Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Thursday marked the first day in major league history with two games in which each team led off its half of the first inning with a home run. That happened in both the Yankees-Orioles and White Sox-Royals games. There have been five such games this season, matching the total in the major leagues for the entire decade of the 1980s. There were six instances in the 1990s and seven from 2000-05.
The White Sox-Royals game was the first in major league history in which both teams led off the first and second innings with a home run.
• Ken Griffey Jr. homered on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Jeff Weaver in the seventh inning at St. Louis. It was the longest at-bat in the major leagues to end in a home run since Miguel Cabrera went deep on a 13-pitch at-bat against Vicente Padilla on Sept. 23, 2004.
• Scott Kazmir struck out 10 batters and did not allow a run in five innings against Toronto. It's been more than 40 years since a major leaguer produced a pitching line with five or fewer innings, 10 or more strikeouts and no runs allowed. The Angels' Dan Osinski (5-10-0, just like Kazmir) did that in relief on May 29, 1964, against the Orioles. Kazmir is the only starting pitcher who has done that since 1920, the beginning of the live-ball era.
• Mark Grudzielanek was intentionally walked to load the bases in the ninth inning with the White Sox protecting a one-run lead against the Royals. Ozzie Guillen's strategy worked when Mike Sweeney grounded into a game-ending double play. Only two other American League players ended a game this season by grounding into a double play with the tying run on third base: Jason Giambi on May 26 and Garret Anderson on May 28.
Here's what made Guillen's decision so daring: Sweeney entered that at-bat with a .417 career batting average with the bases loaded, the highest mark for any active player with at least 75 at-bats with the bases full.
• Carl Crawford had three stolen bases for the second straight game. Prior to Crawford, the last three players to steal at least three bases in consecutive games were Luis Castillo (in 2000), Rickey Henderson (in 1983, 1988 and 1993) and Amos Otis (in 1975).
• Chris Duncan had three hits in each game of the Cardinals' three-game series against the Reds. In the last 10 years, only one other rookie had three or more hits in each of three consecutive games against the same team -- and that was also a St. Louis player against Cincinnati: Bo Hart in June 2003.
• Kenny Rogers pitched five innings and got the win against Texas, ending a record streak. Rogers was winless in all six of his starts after having started the All-Star Game, tying the longest streak of that type. Jack Armstrong (1990 Reds) and Dave Stenhouse (1962 Senators) also went six consecutive starts without a victory immediately after an All-Star Game start.
• Rookie Kevin Frandsen homered for the Giants in the top of the ninth inning of their 8-4 win in San Diego, and fellow rookie Josh Barfield hit a grand slam for the Padres in the bottom of the ninth. It was the first time in the 38-year history of the Giants-Padres rivalry that a rookie homered for each team in the same inning of the same game.
• Houston starter Jason Hirsh earned his first major league victory and the Astros ended a five-game losing streak in their win at Milwaukee. Fourteen other pitchers active in 2006 earned their first win in the big leagues by starting a game that ended a team losing streak of at least five games. Among those 14 are Mariano Rivera (who began his career as a starter), John Smoltz and Greg Maddux.
• Edgar Renteria was hitless is his last 24 at-bats -- the longest current streak for any active non-pitcher -- before he slapped three consecutive singles in the Braves' win at Washington. It was the longest drought ended with three consecutive hits in one game by a Braves player since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966. In the last two years, the only other major league player to end a skid of 0-for-24 or worse with three consecutive hits in one game was Bronson Arroyo, who did that June 3 this season.
• Oscar Villarreal, making his first start since April 2003, threw five shutout innings in the Braves' 5-0 win. Villarreal was the first pitcher to throw at least five scoreless innings in his first start in the majors in at least three years (since Pittsburgh's Salomon Torres did that with 8 1/3 shutout innings against Atlanta on Sept. 3, 2002).
• Colorado jumped to a 6-0 lead against Brandon Webb after two innings. That equaled the most runs that Webb has allowed in his first two innings of a major league game. The Rockies did that to him Sept. 23, 2003, scoring six runs, all in the first inning, en route to a 20-9 win over the Diamondbacks.
• Two Yankees pitchers had long steaks snapped Thursday. Jaret Wright entered the Yankees' game against Baltimore having not allowed a home run in 50 1/3 consecutive innings, which was the longest current streak for any pitcher in the majors, but he allowed a first-inning leadoff homer to Brian Roberts. Ron Villone had not had a base stolen against him in his last 123 2/3 innings, the second-longest current streak for any AL pitcher, but Corey Patterson stole second base while Villone was facing his first batter.
• Junior Seau is considering coming out of his brief retirement to sign with the Patriots. Seau could get the lowdown on what it's like to play for Bill Belichick from the 14 NFL linebackers who made a Pro Bowl and at some point in their professional careers had Belichick as either their head coach, assistant head coach, coordinator or position coach: Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Brad Van Pelt, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Clay Matthews, Mike Johnson, Chris Slade, Bryan Cox, Mo Lewis, James Farrior, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and Chad Brown.
• Billy Andrade's 5-under-par 67 put him in third place after the opening round of the 2006 PGA Championship. Andrade has played in 41 previous major championships as a professional and missed the cut in 22 of them. That rate of 54 percent of cuts missed is the second-highest for players who have participated in at least 40 majors. Only Mark Brooks (57 percent) has missed a higher percentage of cuts in majors than Andrade.
• Davis Love III played the first nine holes at 6 under par. It was Love's career-best score for holes one through nine in the opening round of a major championship. His previous best was 4 under at the 1997 PGA Championship (which he went on to win) and the 1997 British Open.
• Love's 6 under on the front nine matched the lowest score in relation to par by a player on the front nine in the opening round of a major championship over the past 10 seasons. Steve Webster carded an opening-nine 6 under at the 2005 British Open. Webster went on to shoot a 41 on the back nine for a 71.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Clips CEO: Doc wants out if Sterling stays
- Sterling sues NBA, wife, others for damages
- Sources: Bulls join Cavs in Love trade push
- Dungy seeks to clarify Sam comments