Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:


• Jose Reyes led off the first inning with a home run against Josh Towers in the Mets' 7-4 victory at Toronto. It was the seventh straight game in which Reyes led off the first inning with a hit, but it might take a bit more than that to impress his manager: In 1980, Willie Randolph led off the first inning with hits in eight straight games for the Yankees! Since then, only the Brewers' Paul Molitor (seven games in 1982), the Royals' Johnny Damon (ten in 2000) and Reyes have done it in seven straight games.

It didn't take Towers long to extend his personal streak of allowing homers. He has now surrendered at least one home run in each of his last ten games; that's one shy of the Blue Jays' record (11), which is shared by Jerry Garvin (1977-78) and John Cerutti (1990).

But let's get back to Reyes, who went 4-for-5 for the second straight game and is batting .561 (32-for-57) over the course of his 13-game hitting streak. That's the highest batting average over a span of 13 games (minimum: 40 at-bats) for any player since Geoff Jenkins hit at a .565 clip (26-for-46) for the Brewers in 2001. Reyes joined Ichiro, Damon and Kenny Lofton as the only active players who have ever had as many as 32 hits over a 13-game span.

• Mike Mussina defeated Dontrelle Willis in a pitching duel at Yankee Stadium, registering the 2,500th strikeout of his career in the process. Mussina has never finished a season ranked among the top five strikeout pitchers in the majors; his highest rank was sixth, in both 2000 and 2001. Only two of the 27 other pitchers in the 2,500-strikeout club never had a season in which they ranked higher than sixth in the majors in that category (Jerry Koosman and Don Sutton).

• The Marlins took the nightcap from the Yankees, 5-0, behind starter Anibal Sanchez, who pitched 5 2/3 innings in his big league debut. In the Joe Torre era (1996 to date), the only other starting pitchers to win their major league debut against the Yankees in the Bronx are Jason Dickson (Aug. 21, 1996) and Gustavo Chacin (Sept. 20, 2004).

• The Nationals defeated the Orioles in Baltimore with Livan Hernandez earning the victory in the 300th regular-season start of his major league career. Hernandez is the fifth Cuban-born pitcher to reach that milestone, joining Luis Tiant (484), Camilo Pascual (404), Mike Cuellar (379) and Dolf Luque (366), a mainstay of the Cincinnati teams of the 1920s.

• Daniel Cabrera unleashed four wild pitches in the Orioles' loss. It was the most in a game by any pitcher since Anaheim's Kevin Gregg threw four wild ones, all in one inning, on July 25, 2004. Look up the word "wild" in the 2006 Baseball Dictionary and you just might find a picture of Cabrera; his percentage of strikes this season (56 percent) is the lowest for any qualifying pitcher (at least one inning for each of his team's games).

• Mark Redman earned his fifth straight victory as the Royals shut out the Brewers. In his 169th start in the majors, Redman finally fashioned the first five-game winning streak of his career as a starter. Only four current major league pitchers (either active or disabled) who have started as many games as Redman have never had a winning streak longer than four games (as a starter): Jamey Wright (231 career starts), Glendon Rusch (210), Dustin Hermanson (180) and Kip Wells (170).

• Byung-Hyun Kim pitched seven innings to earn a victory in the Rockies' 3-0 win over the Rangers at Colorado. Kim, who threw six scoreless innings at Coors Field in his previous start, hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 innings; that's the longest streak of consecutive scoreless innings as a starter in Kim's big league career. The only other major leaguer to hold opponents scoreless in each of two straight starts in Denver is David Nied, who did it in September 1993 at Mile High Stadium.

• The Cardinals have lost six in a row, the result of consecutive three-game sweeps at the hands of the White Sox and Tigers. No other first-place team in any division has ever lost as many as six straight interleague games in one season.

• Mike Cameron homered in all three games against the Mariners over the weekend at Petco Park, joining Xavier Nady as the only Padres to homer in three straight games at their relatively new home. Coincidentally, Nady's streak also came in a three-game series vs. Seattle, one year ago (June 24-26, 2005).

• The Pirates lost three straight games to the Dodgers in Jim Tracy's return to Los Angeles. Tracy became the first manager to be swept in a road series against a team that he managed the previous season since 1999, when the Marlins won three in a row against Jim Leyland's Rockies in his return to South Florida.

• Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 549th home run of his career in the Reds' victory at Cleveland. Griffey's shot came off Indians starter Jeremy Sowers, in his first game in the majors. The highest career-homer number for any player against a pitcher making his major league debut was by Hank Aaron, who welcomed the Dodgers' Rex Hudson to the majors with his 726th homer in the only game of Hudson's big league career (July 27, 1974).

• The Athletics solved Matt Cain the second time around. Oakland defeated the Giants rookie after Cain threw a one-hit shutout in his only previous outing against the A's. After only three batters had come to the plate in the first inning of their 10-4 victory Sunday, the Athletics already had more hits (two) and more runs (one) than they managed to collect against Cain during his complete-game victory at Oakland on May 21.

• The Astros prevailed in 13 innings Sunday night after blowing an eight-run lead to the White Sox. Roy Oswalt handed the Astros' bullpen a 9-2 lead in the eighth inning, but for the third time this season, relievers relinquished a lead in a game in which Oswalt was in line to pick up a victory. Houston relievers have a 9.00 ERA in Oswalt's starts this year, the highest in relief of any major league pitcher who has started at least five games this season.

The White Sox comeback was sparked by the bat of Tadahito Iguchi, who hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and game-tying grand slam in the ninth. Iguchi is the sixth player in the last 25 years (1982-2006) to homer in both the eighth and ninth innings of game that went to extra innings. All six of those players saw their efforts spoiled with a loss in the 11th inning or later.

2006 World Cup
• David Beckham scored on a direct free kick in England's 1-0 victory over Ecuador on Sunday. Beckham has had a hand in seven of England's 12 goals in the last two World Cups:

-- In 2002, England scored twice off Beckham corner kicks. Beckham also scored on a penalty kick vs. Argentina and assisted on a goal by Emile Heskey vs. Denmark.

-- In 2006, Beckham has scored on a free kick, had another free kick deflected in for an own goal, and assisted on Peter Crouch's goal vs. Trinidad and Tobago.

• Portugal defeated the Netherlands 1-0 despite playing a man down for a total of 30 minutes. Only four other teams won an elimination World Cup match despite playing a man down for at least a half-hour. The last was Brazil over England in a 2002 quarterfinal match. (Ronaldinho was sent off in the 57th minute of that match.)

• Portugal's Luiz Felipe Scolari is the fourth coach to win his first four matches in consecutive World Cups. (He was 7-0 with Brazil at World Cup 2002.) The others who did it coached the same team in both Cups: Helmut Schon of Germany (1970-74), Mario Zagallo of Brazil (1970-74), and Tele Santana of Brazil (1982-86).

• The six yellows issued in the England-Ecuador match raised the total for the 2006 World Cup to 275, surpassing the previous high of 272 in 2002. With the addition of 16 more in the Netherlands-Portugal match, the new record total is 291 (5.6 per match).