Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Oilers' 4-0 win over the Hurricanes in Game 6 was one for the books: No team in the history of the Stanley Cup finals has won a series-evening Game 6 at home by means of a shutout. Three teams had won Game 6 shutouts on the road to even a series at 3-3 -- most recently Colorado at New Jersey in 2001 -- before going on to play Game 7 at home.
• Five times the Stanley Cup finals have reached Game 7 after a team had evened the series after having trailed three games to one. On only one of those five occasions has the team that had been trailing three games to one come back to win, and in that case, the Maple Leafs had come back from a three-games-to-none deficit to defeat the Red Wings in 1942.
In each of the four most recent cases in which teams that led three games to one were forced to a Game 7 in the finals, those teams bounced back to win: Toronto over Detroit in 1945, Detroit over Montreal in 1954, Edmonton over Philadelphia in 1987 and the Rangers over Vancouver in 1994.
• The Dodgers and the Athletics played on and on deep into Saturday night, before Jae Seo walked Bobby Crosby with the bases full and two outs to provide Oakland with a 5-4 win in 17 innings. The teams tied the record for the most innings played in any of the 2,056 regular-season interleague games played since baseball introduced such competition in 1997.
Three other interleague games had lasted 17 innings: the Marlins beat the Blue Jays, 4-3, in 1998; the Phillies won at Baltimore, 4-2, in 2003; and the Brewers won at Anaheim, 1-0, in 2004.
• The Athletics extended their winning streak to nine games with their 17-inning triumph, and became the first major league team since 1989 to extend a winning streak to nine or more games with a victory that took 17 or more innings! The Dodgers also lost that 1989 game, also by the same 5-4 score, also to a team (the Astros) winning its ninth in a row. (That was a 22-inning monster at Houston that the Astros won against a Dodgers team that, in the last two innings, had Eddie Murray playing third base, Fernando Valenzuela playing first, and Jeff Hamilton -- the team's regular third baseman -- pitching.)
• Josh Beckett and Kris Benson joined an exclusive group on Saturday: the fraternity of American League pitchers who have had RBI in two different interleague games in the same season.
Beckett had two runs batted in (one on a home run) at Philadelphia on May 20, and singled in a run at Atlanta on Saturday. Benson knocked in a run at Washington on May 19, and homered -- off Pedro Martinez, no less -- at New York on Saturday.
The other American League pitchers to have had at least one RBI in two different interleague games: Bobby Witt (with Texas in 1997), Mike Mussina (New York, 1999), Jeremy Affeldt (Kansas City, 2003), Johan Santana (Minnesota, 2004) and C.C. Sabathia (Cleveland, 2005).
• The Braves' loss to Boston was the 14th in their 16 games this month. It's the first time that Atlanta has lost 14 of 16 games within a single season since 1986, when the team had that kind of slump from July 4 through July 23. That was in an era when their owner was Ted Turner, their manager Chuck Tanner and their primary television announcer Skip Caray.
• Kris Benson became the first major league pitcher to hit a home run and earn a victory in his first start against a team for which he had pitched the previous year since the Dodgers' Omar Daal treated the Phillies similarly in 2002. Prior to that, it was Cleveland's Dave Burba vs. Cincinnati in 1998.
• It happened again to Cleveland's Jake Westbrook on Saturday. He had allowed only one run -- unearned, at that -- over eight innings, and had driven in a run with a long double when he turned a 2-1 lead over to the bullpen as the game headed to the bottom of the ninth in Milwaukee.
After Bob Wickman retired the leadoff hitter, the Brewers linked two walks with singles by Bill Hall and Geoff Jenkins to win it, 3-2. Get a load of this one: Indians' relief pitchers have an ERA of 8.31 in games that Westbrook has started this season, the highest bullpen ERA in support of any American League starter (minimum: five starts).
• The Nationals overcame a 7-2 New York lead to take a 9-7 comeback decision over the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, and it had the announcers on Fox wondering out loud about several things.
In view of the fact that the Yankees had hit three home runs in the fifth inning, play-by-play man Kenny Albert wondered how often a team loses a game after hitting three homers in one inning. Hey, we're happy to help the folks at Fox: It had happened only once previously this season (the Royals hit three homers in the first inning on May 25, but lost 13-8 to Detroit), happened only twice last season, and happened exactly once in each of the four seasons before that. The last time that the Yankees had lost a game after a three-homer inning was on Aug. 2, 1983, when they lost 10-9 at Toronto, despite third-inning blasts by Don Mattingly, Graig Nettles and Steve Kemp.
Then, after the Nats got a walk, a triple and a single on the first three batters Mariano Rivera faced in the eighth inning, our friend Tim McCarver -- and how is it that he has not yet won the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting? -- asked how many teams had seen three straight batters reach base against Mariano. The answer appears here: It was only the 35th time in his 676 relief appearances that Rivera had allowed three consecutive batters to reach base safely on some combination of hits, walks or hit batsmen, and it was only the 16th time that the first three batters he faced had done so. (It happened once earlier this season: After Rivera entered a game at Texas in the eighth inning on May 5, the first three batters to face him reached base.)
Finally, Fox did assert that it was the first time since 1997 that the Yankees had lost a game after leading by seven or more runs. Actually, though, that statement was not correct; it was merely the first time since July 14, 2002, when the Yankees led at Cleveland 7-0 after 5½ innings but lost 10-7 when Rivera allowed a grand slam to Bill Selby in the bottom of the ninth.
• Alex Rodriguez's home run off Ramon Ortiz on Saturday was his eighth in 48 at-bats against the string-bean right-hander. That matches the most round-trippers that A-Rod has belted against any major-league pitcher; he has eight in 45 at-bats vs. Bartolo Colon and eight in 71 at-bats vs. David Wells.
• After three rounds of play of the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the cumulative scoring average stands at 75.20. It's the fifth time over the last 25 U.S. Opens that the 54-hole scoring average has averaged 75 or higher. The previous years are 1982 Pebble Beach (75.66), 1983 Oakmont (76.44), 1986 Shinnecock Hills (75.17) and 2000 Pebble Beach (75.72).
• Kenneth Ferrie, in only his third tournament in the United States, finds himself in the running heading into the final round of the U.S. Open. If Ferrie pulls out the victory, he would be the first player to win the U.S. Open while playing three or fewer previous tournaments in the United States since Edward Ray did that back in 1920.
• Peter Hedblom recorded the 40th hole-in-one in U.S. Open history when he aced the 216-yard par-3third hole during Saturday's third round. It was also the longest hole-in-one in U.S. Open competition since Ben Crenshaw's on the par-3, 217-yard ninth hole during the second round at Oakland Hills in 1985.
To go along with his hole-in-one, Hedblom also recorded an eagle on the par-5, 515-yard fifth hole during Saturday's round. Mark Calcavecchia had a hole-in-one and an eagle in the fourth round of the 2004 U.S. Open, but prior to him, no one had achieved a hole-in-one and an eagle in the same U.S. Open round since Scott Verplank in the fourth round in 1994.
• The United States-Italy match that ended in a 1-1 tie was only the second match in World Cup history in which both teams had players sent off during the first half. The other was a 1990 match between Germany and the Netherlands: Germany's Rudi Voller was red-carded for over-the-top dissent following a hard foul by Frank Rijkaard, while Rijkaard was ejected for spitting at Voller.
Saturday's match was the fourth in World Cup history in which a total of three players were red-carded.
• The United States tied the game on the first own goal ever conceded by Italy in World Cup play. It was the third own goal scored by the United States, which scored in that manner against Colombia in 1994 and vs. Portugal in 2002. The only team to have scored more own goals than the United States in World Cup competition is Italy itself (four).
• The die was cast in Ghana's victory when Tomas Ujfalusi was sent off in the 65th minute with his Czech Republic squad trailing 1-0. Only three teams in World Cup history have erased a deficit while playing a man down: Mexico tied Netherlands in 1998, Cameroon tied Chile in 1998, and Italy defeated Nigeria in overtime in 1994 on a pair of shorthanded goals by Roberto Baggio. (Baggio's winning goal came on a penalty kick.)
• Cristiano Ronaldo's goal for Portugal against Iran was only the second on a penalty kick in the 2006 World Cup. There has been an average of 10 goals on penalty kicks during group play over the previous three tournaments.
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