Elias Says ...

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

Updated: July 24, 2006, 2:03 AM ET
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. | Special to ESPN Insider

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

MLB

 Jon Lester
Lester
• Jon Lester started for the Red Sox at Seattle on Sunday after Kason Gabbard made his big-league debut in that role on Saturday. It was the first time in almost 25 years that Boston started rookie left-handed pitchers in consecutive games (since Bruce Hurst and Bob Ojeda in September 1981).

Richie Sexson led off the ninth inning with a game-ending homer off Mike Timlin to give the Mariners a 9-8 win. It was the 20th time in his career that Timlin was on the mound for a walk-off loss. Only three current pitchers have met that fate more often than Timlin: Roberto Hernandez (30 times), Trevor Hoffman (23) and Mike Stanton (22).

• Minnesota pitchers had 17 strikeouts in the Twins' 3-1 victory at Cleveland; Francisco Liriano set the pace with 10 strikeouts in a five-inning stint. Each player in the Indians' starting lineup struck out at least once, as did two Cleveland pinch hitters. It was the first time since September 1997 (Seattle vs. Oakland) that a team playing with a designated hitter in the lineup had as many as 11 different players strike out in a nine-inning game.

 Joe Mauer
Mauer
Joe Mauer went 2-for-2 as Minnesota's designated hitter, raising his season average to .381. Mauer is batting .564 as a DH this year (22-for-39), collecting at least two hits in eight of his 11 games in that role. Only two players have posted a single-season batting average of .500 or better in that many at-bats as a designated hitter: Jim Dwyer (.538, 21-for-39 for the 1980 Red Sox) and Rico Carty (.500, 25-for-50 for the 1974 Indians).

• The Astros avoided a sweep with a victory over the Mets in their series finale at Shea Stadium. Here's one for you: Despite owning the National League's best record, Willie Randolph's New York club is the only team in the majors that hasn't swept a home series of three-or-more games this season!

It was the third time this year that the Mets won the first two games of a three-game set at Shea only to lose the finale (the other series were during May against the Braves and Phillies).

 Jered Weaver
Weaver
• Jered Weaver is still perfect after Sunday's victory at Kansas City, winning for the seventh time in seven major-league starts. Only one other pitcher who debuted in the last 60 years (1947-2006) won his first seven starts in the majors -- Fernando Valenzuela won his first eight in 1981.

• Erik Bedard won his seventh straight start as the Orioles defeated the Devil Rays, 4-2. No Baltimore pitcher had won that many consecutive starts since Jimmy Key won seven in a row in 1997. Chris Ray earned his second six-out save this year, tying him with Mariano Rivera, B.J. Ryan and Elmer Dessens for the most saves of two-or-more-innings in the majors this season.

• The Cardinals completed a sweep of their season series against the Dodgers and set a franchise record by homering in their 19th straight game. But that's not even the longest current streak of its kind in the majors. Edgar Renteria and Jeff Francoeur homered in Atlanta's victory at Philadelphia to extend the Braves' home-run streak to 22 games (three games shy of the NL record set by Atlanta in 1998).

• Shaun Marcum posted the first win of his career as the Blue Jays took the series finale against the Yankees. Marcum was the fourth pitcher in the last four weeks to earn his first major-league victory by defeating the Yankees. Seattle's Mark Lowe did it on Wednesday (in relief), as did Cleveland's Jeremy Sowers (July 3) and Florida's Anibal Sanchez (June 25). Prior to Sanchez, no starting pitcher had posted his first big-league win against the Yankees since Gustavo Chacin (Sept. 20, 2004).

• Toronto broke the game open with an eight-run third inning that featured a two-run homer off the bat of Troy Glaus and three-run shots from both Eric Hinske and Reed Johnson. It was the second straight day, and the third time in an eight-day span, that a team hit three homers with men on base in one inning. Tampa Bay did it Saturday as did the Mets last Sunday night, but prior to that, no team had three multiple-run homers in one inning since the Astros did it almost two years ago (Aug. 19, 2004). The Blue Jays have hit at least three home runs in an inning 25 times in their history, but Sunday marked the first time they ever hit three in an inning with runners on base.

• The Nationals completed their three-game sweep of the Cubs, winning by scores of 7-6, 7-3 and 7-1. It was the first time in the history of RFK Stadium that the home team swept a series of at least three games while scoring at least seven runs in each game. Since 1939, fans in the Nation's Capital witnessed only one other such occurrence; that was at Griffith Stadium in June 1959, when the original Washington Senators swept three games from the Kansas City Athletics by scores of 8-5, 7-2 and 7-5.

 Scott Podsednik
Podsednik
• Scott Podsednik drove in two runs with ground outs and another with a solo home run to lead the White Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Rangers. In Chicago's loss on Saturday, Podsednik struck out as a pinch-hitter, failing to deliver the potential go-ahead run from third base with one out in the seventh inning. But productive outs by Podsednik drove in each of the White Sox' first two runs on Sunday; he's driven in 87 percent of runners from third base with less than two outs this season (13 of 15), the highest percentage for any AL player (minimum: 15 chances).

• The Tigers scored six first-inning runs and held on for an 8-4 win over Oakland one day after they wasted a five-run first inning in a 9-5 loss to A's. Detroit was the first team to score at least five runs during the first inning in each of back-to-back games since the Reds did it in September 2004. The Tigers hadn't scored at least five first-inning runs in two straight games since 2000, and hadn't done it in back-to-back games, both at home, since August 1993 at Tiger Stadium.

• The Pirates' record dropped to 35-65 with a Sunday's loss against Florida. Over the past 50 years, there's been only one other season in which Pittsburgh had a poorer record through its first 100 games. The 1985 Pirates went 32-68 en route to a 104-loss season.

British Open
• Tiger Woods had a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the British Open and finished with a two-stroke victory over Chris DiMarco. Tiger has won all 11 major tournaments that he's led going into the final round, accounting for each of his major titles.

For the seventh time, Woods increased his lead from the third round to the fourth round while winning a major. His largest such increase was at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, when he led by 10 strokes heading into the final round on his way to a 15-stroke victory.

 Sergio Garcia
Garcia
• Sergio Garcia was in second place after three rounds of play at Royal Liverpool GC, but he began Sunday's final round by playing the first three holes at two-over-par. From 1995 to 2005, only three of the 28 players who ranked among the top two through the third round of play at the British Open shot two-over-par or worse on the first three holes of the final round: Jean Van De Velde in 1999, Ian Woosnam in 2001 and Davis Love III in 2003.

Garcia shot a four-over-par 39 on the front nine. Was it a case of déjà vu? At the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, Garcia was one shot off the lead heading into the final round when he opened the front nine that Sunday with a four-over-par 39 en route to a 12th-place finish.

Soccer
• Cat Whitehill scored two goals in the U.S. women's national team's 5-0 victory over Ireland on Sunday. It was Whitehill's second multiple-goal game for the national team, the other coming against North Korea in the 2003 World Cup. Only two other defenders have recorded a pair of two-goal games for the U.S.: Joy Fawcett and Carla Overbeck.

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