Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Greg Maddux went only 5 1/3 innings before handing off a lead to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster escaped a bases-loaded-with-none-out situation in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the Cubs' 6-5 win at Cincinnati.
It was Maddux's 325th career victory (all as a starter), as he moved into 13th place on the all-time wins list. It was also the 34th victory of his career in a game in which he was taken out before pitching six innings, the second-highest total of "five-and-fly" victories by any starting pitcher in major league history. The record-holder? Scott Sanderson, who had 37 wins of that type during his 19-year career (1978-96).
• Trot Nixon hadn't homered at Fenway Park since last Aug. 27, and hadn't connected with at least two runners on base since last July 15, but he snapped both streaks with a three-run blow off Vicente Padilla in the first inning of Boston's 4-3 win over Texas.
Nixon, who went 4-for-4 on Friday night, now owns a .314 career batting average, with 13 home runs and 43 RBI, in 52 games against the Rangers. He has averaged a home run every 14.2 at-bats vs. Texas -- a better home-run rate than Ted Williams had for his career (one homer every 14.8 at-bats)!
• Randy Johnson allowed six runs, including three home runs, in just four innings in the Yankees' 6-5 loss to the Athletics. It was the fifth time in his last 11 starts that Johnson had fashioned a pitching line on which the number under "runs allowed" was higher than the number under "innings pitched." That's already the most games of that type that The Big Unit has had in any season since 1992, when he had six in 31 starts for Seattle.
• Oakland's Antonio Perez took a batting average of .030 -- that's one hit in 33 at-bats -- to the plate as he prepared to face Randy Johnson in the fourth inning. Moments later, he was in the dugout celebrating his two-run homer that put his team ahead, 5-1, and lifted his average up to .059.
Here's the crazy thing: Perez was the second Athletics player to start 1-for-33 this season; Dan Johnson started the year 1-for-33 -- becoming the first Athletics player to start a season that way since Ray Fosse in 1975. (In fact, Johnson's start reached 1-for-37 before he righted the ship; he has batted .280 since then.)
The last major league team with two position players, each of whom had no more than one hit in his first 33 at-bats of a season, was Seattle in 1985. The players were catcher Bob Kearney and second baseman (and future ESPN analyst) Harold Reynolds. (Harold might have just been emulating his buddy, Ozzie Smith: Ozzie started 1-for-33 with the Padres in 1979!)
• Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Twins a 7-5 victory over the Orioles. The last Twins player to hit a walkoff homer in the 12th inning or later was Big Papi himself: David Ortiz hit a 12th-inning homer off Cleveland's Dave Maurer -- his final home run in a Twins uniform -- on Sept. 25, 2002.
Morneau's home run came off Baltimore's Bruce Chen, who is now 0-6 this season and has allowed a total of 18 home runs in 212 opponents' at-bats. That's a rate of one home run every 11.8 at-bats, awful for a pitcher but great for a hitter: It just happens to be the career home-run rate of a certain Baltimore native by the name of Babe Ruth!
But Morneau was 10 innings short of the latest walkoff homer in Twins history: Pedro Munoz blasted a 22nd-inning home run to beat Cleveland on Aug. 31, 1993 -- off Jason Grimsley.
• Ryan Howard blasted his 22nd home run of the season at Washington, in the Phillies' 61st game. He's the third player this season to have hit that many home runs in so few games by his team; Alfonso Soriano hit his 22nd homer in the Nationals' 59th game (on June 6), and Albert Pujols hit his 22nd homer in the Cardinals' 44th game (back on May 21).
The significance: In only two other seasons have there been as many as three major league players who reached the 22-homer level in so few team games. In 1998, it was done by Mark McGwire, Vinny Castilla and Ken Griffey Jr.; and the next year, it was done by Griffey, Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa.
• Mike Stanton allowed a three-run home run to Chase Utley, the only batter he faced, in the seventh inning of the Nationals' eventual 9-8 win over the Phillies. Since leaving the Yankees as a free agent following the 2002 season, that was the 11th home run that Stanton has allowed to the first batter he faced upon entering a game. Only Justin Speier (14) has allowed more such homers over that span (Kent Mercker, like Stanton, has allowed 11).
• The Brewers led the Cardinals, 6-0, after two innings but St. Louis came back to win, 10-6. "Being down six, you're not going to win that game very often," observed Tony LaRussa. Exactly, Tony. You've now been down by six or more runs 415 times in your major league managerial career, and Friday's game was just the 16th of those 415 games that your team came back to win. And it was the first of those 16 that your team won by a margin of four or more runs!
• Carlos Beltran went 4-for-5 and homered twice in the Mets' 10-6 victory over the Diamondbacks in Phoenix, and in his career, he now has hit six home runs in 30 at-bats over eight games at Chase Field. That rate of one homer every five at-bats is the highest for any active player who has hit at least six home runs at any big-league stadium.
• The White Sox scored twice in the last of the eighth inning to upend the Indians, 5-4, and move to within one-half game of the division lead. Cleveland had been the only American League team that had not lost a road game this season in which it had led going into the seventh inning; but that was the fourth time that the Sox had won a home game in which they trailed going into the seventh, tying Tampa Bay for the league lead.
• Miroslav Klose of Germany and Paulo Wanchope of Costa Rica each scored two goals in Germany's 4-2 victory. They were the first opponents to score at least two goals apiece in the same World Cup match since Just Fontaine of France and Todor Veselinovic of Yugoslavia both scored a pair on June 11, 1958. (Fontaine and Paraguay's Florencio Amarilla also did it earlier in the 1958 tournament.)
• Miroslav Klose is the second player to score two goals in a World Cup match on his birthday. Roger Hunt had two goals for England against France in 1966. Three other players had single goals on their birthday: Aldo Serena (Italy, 1990), Michel Platini, who did it twice (France, 1982 and 1986), and Dinko Dermendjev (Bulgaria, 1970).
• Ecuador defeated Poland, 2-0, to become the first South American team other than Brazil or Argentina to win a World Cup match in Europe against a European opponent since 1966, when Uruguay defeated France in England. The records of South American teams in Europe vs. European teams since 1974, including Friday's victory by Ecuador: Brazil, 7-5-4; Argentina, 3-6-8; others, 1-12-13.