Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Jake Peavy brought a 2-11 record in games following Padres' losses into Saturday night's game against the Reds, who, yes, had defeated San Diego the previous night. So, what happened? Peavy threw a masterpiece: a complete-game victory, with 14 strikeouts, allowing only two hits.
You have to go back more than three years to find the last major leaguer who threw a complete game, striking out at least 14 and allowing as few as two hits; the last to do it was Wade Miller for Houston at Wrigley Field on May 30, 2003. And in San Diego's 38-year big-league history, this was the first complete game of 14-or-more strikeouts and two-or-fewer hits allowed.
• Barry Bonds hit his 20th home run of the season on Saturday, 40 days after his 42nd birthday. It's the 18th season in which Bonds has hit at least 20 home runs, passing Willie Mays and Frank Robinson (each of whom did it 17 times) and leaving him second to Hank Aaron (20) on the major leagues' all-time list of 20-homer seasons.
Bonds became the oldest major leaguer to connect for his 20th homer in a season; no one else had hit number 20 after turning 42. The closest to doing it were Dave Winfield, who hit his 20th of the 1993 season a month before his 42nd birthday; and Ted Williams, who hit his 20th of the 1960 season just 20 days before blowing out 42 candles.
• The Dodgers boosted to their league-leading batting average with runners in scoring position to .290 in their 14-5 win over the Rockies. The Dodgers last led the National League in that category in 1988, the year of their last World Series appearance (and championship).
• Yankees reliever Ron Villone found out what 11 other lefties did before him: that Justin Morneau can take a lefty deep just like that. Morneau's three-run homer in the eighth inning -- a line drive down the left-field line -- was the decisive blow in Minnesota's 6-1 win in the Bronx.
Morneau's total of 12 home runs off left-handed pitchers not only ranks fourth among left-handed batters in the majors this season (behind Travis Hafner, 16; David Ortiz, 15; and Ryan Howard, 13). It also stands as the highest such total for any left-handed batter in the 106-year history of the franchise, going back to its pre-1961 days as the Washington Senators.
• Derek Jeter took over second place in the American League batting race from Ichiro Suzuki back on July 23; at the time, Jeter was batting .344 -- some 37 points behind Joe Mauer, who was at .381. Jeter has held second place ever since.
As recently as nine days ago -- through games of Aug. 24 -- Mauer held a 26-point lead (.361 to .335). But over those nine days, Jeter has gained ground; he did so again on Saturday, going 1-for-2 to Mauer's 1-for-3 in a rain-shortened game. Over the nine days, Jeter has gone 14-for-30 while Mauer is 3-for-21, shaving the Minnesota catcher's lead to seven points, .350 to .343. That's Mauer's narrowest lead since he assumed the league lead from Toronto's Alex Rios back on June 6.
Burnett became the first visitor to throw a complete-game victory of nine or more innings at Fenway Park in nearly three years -- since Bartolo Colon did so in a White Sox uniform on Sept. 13, 2003. (The Red Sox had played 236 home games in the interim.)
• How many times have you seen it? A lefty reliever is brought in to face a lefty batter in the ninth inning, protecting a one-run lead, and that batter hits a go-ahead home run? That's what Adam LaRoche did against Arthur Rhodes in the Braves' 4-3 win at Philadelphia.
But actually, to answer the question, had you watched every major-league game over the past 20 years, you would have seen that happen exactly twice (prior to LaRoche). In 2003, Scott Podsednik, then with the Brewers, rehearsed for his 2005 World Series heroics by greeting Pittsburgh lefty Joe Beimel with a three-run homer that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead (and eventual victory); and in 1987, Seattle's Alvin Davis greeted Detroit's Guillermo Hernandez with a two-run blast that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead (and eventual victory).
• It was getting late in the season, and Chone Figgins had not yet put his personal stamp -- the bases-loaded triple -- on any Angels game. So he did just that Saturday night in Detroit, stroking just such a drive off Todd Jones and providing the Angels with the go-ahead runs in the top of the 10th to propel them to a 7-2 win.
It was the third straight year that Figgins had generated a three-run triple; the only other player with such a hit in each of the past three seasons (including this one) is Juan Pierre.
• The matchup between Justin Verlander and Joe Saunders was highly anticipated, and well worth watching. It was scoreless through seven innings, with each pitcher allowing only four hits over that span.
The last time that two rookie starters hooked up in such a game -- each allowing no runs and no more than four hits through seven innings -- was nearly 16 years ago; whoever out there guessed that the last such matchup involved Dave Eiland of the Yankees against Scott Chiamparino of the Rangers, please line up in an orderly manner at the cashier window.
• Mets fans expecting that no pitcher under the age of 34 will start a postseason game for their team -- leaving the postseason the exclusive province of Pedro, Glavine, Trachsel and El Duque -- had best pay heed to what John Maine is doing.
Maine, a 25-year-old right-hander, allowed only two hits in 6 1/3 innings in New York's 4-2 win at Houston. More to the point, that marked the Mets' eighth straight win in games started by Maine, tying a team record for rookies. The Mets won eight consecutive starts by Ron Darling in 1984 and they won eight straight Jason Isringhausen starts in 1995.
• Miguel Batista pitched seven beautiful innings for the Diamondbacks at Washington on Saturday afternoon, but the Arizona bullpen that inherited a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth gave it all back, and then some. The Nationals won 7-6 in 11 innings.
Arizona's bullpen allowed only three hits, but they all went for extra bases: a double by Nick Johnson, a three-run homer by Ryan Church, and a two-run homer by Alfonso Soriano that tied the game in the last of the ninth. That extended the Arizona bullpen's unwanted major-league lead in extra-base hits allowed to 172.
• Ryan Zimmerman drew a bases-loaded walk from Brandon Lyon to provide Washington with the decisive run in its 7-6 win. It was the fourth time this season that Zimmerman has provided a game-winning RBI in walk-off manner; he previously had walk-off homers off Chien-Ming Wang and Joe Borowski and a walkoff single off Jason Vargas.
Only two other major leaguers have won as many games with a walk-off RBI this season: David Wright has done it four times and David Ortiz five times.
• The Orioles won 6-5 at Oakland, withstanding a three-run homer by longtime nemesis Frank Thomas, his 30th home run of the season.
Thomas now has 38 home runs in 438 at-bats vs. Baltimore in his 17-year career; that rate of one homer every 11.5 at-bats is his best against any major-league team that he has faced in 10 or more games. To put that into perspective, The Big Hurt's home run rate against the Orioles is truly better than Ruthian: The Babe averaged one homer every 11.8 at-bats during his career.
• The Royals took a 3-2 lead over the White Sox into the seventh, but Chicago bounced back to take a 5-3 victory. It marked the ninth time this season that Kansas City had lost a home game in which it took a lead into the seventh inning. That's a higher total than any other major league team has this year, or had last year; the only season in which the Royals had a higher total was 1999, when they set an American League record by losing 14 home games in that manner.
• Jermaine Dye's 12-game hitting streak went up in flames Saturday night: The MVP candidate came to the plate four times and struck out four times at Kansas City. Dye's was the longest single-season hitting streak in the majors to end in such a manner -- at least four trips to the plate and a strikeout on every trip -- since Boston's Tim Naehring saw his 13-game streak end the same way against Todd Stottlemyre at Toronto in 1993.
• American League home teams went 0-for-7 on Saturday, as the visiting teams won every game. It was the second day this season on which AL home teams went 0-7; it also happened on July 8.