Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Mark Loretta was named to start the All-Star Game at second base; the Red Sox haven't had a starter at that position in a mid-summer classic since Felix Mantilla in 1965. Three teams have an even longer drought than Boston since last placing an All-Star starter at second base. The Athletics have never had one; the White Sox last did it in 1963 (Nellie Fox) and Mets haven't had one since 1964 (Ron Hunt).
• Boston's victory over the Marlins started with a bang: Kevin Youkilis and Hanley Ramirez hit first-inning leadoff home runs, followed by Jason Varitek's blast to begin the top of the second. It was the first game in modern major-league history in which players hit leadoff homers in each of the first three half-innings.
But the game ended quietly, as Jonathan Papelbon notched his 25th save of the season, the most ever for a rookie prior to the All-Star break, surpassing Mike MacDougal's "first-half" total of 24 saves for the 2003 Royals. Papelbon's 25 saves match the most before the break for any Red Sox pitcher; Tom Gordon had 25 in 1998.
• The Cubs won an old-fashioned slugfest, defeating the White Sox 15-11. The Cubs hadn't won a game at Wrigley Field in which their opponent scored at least five runs since a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox more than a year ago (June 11, 2005). In the interim, the Cubs lost 41 home games in which they allowed at least five runs (their last 20 such games in 2005 and their first 21 this year), matching the second-longest streak of that kind for any team in major-league history. The longest was by the Pirates, from 1953 to 1954 (58 straight home losses when allowing five or more runs).
• Both the Red Sox and Twins went 16-2 in interleague play this year, matching the 2002 Athletics (16-2) for the most interleague wins in a season. The only team with a higher single-season winning percentage in interleague games than those three teams (.889) was St. Louis in 2004 (.917, 11-1).
• Ryan Howard hit his 28th home run of the season in the Phillies' 11-6 victory at Toronto. Howard, recalled from the minor leagues last July, has 49 homers during the past year (since July 3, 2005), the most for any NL player over that span (two more than Albert Pujols, who also homered on Sunday). David Ortiz (54) and Jason Giambi (51) paced the majors in homers over the past 365 days.
• "Seven come 11" could refer to Detroit's 9-8 victory at Pittsburgh, when the Tigers (five) and Pirates (six) combined for 11 runs in the seventh inning. It was only the second time in the last 45 years that opposing teams each rolled five or higher in the seventh inning of a game (San Diego at Cincinnati, Sept. 7, 1981).
• The Cardinals hung on for a 9-7 win over the Royals, surviving some shaky relief work, again. The St. Louis bullpen has an 8.15 ERA over its last 11 games, and has been charged with at least one run in each of the club's last nine games. Over the last seven seasons (since 2000) there's been only one longer streak of consecutive games in which Cardinals relievers were charged with runs (10 straight games in 2001).
• Kris Benson, starting with three days of rest, was the losing pitcher in the Braves' victory over the Orioles. Benson is the only American League pitcher to start a game on short rest this season (fewer than four days between starts), and he's now done it twice (no decision vs. the Angels on May 28). NL pitchers have started on short rest 12 times this season; only John Smoltz has made two such starts.
• The Giants rallied for five runs with two outs and nobody on base in the seventh inning in their 6-2 victory at San Diego. San Francisco hadn't scored that many runs in an inning in which its first two batters were retired since a seven-run eighth inning under those circumstances on April 7, 1999, in an 8-3 win at Cincinnati.
Shawn Green snapped a ninth-inning tie when he drew an RBI walk from Barry Zito. When was the last time you saw a starting pitcher given enough rope to force in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk that late in a game? No starter had been allowed to do that since Kenny Rogers, for the Yankees, in a 1-0 loss to the Angels in May 1996 -- a ninth-inning walkoff walk to Chili Davis (three years before Rogers, in relief, walked Andruw Jones to end the 1999 NLCS).
• The Rockies defeated the Mariners in 11 innings Sunday, snapping Colorado's streak of seven straight losses in road games of at least 11 innings. It was the Rockies' first road win in a game of that length (or longer) since Aug. 12, 2003 (at Montreal).