Date: April 7, 2009

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

MLB

METS EXTEND THEIR HISTORIC OPENING-DAY RUN

The Mets defeated the Reds, 2-1, for their 31st victory in their last 40 season openers. The Mets are the first team in major-league history to win more than 30 opening-day games over a span of 40 seasons. (Prior to that streak, the Mets had an 08 record on opening day.)

New York Mets

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Santana

FINALLY, SANTANA GETS SOME RELIEF

The Mets' bullpen pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings to preserve a one-run lead for Johan Santana in the Mets' 2-1 victory at Cincinnati. Last season, Mets relievers blew a major-league-high seven potential wins for Santana, who had won just one game in each of the last three seasons in which he pitched less than six innings.

New York Mets

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Lee

CY YOUNG WINNER LEE BLASTED BY RANGERS

Cliff Lee allowed seven runs in five innings in the Indians' 9-1 loss to the Rangers. Only three other reigning Cy Young Award winners allowed as many as seven runs in their first start of a season: Roy Halladay (2004), Roger Clemens (2002), and Mike Flanagan (1980) .

Cleveland Indians

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Sabathia

SABATHIA SPUTTERS IN HIS YANKEES DEBUT

CC Sabathia issued five walks without a strikeout over 4 1/3 innings in the Yankees' 10-5 loss to the Orioles. Sabathia was the first Yankees pitcher in the live-ball era not to strike out a batter in an opening-day start. The only previous opening-day starter without a strikeout for the Yankees was George Mogridge in 1918 (3 2/3 innings).

It was the largest walk-to-strikeout disparity in any of Sabathia's 255 major-league appearances (all starts). In fact, Sabathia hadn't walked as many as five batters between strikeouts since August 16-22, 2004.

New York Yankees

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Jones

JONES HAS A PERFECT DAY IN O'S SEASON-OPENING WIN

Adam Jones went 3-for-3 with two walks in the Orioles' win, becoming the first O's player ever to bat at least five times and reach base safely every time in a season opener. Harlond Clift did it in 1937 for the St. Louis Browns, the Orioles' predecessor.

Baltimore Orioles

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Lopez

THE FELIPE LOPEZ ERA STARTS WITH A BANG

Felipe Lopez, the Diamondbacks' new second baseman, led off the bottom of the first with a home run. The last player to hit a first-inning leadoff homer in his first at-bat for a new team was Kaz Matsui as a rookie for the Mets in 2004.

Arizona Diamondbacks

22 WINS PLUS 16 WINS EQUALS 17 RUNS PLUS EIGHT HOMERS

The total of eight home runs in the Diamondbacks' 9-8 victory over the Rockies equaled the major-league record for an opening-day game. The record was set by the Rockies and Padres in 2005. Not exactly what we expected from what is scheduled to be the only 2009 opener between pitchers who both won at least 15 games in 2008: Brandon Webb (22-7) against Aaron Cook (16-9).

The D-backs scored in each of their first five innings of the season. Over the last 75 years, the only other teams to do so were the Blue Jays and Angels, both in 1977. (That was the first game in Jays history.)

Arizona Diamondbacks

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Clark

LOPEZ & CLARK BOTH HOMER FROM THE LEFT AND RIGHT

Felipe Lopez and Tony Clark became only the second pair of teammates in major-league history each to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada did it for the Yankees in 2000.

Lopez and Clark were the first teammates each to hit two home runs in an opening-day game since two pairs of mates did it in 2000: Shannon Stewart and Tony Batista of the Blue Jays, and Ivan Rodriguez and Gabe Kapler of the Rangers.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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Griffey Jr.

GRIFFEY RETURNS TO SEATTLE, REGAINS HIS OPENING-DAY SUCCESS

Ken Griffey's home run in the Mariners' 6-1 win at the Metrodome was his eighth in 12 season openers for the Mariners, tying Frank Robinson for the most opening-day homers in major-league history. Griffey played eight opening days for the Reds without hitting a home run.

Fun fact: Every player with at least 400 career homers hit at least one in a season opener. The most career home runs by player who never hit one on opening day is 389 by Johnny Bench.

Seattle Mariners

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Guerrero

GUERRERO SETS RECORD FOR CAREER RBI'S IN SEASON OPENERS

Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Angels' 3-0 win over the A's, and it was the RBI that made history. It was Guerrero's 19th RBI in an opening-day game, breaking a tie with Frank Robinson and Jeff Kent to set an all-time MLB record.

Anaheim Angels

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Zambrano

ZAMBRANO FOLLOWS NO-HITTER WITH OPENING-DAY WIN OVER 'STROS

Carlos Zambrano allowed one run over six innings in the Cubs' 4-2 victory at Houston. Zambrano became the 10th pitcher to start an opening-day game versus a team against which he pitched a no-hitter in the previous season. The last was Jim Bibby of the Rangers against the A's in 1974. Cy Young did it twice-against the Reds in 1898 and the Athletics in 1905.

Chicago Cubs

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Verlander

VERLANDER ROUGHED UP BY JAYS

Justin Verlander allowed eight runs in three-and-two-thirds innings in the Tigers' 12-5 loss at Toronto. That was the most runs allowed by a Tigers starter in a season opener in 99 years-since George Mullin yielded nine runs in a complete-game loss to the Indians in 1910.

Detroit Tigers

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Bonifacio

BONIFACIO'S 1ST HOME RUN DOESN'T LEAVE THE PARK

Emilio Bonifacio was the first player to hit an inside-the-park home on opening day since Carl Yastrzemski did it at Tiger Stadium in 1968. Prior to Bonifacio, the last player whose first career home run was hit inside the park was Cesar Izturis in 2001.

Florida Marlins

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Motte

ROOKIE MOTTE BLOWS 2-RUN LEAD IN CARDINALS' LOSS

Jason Motte blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning in the Cardinals' 6-4 loss to the Pirates. Motte, entrusted with the lead by the unconventional Tony LaRussa, was the first rookie to blow a save in the ninth inning or later on opening day since 1994, when Kevin King of the Mariners did so in a 4-3 loss to the Indians. In fact, only one rookie recorded an opening-day save since then: Mike MacDougal of the Royals in 2003.

St. Louis Cardinals

PIRATES POST A RARE, OPENING-DAY, COME-FROM-BEHIND WIN

The Pirates were only the second National League team since the league's 1962 expansion to win its season opener on the road after trailing by two or more runs in the ninth inning. The Cubs did it at Atlanta in 1988.

Pittsburgh Pirates

TORRE SURPASSES LaRUSSA WITH 17TH OPENING-DAY WIN

The Dodgers defeated the Padres, 4-1, for the 17th opening-day win of Joe Torre's managerial career (17-9). Torre moved past Tony LaRussa into sole possession of third place in MLB history, behind Connie Mack (24-28) and John McGraw (18-15).

Los Angeles Dodgers

NHL

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Hossa

HOSSA HITS THE BIG FOUR-OH FOR WINGS

Marian Hossa, who signed with the Red Wings as a free agent last summer, scored his 39th and 40th goals of the season in Detroit's 4-1 win at Buffalo. Hossa is the fourth player to score 40 or more goals in his first season with the Wings. The other players to do that were Danny Grant (50 goals in 1974-1975), Dino Ciccarelli (41 in 1992-1993), and Brendan Shanahan (46 in 1996-1997).

Hossa also became the eighth player to score 40 or more goals in a season for three different NHL clubs. The last player to do so was Alexander Mogilny.

Detroit Red Wings

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Heatley

HEATLEY TORCHES CANADIENS AGAIN

Dany Heatley scored two goals 38 seconds apart in the Senators' 3-2 come-from-behind win at Montreal. It was the first time in Heatley's career that he scored a pair of goals in less than 60 seconds, and it was the third time this season that he recorded a multiple-goal game against the Canadiens.

Since the 1967 expansion, the only other players with three or more multiple-goal games versus Montreal in one season were Phil Esposito (3 in 1968-1969), Vic Hadfield (4 in 1971-1972), Cam Neely (3 in 1989-1990), and Pat LaFontaine (3 in 1995-1996).

Ottawa Senators

NCAA Men's Basketball

NORTH CAROLINA MAINTAINS TOURNAMENT MASTERY OVER MICHIGAN ST.

North Carolina improved its record to 5-0 against Michigan State in the NCAA tournament with a 89-72 victory in the 2009 championship game. Three other teams played an NCAA final with multiple wins and no defeats against its opponent in previous NCAA play, and all of them lost: Duke against Connecticut (1999), Utah against Kentucky (1998), and UCLA against Louisville (1980). All were 3-0 against their opponent.

North Carolina Tar Heels

LAWSON, ELLINGTON AND HANSBROUGH TIE AN ALL-TIME RECORD

Ty Lawson (21), Wayne Ellington (19) and Tyler Hansbrough (18) provided balanced scoring in UNC's victory over Michigan State. It was the sixth NCAA tournament game, spanning 2008 and 2009, in which each of those players scored at least 15 points. The only other trio of teammates who scored at least 15 points each in THE SAME five tournament games was Mark Aguirre, Gary Garland and Curtis Watkins of DePaul, all in 1979.

North Carolina Tar Heels


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