Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Marlins defeated the Braves, 6-1, on Thursday to improve their record to 47-53 at the 100-game mark -- an unprecedented rebound following an 11-31 start. Florida not only has the best record in the National League since May 20 (36-24), but it's the first team in major-league history to win as many as 47 of its first 100 games after losing 29 or more of its first 40.
• Scott Olsen pitched six scoreless innings to earn the victory for the Marlins, improving his record to 9-4. Olsen hasn't received the publicity of the other rookies with as many as nine wins, Justin Verlander (13-4) and Francisco Liriano (12-2). But he and his Marlins teammates could make history.
Olsen leads National League rookies in wins, and his teammates Josh Johnson (8-5) and Ricky Nolasco (8-6), rank second and third. No National League team has ever accounted for the league's three winningest rookies. The only team in MLB history to do it was the 1936 Philadelphia A's, with a much less impressive group: Harry Kelley (15-12), Buck Ross (9-14), and Herman Fink (8-16). If you never heard of those rookies, you might be more familiar with two who tied for fifth in wins among the A.L. rookie class of 1936: Monty Stratton (5-7) and Bob Feller (5-3).
• As the Alfonso Soriano Watch approaches zero hour, the player considered most likely to be traded continues to drive up his market value. Soriano hit a first-inning leadoff home run and drew two walks in the Nationals 6-5 win over the Giants. Soriano has a .380 batting average with eight home runs during July. No player in either league can match his figures in both categories this month.
If Soriano is in fact traded, he has probably played his final game of the season at RFK Stadium, where he has hit 18 homers in 49 games in 2006. Only one other player hit more than 15 home runs in a season at RFK stadium: Frank Howard, who did it four times (27 in 1969, 24 in 1970, 19 in 1967, and 18 in 1968).
• OK, it was a day game after a night game, so we understand why Barry Bonds wouldn't start. But when Eliezer Alfonzo's two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth pulled the Giants within one run of the Nationals, wouldn't ya think? Todd Greene, homerless in 108 at-bats this season, struck out to end the game. Giants manager Felipe Alou said of Bonds afterwards, "I saw him & with a bat in the tunnel. But by that time, the game was over."
• Trevor Hoffman blew a two-run ninth-inning lead in the Padres' 9-8 loss to the Rockies. It was Hoffman's third blown save in six opportunities since the All-Star Game (when he blew a 2-1 lead and took the loss in the A.L.'s 3-2 victory). Those three blown saves are as many as Hoffman suffered in his previous 70 opportunities, dating back to April 2005.
• Josh Barfield hit a pair of home runs in the Padres' loss. Two other rookie second basemen -- Dan Uggla and Ian Kinsler -- had two-homer games earlier this season. There was only one other season in major-league history in which three different rookie second basemen did so: Michael Young, Cesar Crespo, and Jose Ortiz in 2001.
• Tom Gordon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 25th save of the season in the Phillies' 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks. It was Gordon's league-leading 13th "perfect save" of the season, tying J.J. Putz, Mariano Rivera, and Huston Street for second in the majors, behind Jonathan Papelbon (16).
• Adam Dunn went 3-for-3 with a home run and two walks in the Reds' 8-4 win over the Astros. It was Dunn's second consecutive "perfect night" at the plate; he went 4-for-4 on Wednesday night. Dunn was 3-for-3 or better only once in 732 previous career starts and that was in 2002.
• Elizardo Ramirez of the Reds struck out seven consecutive batters during his victory over the Astros. Over the last five seasons, the only other pitcher to record seven straight strikeouts was Kerry Wood (2004 against the Braves). Prior to Thursday night, Ramirez had never fanned as many as four batters in a row.
• The Cubs trail the Cardinals by 18 games in the N.L. Central, but Thursday night's 5-4 victory was Chicago's fourth over St. Louis this season in which it trailed by two or more runs. That equals the highest total by any team over an opponent this season. The Red Sox have four such wins over the Yankees, and the Tigers have four over the Royals.
• Corey Pavin shot an eight-under 26 on the front nine in the opening round of the U.S. Bank Championship. Pavin opened the tournament with six consecutive birdies, the longest streak of sub-par holes in any round of his PGA career.
• The last player to start a PGA tournament with six consecutive birdies was Peter Jacobson at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro in 2003.
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