Saturday, May 12, 2007
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
Answer: It's happened only twice previously. In 1989, Tom Chambers, Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle shared the team lead with 24 points in Phoenix's second-round win over Golden State; and back in the 1971 Western Conference finals, four Lakers scored 24 points apiece in a 118-107 win over Milwaukee: Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston and, of all people, Pat Riley!
• This was a neat one: The Nets' three stars -- Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Jason Kidd -- each finished with 23 points in New Jersey's 96-85 win over the Cavaliers. Which begs the question: Has there ever before been an NBA playoff game in which at least three players shared a team's scoring lead, with as many as 23 points apiece?
• Tim Duncan scored 33 points and collected 19 rebounds in the Spurs' 108-101 win over the Suns. That was Duncan's sixth consecutive playoff game with at least 20 points and double-digit rebounds; only once in his postseason career had he had such a streak: seven straight 20/10 games in the 2003 playoffs.
• A couple of streaks ended when the Senators' Joe Corvo scored the game-winner in the second overtime. It's the first time in 17 playoff series that Ottawa has taken a 2-0 lead. And Buffalo had not lost a game all season in which it had led by a margin of two goals (40-0 in the regular season in such games, 6-0 in the playoffs).
• Magglio Ordonez went 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs in Detroit's 8-2 win over the Twins in Minneapolis; included were RBI singles on each of his two at-bats against Sidney Ponson.
Those hits lifted Ordonez's career batting average against Ponson to .500 (16-for-32) -- his highest average against any of the 69 pitchers whom he has faced at least 20 times. Of course, if we lower the threshold to facing a pitcher just 15 times, then Ordonez's favorite victim has been Chad Durbin, against whom Magglio is batting .800 (12-for-15), the highest mark by any active major-league batter against a current big-league pitcher (minimum: 15 at-bats).
Oh, yes. Did we mention that Durbin, now Ordonez's teammate with the Tigers, was the winning pitcher in Saturday's game at the Metrodome? Small world!
• The Red Sox scored 13 runs on Saturday against the Orioles without hitting a home run. That's the most runs they've scored without a home run since a 13-7 win at Yankee Stadium on May 31, 1998, and it's the most they've scored at Fenway without a homer since a 15-1 win over the Rangers on May 29, 1993.
• The Red Sox had eight hits in 16 two-out at-batn Saturday, lifting their season two-out batting average to .296, highest in the American League. And Julio Lugo finally joined the party with three hits in four two-out at-bats; prior to Saturday's game, Lugo was batting .135 (5-for-37) when hitting with two out.
• J.J. Hardy took the laurels at Shea Stadium: His eighth-inning grand-slam home run broke open a tight game, propelled Milwaukee to a 12-3 victory, and gave him a share of the National League's home-run lead.
You have to go back to 1986 to find the last time that a shortstop had at least a share of the National League's home-run lead this late in a season. Hubie Brooks, then a shortstop with the Expos, had a piece of the lead as late as June 8 of that year. (Prior to Brooks, you go back to 1960, when Ernie Banks led the league with 41 round-trippers.
• Mike Pelfrey took the loss for the Mets on Saturday. Pelfrey is now 0-5 this season, while his teammates are 22-8.
How often do you see a combination like that? Not very often. The Mets rookie is only the third pitcher in big-league history to go winless in at least five decisions over the first 35 games of a season in which his team has played .600 ball. In 1977, Pittsburgh's Jerry Reuss started 0-5 while his teammates were 24-6; and in 1999, Houston's Chris Holt started 0-5 while other Astros pitchers were going 23-7.
• Frank Thomas' home run Saturday broke a 46 at-bat home-run drought, his longest within a single season since he went 50 at-bats without a home run in July 2003.
• Rookie Matt DeSalvo earned his first big-league win in his second start for the Yankees. The right-hander pitched seven strong innings, albeit without a strikeout, against Seattle last week, and followed up with 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, on Saturday night.
But DeSalvo does it with guile: He didn't record his first major league strikeout until he fanned Richie Sexson leading off the sixth inning Saturday. You have to go back nearly 30 years to find the last pitcher to break into the majors and pitch 12 innings before recording his initial strikeout: Mike Morgan recorded 53 outs (only one out shy of two regulation games) before his first strikeout while pitching for Oakland in 1979.
• Chris Rolfe scored again for the Fire on Saturday, giving him at least one goal or assist in each of the first six games of the season. Over the past nine MLS seasons (since 1999), only two other players have had a goal or assist in each of the first six games of the season, Clint Dempsey for the 2005 Revolution and Clint Mathis for the 2001 MetroStars.
Rolfe has scored a goal in four straight games, tying the longest streak in Chicago's MLS history. Ante Razov had goals in four consecutive games in 1998 and 2003; Damani Ralph scored in four in a row in 2003.
• Danny Dichio scored a goal and was red-carded before halftime of his second MLS game. Over the past five seasons (since 2003), only one other player has gotten a goal and a red card in the first half. Jason Kreis did it for Dallas against Kansas City on July 3, 2004.
• Tiger Woods was paired with Henrik Stenson during Saturday's third round of the Players Championship; Woods carded a 73 and Stenson a 66. The seven-stroke difference between Woods and Stenson ties the largest difference between Woods and his playing partner in a weekend round of a PGA Tour event since the start of the 2002 season. Ironically, the other occurrence also came at the Players: in the final round of 2004, Woods was paired with Padraig Harrington, Woods shooting a 73 and Harrington a 66.
• Peter Lonard recorded a double eagle on the par-five 532-yard second hole at Sawgrass during the third round of the Players Championship, the second double eagle recorded this week at the Players; Hunter Mahan carded one yesterday. Over the past 25 years on the PGA Tour, only four other events have seen more than one player record a double eagle: the 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas (Marco Dawson and Bill Glasson), 2005 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (Tim Petrovic and Tag Ridings), the 2001 British Open (Jeff Maggert and Greg Owen) and the 1988 Provident Classic (Jim Booros and Ron Streck).