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MANNING EXTENDS PASSING STREAK
From Elias: Eli Manning passed for 288 yards in the Giants' 36-7 win at Carolina. Manning has now recorded at least 200 yards passing in each of his last 22 games. That ties the second-longest streak of its kind in NFL history. Dan Fouts threw for 200-plus yards in an NFL-record 45 consecutive games from 1980 to 1983. And Drew Brees had a streak of 22 games from 2007 to 2009. The last game in which Manning did not throw for 200 yards was in a 21-3 win over the Vikings (played at Ford Field in Detroit) on Dec. 13, 2010 (187 yards).
BENNETT GRABS TD IN FIRST THREE GAMES FOR GIANTS
From Elias: Martellus Bennett, who signed as a free agent with the Giants in March, caught a touchdown pass for the third straight game in the Giants' 36-7 win. Bennett is the first player in franchise history to score a receiving touchdown in each of his first three games for New York. In the last ten seasons, three other players have caught a TD pass in their first three games for a team. You might guess the first two: Terrell Owens (2004 Eagles) and Randy Moss (2007 Patriots). But we'll be impressed if you remember the third: Chansi Stuckey (2008 Jets).
A GREAT START FOR BROWN IN HIS FIRST START
From Elias: With Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined, it didn't take long for Andre Brown to assure the Giants that everything would be just fine. Brown gained 77 yards on seven carries in the first quarter of New York's 36-7 victory at Carolina. That was the highest first-quarter rushing total by a player making his first NFL start since Matt Forte of the Bears ran for 79 yards in the first period at Indianapolis on opening day 2008.
CATS LOSE ANOTHER TO CHAMPS
From Elias: The Panthers have lost their last seven games played against the defending Super Bowl champion. Their last such win was in Week Two of the 2005 season versus the Patriots in Charlotte.
ICHIRO'S MEMORABLE SERIES
From Elias: Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-4 with a home run in the Yankees' 10-7 home win over the Blue Jays. Suzuki completed the three-game sweep with nine hits in 12 at bats, four stolen bases and a home run. He's the first player in franchise history to record nine hits, four steals and a homer in a series of three-or-fewer games. The last major leaguer to have a series like that was Ellis Burks against the Braves at Coors Field in September 1996 (10 H, 4 SB, 1 HR in 3 games).
CUETO: FOUR GAMES, FOUR WINS VS. THE CUBS
From Elias: Johnny Cueto ended his personal three-game losing streak and recorded his 18th win of the season with a victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in which he pitched six innings and did not allow a run. Cueto has faced the Cubs four times this season and won each game, holding Chicago to a total of four runs (three earned) in 28¿ innings. He's only the fourth Reds pitcher in the divisional era to register four wins in one season versus the Cubs. The other Cincinnati pitchers to do that since 1969 were Jack Billingham (4-0 in 1974), Tom Browning (4-0 in 1986), and Bronson Arroyo (4-0 in 2006).
A 3-RUN LEAD IS THE WINNING FORMULA FOR RICHARD
From Elias: The Padres scored three runs in the top of the first at Arizona on Thursday. San Diego starter Clayton Richard gave back one run immediately, and he also allowed two runs in the bottom of the sixth after the Padres has scored a pair in the top of the inning, but the die was cast from the start. It was the 26th time that San Diego staked Richard to a lead of three or more runs and the 26th time that Richard rewarded the Padres with a victory. Richard himself is 24-0 in those games, and San Diego won both games in which he didn't earn a decision.
FIVE IN A ROW FOR ZITO
From Elias: Barry Zito allowed two runs over five-and-two-thirds innings to earn the victory in the Giants' 13-8 win over the Rockies. That extended Zito's winning streak to five consecutive decisions, matching his longest winning streak during six seasons with the Giants. Zito had five winning streaks longer than five games in his seven seasons with the A's. The only other AL pitcher with five single-season winning streaks of six or more games during that time was Freddy Garcia.
MULTI-HIT GAMES FROM THE A'S 6-7-8-9 BATTERS
From Elias: The Athletics banged out 12 hits in their 12-4 win at Detroit and 10 of those hits were recorded by the bottom four men in the Oakland lineup on Thursday: Seth Smith (3), Josh Donaldson (3), George Kottaras (2), and Cliff Pennington (2). It was the first time that the A's got at least two hits in one game from each of the starters in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth slots in the batting order since Sept. 19, 2009 (an 8-4 win over the Indians). Pennington also had two hits from the #9 slot for the A's that day, behind two-hit performances by Bobby Crosby, Daric Barton, and Matt Carson.
EARLY, LATE SCORING BURSTS LEAD PHILS TO ROUT
From Elias: The Phillies scored eight runs in the first inning and seven more in the ninth in their 16-1 win over the Mets at Citi Field. Philadelphia is the first team in major-league history to score at least seven runs in both the first and ninth innings of a game. In fact, no team had scored as many as six times in the first and ninth innings since the Cubs did it in a 19-3 win over the Giants at the Polo Grounds on May 18, 1946.
BOSSMAN HEATS UP LATE IN SEASON
From Elias: B.J. Upton's three-run walkoff home run capped a six-run ninth inning for the Rays in their 7-4 home win over the Red Sox. Upton has hit nine homers since August 29, tying Mark Reynolds and Miguel Cabrera for most in the majors over that stretch. Thirteen of Upton's 14 RBIs since that date have come on home runs (seven solo, two three-run shots).
PIRATES FALL BELOW .500 WITH LATE-INNING COLLAPSE
From Elias: After rallying from an early 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 lead into the seventh inning, it appeared the Pirates would avoid falling below the .500 mark for the first time since late May. But the Brewers rebounded with four runs in the eighth and posted a 9-7 win at Pittsburgh, dropping the Pirates' record to 74-75. That was an unusual loss even by Pirates standards: they hadn't lost at home after leading by three or more runs in the seventh inning or later since 2009.
Pittsburgh compiled the best record in the majors from May 25 through August 1 (40-20), but they have won only 14 of 45 games since then.
ALLEN CRAIG'S FIRST-INNING HOMER
From Elias: Allen Craig hit a three-run home run in the first inning of the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Astros on Thursday. It was Craig's third run-scoring hit in his last three first-inning at-bats. He hit a two-run homer in the first inning against the Dodgers at Los Angeles on Saturday and a RBI-double in the opening frame the next day. Before this run of three straight first-inning hits, Craig had recorded only three hits in last 28 first-inning at-bats and he had only two first-inning RBIs covering a span of more than three months (June 8 through September 14).
ZIMMERMAN RECORDS SECOND GAME-WINNER IN SERIES
From Elias: Ryan Zimmerman's third-inning double drove in Bryce Harper with the game's first run and the Nationals never looked back in their 4-1 win over the Dodgers, which clinched the franchise's first postseason berth since 1981. Zimmerman also drove in the game-winning run in the first game of this series against Los Angeles. Zimmerman recorded two game-winning RBIs in a series five times in his first two full major-league seasons (2006-2007), but he hadn't done it again until this week.
KOTCHMAN FOILS GARDENHIRE'S STRATEGY
From Elias: When the Indians got a runner to third base with one out and the scored tie 3-3 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire ordered pitcher Anthony Swarzak to intentionally walk the next two Cleveland batters, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley. That brought Casey Kotchman to the plate with the bases loaded. A careful look at the statistics entering play on Thursday would have shown Gardenhire that Kotchman's .067 batting average with the bases loaded this season was the second-lowest in the majors among players with at least 10 at-bats with the bags full. (The only player with a lower bases-loaded batting average than Kotchman was Giants infielder Joaquin Arias at 0-for-12.) Of course, you can probably guess the outcome of the Swarzak vs. Kotchman matchup. Kotchman hit a single up the middle to drive home the winning run and salvage a victory for the Indians in the final game of their three-game series. It was only the third walkoff RBI of Kotchman's nine-year major-league career. The others were for the Angels in 2007 and the Rays in 2011.
HOLLAND PROVIDES ROYAL RELIEF
From Elias: The Royals beat the White Sox 4-3 on an Eric Hosmer walkoff single in the ninth inning, making a winner of reliever Greg Holland. Holland is 3-1 with 14 saves in 22 appearances since August 1 when he was given the closer's role. The only other pitcher with as many as 17 combined wins and saves since the beginning of August is Jonathan Papelbon (also three wins and 14 saves).