Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• American League teams won seven of the eight interleague games that were played at AL ballparks on Wednesday; the Angels' loss to the Rockies was the only defeat for the junior circuit. During the month of June, American League teams are 60-21 (.741) in home games against National League opponents.
• Joe Mauer had 11 hits in 13 at-bats against the Dodgers, matching Ichiro Suzuki for the most hits by any player over a three-game span this season. Mauer witnessed Ichiro's 11-hit outburst, which occurred earlier this month (June 6-8) as the Mariners took two of three games from the Twins at Seattle.
Mauer became the fourth player in the last 40 seasons (1967-2006) to collect 11 hits in a three-game series sweep; the others are Mike Piazza (1995), Rondell White (1995) and Juan Pierre (2002). Prior to Piazza doing it, no player had at least 11 hits during a sweep of a three-game series since June 1966, when Willie Stargell did it against the Astros at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field.
• Johan Santana picked up another victory for the streaking Twins. Santana hasn't lost any of his last 15 starts at the Metrodome (since Aug. 6, 2005), posting a 9-0 with a 1.91 ERA in home games over that span. Santana's 15 consecutive home starts without a loss is the longest current streak of its kind for any pitcher; Josh Beckett and Jason Schmidt are both undefeated in their last 12 starts at home. Santana's streak is the longest for a Twins pitcher since Frank Viola set the franchise record by going 19-0 over a span of 24 regular-season home starts from 1987-88.
• Detroit's Justin Verlander notched his 10th win of the season in the Tigers' 79th game of the year. The last rookie pitcher to reach 10 wins fewer than 80 games into a season was Kaz Ishii in 2002, in the Dodgers' 61st game. No Tiger rookie had gotten to 10 wins in so few team games since 1908, when Ed Summers recorded his 10th win in Detroit's 69th game of the year.
Verlander threw 97 pitches in eight shutout innings before handing the ball over to Jason Grilli to finish the Tigers' 5-0 victory. Complete-game shutouts have now become the exception, rather than the rule. Last season was the first in major-league history in which complete games accounted for fewer than 25 percent of all shutouts (24.1 percent); this season, that percentage is even lower (22.1 percent). Verlander was the 12th starting pitcher this season to be removed from a game after eight shutout innings despite throwing fewer than 100 pitches.
• With his 12th-inning walk-off homer, Alex Rodriguez joined an elite fraternity: It was his 100th home run since joining the Yankees. Rodriguez is the 34th player in franchise history to reach that milestone, including current teammates Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi. No other major-league franchise has as many 30 players with at least 100 homers; the next-highest totals belong to the Tigers (28), Red Sox (27), Giants (26) and Athletics (25).
• John Smoltz handed a 2-1, eighth-inning lead to the Atlanta bullpen, but for the sixth time this season, relievers relinquished the lead in a game in which Smoltz was the pitcher of record on the winning side at the time of his departure. No other pitcher in the majors has been victimized in that fashion this season as many times as Smoltz; Milwaukee's Dave Bush is the only other starting pitcher with as many as five "blown" wins.
• The Phillies were swept in a day/night twinbill at Baltimore, with the Orioles defeating a pair of rookie starters, Cole Hamels in the day game and Scott Mathieson at night. It marked the first time since September 1997 that the Phillies played two games in one day, with a rookie pitcher starting each (Matt Beech and Darrin Winston).
• Pedro Martinez was the first to leave his party at Fenway Park, making an early departure after he allowed eight runs in three innings. It was only the second start of Pedro's career in which he pitched as few as three innings and allowed as many as eight runs. The other time it happened was in Boston's 2002 season opener, a 12-11 loss to the Blue Jays, when Martinez escaped a decision despite allowing eight runs in three innings pitched.
Pedro's short outing snapped his streak of 73 straight starts in which he pitched at least five innings; the only pitchers with longer current streaks of that kind are Curt Schilling (132 starts) and Santana (74).
• The Cardinals snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Indians, defeating Bob Wickman with two runs in the ninth inning. Jason Isringhausen picked up the win despite failing to hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth. It marked only the second time in the last 10 years a pair of relievers, each with at least 200 career saves, blew save opportunities in the same game (Troy Percival and Mariano Rivera, May 11, 2004).
• The Cubs' late-inning comeback in their 6-3 win over the Brewers was almost as surprising as Pierre's third-inning homer. Pierre hadn't gone deep in his previous 643 at-bats (since July 7, 2005); the only active position player (non-pitcher) with a longer current streak of homerless at-bats is Houston's Willy Taveras (657). The two longest current homerless streaks among active players belong to pitchers, who happen to be scheduled to face each other on Thursday night: Schilling (771 career at-bats without a home run) and Tom Glavine (684 at-bats since his only major-league homer). Unfortunately, that's at Fenway, under American League rules.
• The White Sox came back from a three-run deficit in a 4-3 victory at Pittsburgh, handing the Pirates their 13th straight loss. It has been widely reported that Pirates' 13-game losing streak is the longest in franchise history, but in actuality, it's their longest since 14 straight losses that spanned the 1954 and 1955 seasons. But even when only considering losing streaks within a single season, the Pirates' current skid isn't their longest. Pittsburgh lost 23 straight games in 1890; that's one game shy of the longest losing streak in National League history.
• The Devil Rays' bullpen pitched four scoreless innings to nail down a 3-1 victory over the Marlins. Don't look now, but Tampa Bay relievers have a 1.89 ERA since June 12, the second-lowest ERA for any AL bullpen over that span, behind the Blue Jays (1.34).
• Ray Durham's third-inning grand slam followed an intentional walk to Barry Bonds and provided the margin of victory for the Giants in their 5-1 win over the Rangers. It was the sixth time that a player homered immediately following an intentional walk to Bonds that loaded the bases. Jeff Kent hit three of them (1997-99); Jeff King (1992), Benito Santiago (2002) and Durham each did it once.
• The Nets selected Connecticut's Marcus Williams with the 22nd pick and fellow Huskie Josh Boone with the 23rd selection, marking the first time in the 40-year history of the modern NBA draft that a team chose players from the same school with back-to-back picks of the first round.
• Five schools had more than one player chosen in the first round on Tuesday night (Duke, Connecticut, Villanova, Memphis and Michigan State), tying the league record in the modern NBA draft (1966 to present). There were five schools with multiple first-round selections in 1989 (Illinois, Louisville, Arizona, Iowa and Oklahoma).
• A note of encouragement for all the hopefuls who did not hear their names announced by David Stern or Russ Granik on Tuesday night: Last year, 19 percent of the players who appeared in at least one NBA game were not drafted.