Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Better late than never, so we'll start today's column with a few items from Tuesday night's games that required additional research time.
An extraordinary streak ended when Phil Garner wrote Craig Biggio's name in the sixth slot on his lineup card for the Astros' 14-0 loss to the Reds Tuesday night. That snapped a streak of 2,276 starts in which Biggio batted first, second or third in Houston's order, dating back to Sept. 22, 1990.
How long ago was that, you ask? When Biggio started his streak, he was a catcher; it would be 53 weeks before he would make his first start at second base. Biggio's streak began one day before Emmitt Smith scored the first touchdown of his NFL career. "Vision of Love," Mariah Carey's first single, was still on the charts, as was "Ice Ice Baby."
Biggio's streak was the longest of its type since Pete Rose batted in one of the top three spots in the Reds', Phillies', or Expos' batting order in 2,957 consecutive games from 1966 to the end of his playing career in 1986.
• Adrian Beltre's walkoff home run on Tuesday night ended the Mariners' 11-game losing streak. There have been four such homers since 2000 -- that is, a walkoff homer to end a losing streak longer than 10 games. The others: Freddy Sanchez (2006 Pirates), Brandon Inge (2003 Tigers), Randy Winn (2002 Devil Rays). But there was only one during the entire 1900s, and it was hit by -- of all people -- Marvelous Marv Throneberry to end a 13-game streak by the 1962 Mets.
• On to Wednesday's games: Scott Olsen improved his record to 10-7 in the Marlins' 9-7 victory over the Nationals, joining his rookie teammates Josh Johnson (11-6) and Ricky Nolasco (11-8), who previously reached double figures in wins. Florida is the first team in 54 years with three rookies with 10 or more victories. The last was the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers: Joe Black (15-4), Billy Loes (13-8), and Ben Wade (11-9).
The Marlins batted around in both the first and second innings. The Marlins are the only National League team to do that this season, and they've done it twice (also on May 14 against the Pirates). The only AL team to do it is the Rangers (Aug. 11 against the Mariners).
• Two Sundays ago, the Indians scored 11 runs in the first inning against the Royals. On Wednesday, Kansas City returned the favor by scoring 10 times in the first inning vs. Cleveland. That marks the first time in major-league history that a pair of opposing teams have put up double-digit first innings against each other in the same season.
The Royals became the 81st team to score at least 10 runs in the first inning. Their 15-13 loss to the Indians was the first of those games to reach extra innings, only the third in which the opposing team rallied to tie the game or take the lead. The only other team to lose a game in which it scored 10 or more first-inning runs was the 1989 Pirates (an 15-11 loss to the Phillies).
So how do you figure baseball? The home team had won the last 13 games between the Royals and Indians (six in Kansas City, seven in Cleveland), the longest streak within one season in 15 years. On Wednesday night, the home team took a 10-1 lead in the first inning and lost. Crazy.
• Jason Schmidt blew an early 4-1 lead, and the Giants trailed the Diamondbacks when he left the game after six innings. But San Francisco rallied for a 7-6 win, its 16th consecutive victory when Schmidt has started against Arizona. Over the last 30 years, the only other team to win 16 in a row with a particular starting pitcher against the same opponent was the Orioles, who won 17 straight against the Twins behind Mike Flanagan from 1977 to 1983.
• The Astros scored six runs in the seventh inning of their 7-3 win over the Reds, and the winning run was delivered by an unlikely source. Morgan Ensberg drew a bases-loaded walk to push across the lead run. Ensberg is 0-for-7 this season with the bases loaded, and he is hitless in his last 25 at-bats in late-inning pressure situations.
Willy Taveras extended his hitting streak to 26 games, an Astros record, with a bunt single in the fifth inning, the third time in the last seven games that Taveras's first hit came via a bunt.
• Steve Trachsel recorded his 11th win in his last 12 decisions in the Mets' 10-8 victory over the Cardinals. Trachsel leads the majors in wins since the start of that streak on June 9.
Jose Vizcaino homered in his debut for the Cardinals, five days after Preston Wilson did the same. That wouldn't be unusual in April, when many players make their first appearance for a new team. But players hitting home runs in their debut for the same team less than a week apart as late as August? That happened just two other times in the last 30 years: Kent Hrbek and Tim Laudner on the 1981 Twins, and Alex Gonzalez and Randy Knorr on the 1998 Marlins.
Here's something we don't see often, and by a pitcher with the résumé of Mark Mulder, no less. Mulder allowed nine earned runs for the second consecutive start. Only three other pitchers did so in the last 50 years: Chris Holt and Jose Lima, teammates on the 2000 Astros; and John Thomson of the Rockies in 1998.
• Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas had two hits each and combined for five RBI in the A's 6-0 victory over the Blue Jays. Oakland has a 20-8 record with Bradley and Thomas starting and batting in the third and fourth slots, respectively.
Esteban Loaiza pitched a four-hit shutout for the A's, becoming the first visiting pitcher in nine years to shut out the Blue Jays in Toronto without walking a batter. The last pitcher to do so was Denny Neagle of the Braves in 1997.
• Matt Garza, the 25th pick in the 2005 amateur draft, earned his first major-league win in the Twins' 4-1 victory over the Orioles. The only other pitchers from the 2005 draft to have won a game in the majors to date are Mike Pelfrey of the Mets (2-1) and Craig Hansen of the Red Sox (1-1).
• Bill Parcells announced on Wednesday that quarterback Drew Henson would not be on the Cowboys' 53-man roster this season. For those scoring at home, Henson started two games in his major-league baseball career (for the Yankees in 2003) and one NFL game (for the Cowboys in 2004).
Henson's finest hour came on Nov. 21, 2004, when he relieved an injured Vinny Testaverde and went 6-for-6 with a touchdown against the Ravens. That was an NFL record for most passes without an incompletion or interception in a player's NFL "debut." For purposes of this mark, debut is defined as the first game in which the player threw a pass.