Elias Says ...

7/21/2006 - MLB NHL Soccer Golf + more

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


• Vernon Wells gave the Blue Jays a 5-4 win over the Yankees with an 11th-inning walkoff home run against Mariano Rivera. It was only the third regular-season walkoff homer allowed by Rivera, and the first in extra innings.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown: Rivera hadn't allowed a home run in his last 74 innings. That had been the longest streak in the majors -- a distinction that Rivera inherited only seven hours earlier when Jorge Cantu homered off Juan Rincon in the Devil Rays' 6-4 loss to the Twins. Rincon hadn't allowed a home run in his previous 82 innings.

The crown now passes to Rick Bauer of the Rangers, who hasn't allowed a home run in his last 46 2/3 innings of work.

• B.J. Ryan blew a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth. It was the fifth time this season that the Blue Jays' bullpen cost
Roy Halladay a victory, tying Halladay for the American League lead with Scott Elarton and Jake Westbrook. John Smoltz leads the majors (6).

• The Twins completed a four-game sweep with their victory over the Devil Rays on Thursday. It was Minnesota's eighth series sweep of three or more games this season, the highest total in franchise history by the end of July. The previous high was seven in 2003, when the Twins set a franchise record for a full season (11).

• Jose Contreras suffered his second consecutive defeat in the White Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tigers. Contreras wasn't the first pitcher ever to lose consecutive starts to snap a streak of 17 or more wins, but he was the first to do so in 68 years. The last was Johnny Allen (1937–1938). Prior to Allen, it was done by Pat Luby (1891) and Mickey Welch (1885).

• Carlos Zambrano improved his record to 10-3 in the Cubs' 4-1 victory over the Astros. Zambrano is only the fourth pitcher in the last 10 seasons to post a record of 0-2 or worse in April but reach the 10-win mark by the end of July. The others: Barry Zito in 2005, Livan Hernandez in 2000, and Tim Belcher in 1998.

• Brandon Webb induced four double-play groundouts in his victory over the Dodgers, raising his total for the season to 22 GDPs to take the National League lead from Miguel Batista (20).
Barry Zito leads the majors (23).

• Ervin Santana issued eight walks in 4 1/3 innings in the Angels 9-4 loss to the Royals. Santana threw 103 pitches, 57 for balls -- the highest total by a starting pitcher in less than five innings of work since Jeff Suppan threw 61 balls in 4 2/3 innings against the Reds in 2004.

• The Angels committed four errors in their loss. It was the sixth game this season in which Los Angeles made three or more errors, tying the Indians for the most such games in the majors. This season's combined record of teams that committed at least three errors in a game is 17-73 (.189).

• The Braves acquired Bob Wickman on Thursday, and Wickman's hours might be changing for his new employer. Wickman has pitched one inning or less in his last 127 saves -- by far the longest streak in major league history, dating back to September 2000. No other pitcher has reached the 100-mark.

But few managers ask their closers to work overtime more often than Bobby Cox does. Over the last six seasons, during which time Wickman has never earned a save of more than one inning, Braves pitchers have done so 53 times. Only three teams have higher totals: Yankees, 62; Devil Rays, 57; White Sox, 54.


• Chivas overcame a 2-1 deficit by scoring two goals while playing a man up, but the Goats surrendered a game-tying goal in stoppage time for a 3-3 tie in Colorado. That kept intact Chivas's record of never having won a game in which it trailed at any time (0-28--8). That streak of 36 games without a victory when trailing is the longest in MLS history.

• Mike Petke was shown the red card that put the Rapids down a man. It was the fifth red of Petke's MLS career. Only 10 other players in MLS history have been red carded at least five times, and two are current teammates of Petke: Pablo Mastroeni (6) and Clint Mathis (5).

• Terry Cooke assisted on two of the Rapids' goals, to become the first MLS player this season to reach double-figures. Cooke has 10 assists in 17 games. The last player to reach double-figures in 17 or fewer games was Preki in his MVP season of 2003 (16 games).


• Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland shot a six-under 66 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the British Open. Among those who shot 67s were Tiger Woods and a pair of golfers from England, Greg Owen and Anthony Wall. It's the first time since 1986 that golfers from the U.K. ranked 1-2 after the opening round of the British Open. Twenty years ago, Ian Woosnam of Wales was the Thursday leader, and the runners-up included Gordon Brand (Scotland), Nick Faldo (England), and Robert Lee (England).


• The Penguins acquired left wing Nils Ekman from the Sharks on Thursday. Ekman had a plus-50 plus/minus differential over the last two NHL seasons combined, the highest of any forward and tied for fourth highest in the league over that span. The top five:
Marek Malik (+63), Wade Redden (+56), Mathieu Schneider (+55),
Zdeno Chara (+50), and Ekman (+50).