Special to ESPN.com
LIONS GET A WIN, BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The Detroit Lions won their preseason debut tonight, beating Atlanta 27-26 on Jason Hanson's 47 yard field goal as time expired. But Detroit fans should avoid putting too much stock in this victory - after all, the Lions were 4-0 in the preseason last year, before becoming the first NFL team to go 0-16 in a regular season.
BROWNS SHUT OUT AGAIN
The Cleveland Browns were shut out by Green Bay 17-0 in their preseason opener tonight, and Cleveland fans are getting used to seeing goose eggs on the scoreboard for the Browns. Since the Browns began play in 1999 after their hiatus from the league, they have been shut out eleven times in the regular season, most in the NFL over that span. (The Bengals and Dolphins are next, each having been shut out seven times.) Moreover, the Browns were shut out in their last two games of 2008 - a 14-0 home loss to the Bengals in week 16, and a 31-0 laugher at the hands of the Steelers in week 17.
JETER SETS ALL-TIME MARK FOR SHORTSTOPS
Derek Jeter had three hits in the Yankees' loss at Seattle to pass Luis Aparicio (2673) as the all-time leader in hits as a shortstop (2675). Of course, some major-leaguers who played the majority of their careers at shortstop accumulated more total hits than Jeter, most notably Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken, Robin Yount and Luke Appling, but each collected a significant amount of their hits while playing other positions. All but 13 of Jeter's career hits have come as a shortstop. Aparicio had only four hits that weren't registered while playing that position.
LUCKY 13 FOR THE ANGELS
The Angels scored nine runs in the 13th inning to defeat the Orioles, 17-8. It was only the fourth game in major-league history that went at least 13 innings and was decided by a margin of nine or more runs. The others were in 1919 (Cincinnati over Brooklyn, 10-0 in 13 innings), 1933 (Cleveland over Detroit, 15-6 in 13 innings) and 1983 (Texas over Oakland, 16-4 in 15 innings).
WOLF FLIRTS WITH CYCLE
Randy Wolf had a homer, double, single and three RBIs on Sunday to beat the Diamondbacks. Wolf was the second pitcher to come up one hit shy of a cycle this season. Carlos Zambrano had a home run, double and single at Arizona on April 28. Wolf was the third Dodgers pitcher to do so since the club moved to Los Angeles, joining Claude Osteen (1970) and Kevin Brown (2002).2002
SECOND PINCH-HIT GRAND SLAM FOR ZAUN
Gregg Zaun's pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning was the decisive blow in the Rays' 5-2 win over the Blue Jays. It was the second pinch-hit slam of Zaun's career (the other was a walk-off for the Astros in 2002 off Arizona's Byung-Hyun Kim), the most among active players and one shy of the all-time record shared by Ron Northey, Willie McCovey, Rich Reese and Ben Broussard.
CASTILLO ENDS HOMER DROUGHT
Luis Castillo's first home run of the season in the fifth inning of New York's win over the Giants was the first homer by a Mets second baseman this season. Entering play Sunday, Mets second basemen were the only group of players at any position on any major-league team (excluding pitchers and National League designated hitters) without a home run this year. Castillo snapped a personal streak of 475 at-bats without a home run, which was the second-longest among current major-leaguers, behind Reggie Willits, who is homerless in 651 career at-bats.
BULLPEN BLOWS ANOTHER WIN FOR LOOPER
Braden Looper handed a 5-4 seventh-inning lead to the bullpen, but the Astros rallied against Brewers relievers to post an 8-5 win at Milwaukee. It was the fifth time this season that relievers relinquished a lead in a game in which Looper was in line for a victory. The only starting pitchers in the majors with more blown wins this season than Looper are Randy Wolf (7), Gavin Floyd (6) and Looper's mound opponent on Sunday, Roy Oswalt (6).6
JENKS ALLOWS WALK-OFF HOMER FOR THE FIRST TIME
Mark Ellis capped the Athletics' come-from-behind win over the White Sox with a game-ending home run off Bobby Jenks. Jenks, who has 141 career saves, had never allowed a walk-off homer before Sunday. Only three pitchers have as many saves as Jenks without ever allowing a game-ending home run: Eric Gagne (187 saves), John Smoltz (154) and Jonathan Papelbon (141).141
ZIMMERMAN SPARKS LATE-INNING COMEBACK
Ryan Zimmerman drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning to give the Nationals a 5-4 lead that stood up as the final score at Cincinnati. Entering the game, the Reds were 21-1 in home games in which they led at the end of the seventh inning and the Nationals were 1-35 on the road when trailing entering the eighth inning.
BACK-TO-BACK HOMERS FOR CLEVELAND
Kelly Shoppach and Luis Valbuena began a six-run third inning for the Indians with consecutive home runs to spark a 7-4 win at Minnesota. Cleveland ranks 14th in the major leagues with 127 home runs this season, but only the Yankees (13) have hit more pairs of back-to-back homers than the Tribe (nine).
MARLINS EXTEND DOUBLE-DIGIT HIT STREAK
The Marlins pounded out 17 hits in the first game of their doubleheader against the Rockies and they collected another 13 hits in the nightcap. Florida has had at least ten hits in each of its last 13 games, the longest such streak for any major-league team since the 1999 Red Sox (also 13 games) and the longest for a National League team since the 1929 New York Giants (15 games).
RABURN MISCUES LEAD TO TIGERS LOSS
Ryan Raburn committed three errors, including two on separate plays in the tenth inning, to gift wrap a 3-2 win for the Royals at Detroit. Raburn, who made two errors in the sixth inning of a game on July 26, was the first player to be charged with two errors during an extra inning of a game since Melvin Mora did so more than a year ago (11th inning on May 27, 2008).
RASMUS SINKS PADRES WITH A WALK-OFF HOME RUN
Colby Rasmus hit a two-run walk-off homer off Heath Bell to cap a three-run ninth inning and give the Cardinals a 7-5 win over the Padres. Rasmus was the sixth Cardinals player to hit a game-ending home run against the Padres, joining Carl Taylor (1970), Chris Speier (1984), Gary Gaetti (1996), Albert Pujols (2003) and Aaron Miles (2008).2008
RANGERS LEAD AL WILD CARD RACE
The Rangers beat the Red Sox for the second straight day to move past Boston into first place in the American League Wild Card race. Texas hadn't held outright possession of a playoff spot ("if the season ended today") this late in a season since winning the division title in 1999 under Johnny Oates.
KENNEDY 5 HITS
FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: You can't blame Adam Kennedy for Oakland¿s 8-1 loss to the White Sox on Saturday. Kennedy went 5-5, a rarity for a player whose team scores 1 run or less. The last player to go 5-for-5 in a game in which his team scored no more than one run was Hall-of-Famer Joe Cronin for the Red Sox in a 2-1, 11-inning loss at Cleveland on July 13, 1941. The last player with five hits (regardless of number of at bats) in a nine-inning game in which his team scored one run or less was another Hall-of-Famer, Joe Medwick, who had five hits in as many at bats for the Cardinals on June 4, 1940 vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers.
KAZMIR VS AL EAST
FROM THE ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU: Scott Kazmir pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs as the Rays beat Toronto Saturday night. Kazmir must realize how important divisional games are this season. In games against the AL East this season, Kazmir is 5-1 in seven starts with a 4.95 ERA. In all other games in 2009, Kazmir is 2-6 in 11 starts with a 7.50 ERA.
RED SOX ALLOW EIGHT STOLEN BASES FOR SECOND TIME THIS SEASON
The Texas Rangers had 8 stolen bases in their 7-2 win over the Red Sox. There have been three games this season where a team stole eight bases - and two of them have come against Boston. Boston also allowed eight stolen bases on May 3 vs. Tampa Bay. (The other team to allow eight steals was San Diego - the Rockies had eight steals on April 27.) The Red Sox are the first team to give up eight or more stolen bases in a game twice in the same season since the 1976 Twins, who gave up nine to Oakland on May 17, and 12 to Oakland again on August 1 - and both of those games went to extra innings! Conversely, the Boston opponents this season only batted in eight innings in each of the games this season where they had eight steals (both teams won home games without batting in the ninth).
SANTANA'S RECENT TREND OF FIVE HIT INNINGS
Johan Santana allowed five hits in the top of the sixth, giving up three runs in the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Giants. It was the fourth time in the last two calendar years that Santana had given up five or more hits in an inning, dating back to August 29, 2007, when he allowed six in one inning while with the Twins. Prior to that, he had not allowed five or more hits in an inning in the previous five years, dating back to July 23, 2002.
EXTRA INNING LONG BALLS BURN METS
Francisco Rodriguez gave up a home run to Bengie Molina leading off the tenth inning this afternoon, which proved to be the winning run in the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Giants. Extra inning home runs have been nothing but trouble for the Mets this season. Molina's HR was the fifth home run in 58 extra inning at bats against the New York pitching staff. The only other team to allow that many homers in extra innings this season is Oakland, who has allowed five in almost twice as many at bats (99). Compounding the problem for the Mets is the fact that they are one of only four teams without an extra inning home run, along with the Reds, Rockies and Brewers. Among those four teams, only the Reds (89) have more extra inning at bats than the Mets (58).
GORZELANNY STELLAR IN FIRST GAME AGAINST FORMER TEAM
Tom Gorzelanny, traded by the Pirates to the Cubs before the trade deadline, struck out eight batters in five innings, earning the win in the Cubs' 3-1 win over the Bucs at Wrigley Field. Since 1900, only four other former Pirates have earned a win and struck out eight or more in their first appearance against Pittsburgh: Denny Neagle, 1997 Braves (9 strikeouts); Jon Lieber, 1999 Cubs (10); Steve Parris, 1999 Reds (8); Jason Schmidt, 2001 Giants (8). In 22 previous career starts of five innings or less, Gorzelanny had never struck out more than six batters.
FLOYD HAPPY TO FACE A'S
Gavin Floyd allowed one run in seven innings in an 8-1 White Sox win over Oakland. In four career starts against the Athletics, Floyd has allowed only four earned runs in 27 innings, for an ERA of 1.33. Among all pitchers with four or more starts against Oakland who started their careers in 1968 or later (the year the A's began playing in Oakland), the only pitcher with a better ERA in starts is Tim Lincecum - four earned runs in 29 1/3 IP, for a 1.23 ERA.
KENNEDY FIVE HITS, DESPITE ONE RUN FOR TEAM.
You can't blame Adam Kennedy for Oakland's loss to the White Sox. Kennedy went 5-5, a rarity for a player whose team scores 1 run or less. The last player to go five for five in a game in which his team scored no more than one run was Hall-of-Famer Joe Cronin for the Red Sox in a 2-1, 11-inning loss at Cleveland on July 13, 1941. The last player with five hits (regardless of number of at bats) in a nine-inning game in which his team scored one run or less was another Hall-of-Famer, Joe Medwick, who had five hits in as many at bats for the Cardinals on June 4, 1940 vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers.
CUETO GETS ROCKED AGAIN
Johnny Cueto of the Reds allowed seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in the Reds' 10-6 loss to Washington. In his last eight starts, Cueto has allowed 39 earned runs in only 33 innings, for a 10.64 ERA. The only pitcher with a higher ERA over an eight start span this season is Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees, who had two such overlapping streaks earlier this season. The last eight start span with an ERA of 10.00 or higher by a Cincy pitcher came in 2004, when Jose Acevedo allowed 39 earned runs in 32 innings, for a 10.97 ERA.
ANGELS EXCEL WITH BIG INNINGS
The Angels got all five of their runs in the third inning tonight, as they defeated the Orioles 5-1 at Camden Yards. It was the 22nd time this season that the Halos put up five or more runs in an inning, most in the major leagues. (The Orioles have the second most such innings at 19.) The Angels seem to have added the big inning to their repertoire in the offseason, as they only had 14 innings of five or more runs all of last season. Among AL teams, only the Yankees and Royals had fewer such innings in 2008 - each had 11.
PHILLIES LOSE AGAIN WHEN LEADING AFTER EIGHT
The Braves beat the Phillies, 4-3, scoring two runs in the ninth off Brad Lidge. This was the seventh game this season that the Phils have lost despite leading at the end of the eighth inning, tying the most such losses in a season for a defending World Series champ. The Tigers lost seven in 1985 after their last Series title, and the Boston Red Sox lost seven such games in 1919, after winning the Series the year before. With these seven losses, the Phillies have a chance to tie the franchise record for most such losses in a season - they had eight in 1936 and 1897. Recall that the Phillies did not have any such losses last season, as Lidge converted all of his save opportunities in 2008.
KAZMIR KNOWS VALUE OF DIVISION GAMES
Scott Kazmir pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs as the Rays beat Toronto Saturday night. Kazmir must realize how important divisional games are this season - in games against the AL East this season he is 5-1 in seven starts, with a 4.95 ERA. In all other games in 2009, Kazmir is 2-6 in 11 starts, with a 7.50 ERA.
CARDINAL STARTERS CONTINUE TO GO DEEP IN GAMES
Joel Pineiro pitched 6 2/3 innings tonight, earning the win in the Cardinal's 7-4 win over San Diego. Cardinals starters have been going deep into games very frequently since the All Star break. In 27 starts since the break, the starter has pitched at least six innings in 21 of the 27 (77.8%). The only team whose starters have a better percentage of starts of six or more innings since the break is Atlanta (24 of 28, 85.7%) .
ARIZONA'S BACK-TO-BACK HOMERS IN NINTH TIE DODGERS
Mark Reynolds and Miguel Montero hit back-to-back home runs in the 9th inning to tie the Dodgers, and the Diamondbacks won the game 4-3 in ten innings. The last time a team hit back-to-back homers in the 9th inning, with the last one tying the game, also involved the Dodgers. Los Angeles trailed the Padres 9-5 in the ninth at Dodger Stadium on September 18, 2006, and hit four consecutive solo homers to tie the game. Jeff Kent, J.D Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson each hit consecutive solo homers. The Dodgers won the game 11-10 on a two run homer by Nomar Garciaparra in the 10th inning.
HOCKEY WORLD MOURNS TED KENNEDY
Hockey Hall of Famer Ted Kennedy, who died Friday at age 83, played 14 seasons in the NHL, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. When Kennedy retired with 560 career points at the end of the 1956-57 season he was the sixth leading scorer in NHL history, behind Maurice Richard (858 points), Gordie Howe (749), Ted Lindsay (700), Elmer Lach (623) and Milt Schmidt (575).