeur and the Devils lost 3-2 at Tampa Bay in Game 3 of their series. Brodeur is 2-10 in his last 12 road playoff games. His only road playoff wins over that span came at Madison Square Garden in New Jersey's first-round sweep of the Rangers last year.

Vincent Lecavalier scored the first goal for Tampa Bay. He and Martin St. Louis have combined for six of Tampa Bay's nine goals in the 2007 playoffs. During the regular season those two accounted for 39 percent of the goals scored by the Lightning, the highest percentage for any two teammates in the league.

NBA

Shaquille O'Neal
O'Neal
Dwyane Wade
Wade
• The Celtics beat the Heat 91-89, holding Shaquille O'Neal to 14 points (in 25 minutes) and Dwyane Wade to eight points (in 24 minutes). It's the first game in their three seasons as teammates that Shaq and Wade each played more than 20 minutes and scored fewer than 15 points.

• With Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all taking the night off, Memphis beat San Antonio 101-91. It was the third game in NBA history in which a team 35 or more games below .500 beat a team 35 or more games above .500 by at least 10 points. Detroit (20-60) beat Boston (61-19) 115-90 in March 1981 and Dallas (11-69) beat Houston (58-22) 107-95 in April 1994.

Tracy McGrady
McGrady
Tracy McGrady had 39 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Rockets' victory over the Suns. No other player in Rockets history ever reached all three of those statistical levels in one game.

Richard Jefferson was 10-for-10 from the foul line but only 2-for-12 (.167) from the field in the Nets' victory over the Knicks. It was the 87th time this season that an NBA player shot 10-for-10 or better from the line, but Jefferson was the first to do it while converting fewer than 20 percent of his field-goal attempts.