Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Johan Santana's victory over the Tigers on Sunday raised his record to 31-2 over the past four seasons during August, September and October.
Santana has won his past 15 decisions at the Metrodome. Since Frank Viola won 19 straight regular-season decisions there from 1987-88, only four other pitchers have posted home winning streaks of at least 15 games: Tommy Greene (15, 1991-94), Randy Johnson (16, 1995-97), Kenny Rogers (19, 1997-2000) and Barry Zito (16, 2001-02).
The Twins have won 22 straight home games started by Santana (the longest such streak for any team during the modern era in home games started by a particular pitcher). During that streak (since Aug. 6, 2005), Minnesota is 40-34 at the Metrodome in games started by pitchers other than Santana.
• The Tigers' loss coupled with the Yankees' win at Baltimore catapulted New York ahead of Detroit in the race for the American League's best record. The Tigers had owned sole possession of the league's best mark for the previous 112 days (since May 20). Over the past 50 seasons, only one other team slipped from the top spot in its league in a year in which it had sole possession of that distinction for as many consecutive days as Detroit. In 2003, the Braves owned the NL's best record for 131 straight days before relinquishing it in September.
• Derek Jeter extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games Sunday. Since Joe DiMaggio's 56-game streak in 1941, there have been only three seasons in which a player had a hitting streak of more than 20 games for the Yankees: Joe Gordon in 1942 (29 games), Don Mattingly in 1986 (24) and Bernie Williams in 1993 (21).
Five of the 26 players with 3,000 career hits never fashioned a single-season hitting streak of at least 20 games (Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, Cap Anson and Rickey Henderson). Robb Quinlan has the fewest career hits (180) among players who have had a 20-game streak; he hit safely in 21 straight games for the Angels in 2004.
• Frank Thomas homered in his fifth straight game in the A's 9-7 win over the Devil Rays. It's the third time in his career that Thomas has homered in five straight "team" games; he did it twice for the White Sox in 1994 (separate five-game streaks in April and May). Only three other players have had three such streaks during their careers. Willie Mays homered in five straight games four times; Harmon Killebrew and Barry Bonds each did it three times.
• Five pitchers posted at least 10 strikeouts Sunday: Dontrelle Willis (12), Johan Santana (11), Lance Cormier (10), Javier Vazquez (10) and Dave Bush (10). It was the first time this season that more than three pitchers had double-digit strikeout performances on the same day, and it was the first day that as many as five pitchers struck out 10 batters since Sept. 6, 1998, when six major leaguers did it (Matt Morris, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Chuck Finley, Jeff Fassero and Jaret Wright).
• For the second time in three days, the Mets were defeated by a pitcher who was making his first major league start (Hong-Chih Kuo on Friday and Eric Stults on Sunday). Over the previous 25 seasons (1981-2005), only two pitchers posted a September victory over the team with the best record in the majors in the first start of their career. Detroit's Clint Sodowsky did it against Cleveland (Sept. 4, 1995) as did Kansas City's Brian Bevil, also against the Indians (Sept. 20, 1996).
• Even a weekend series at Fenway couldn't forestall the inevitable any longer. With Sunday's loss to the fading Red Sox, the Royals became the first team in either league to reach the 90-loss mark -- just as they did last season. Over the past 20 years, the only other teams to be the first to reach 90 losses in consecutive seasons were the Tigers (2002-03) and the Marlins (1998-99).
• London Fletcher-Baker scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery 12 seconds into the Bills' 19-17 loss to the Patriots. That equaled the fastest touchdown in NFL history by a team in its opening game of the season. The record was set by Tyronne Drakeford of the Saints in 1999, when he recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff.
• Laurence Maroney gained 27 and 22 yards on his first two NFL carries. The last player to gain at least 20 yards on each of his first two carries was ... a linebacker? Dexter Coakley has carried the ball twice in his NFL career -- for 26 yards in 2000 and 33 yards in 2004.
• Donte' Stallworth gained 141 yards receiving in the Eagles' 24-10 win in Houston. It was the highest receiving total by a veteran player in his debut for a new team since Shawn Jefferson gained 148 yards against the 49ers in the Falcons' opening game in 2000.
• The Ravens (6-10 last season) shut out the Bucs 27-0 at Tampa on Sunday. Baltimore is only the fourth team to record a shutout in its opening game following a season in which it suffered at least 10 losses. None of the other three teams won their shutout by as many as 20 points, and the only one to do so on the road was the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers went 2-12 in 1931 and traveled all the way to Staten Island to open the 1932 season with a 7-0 win over the Stapletons.
• Matt Hasselbeck completed 25 of 30 passes (83 percent) in the Seahawks' 9-6 win at Detroit. That was the highest completion percentage in NFL history by a player with at least 20 completions in a game in which his team didn't score a touchdown.
• The Jets defeated the Titans 23-16 in the debut of their 36-year-old head coach, Eric Mangini. The past three coaches as young as Mangini to win their debuts were named Cowher, Shula and Madden. We hate to spoil a good story, but the Shula wasn't Hall of Famer Don. It was his son Dave with the Bengals in 1992.
• The Cardinals scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and held on for a 34-27 win over the 49ers in the inaugural game at Cardinals Stadium. It was the first time that a home team scored three TDs in the first period of its first game at a stadium since the Redskins did so in 1961 in their opening game at D.C. Stadium, now known as RFK Stadium. Prior to 1961, the Redskins played their home games at Griffith Stadium.
It was the first time since 1975 that the Cardinals scored three touchdowns in the first quarter. The 1975 Cardinals were based in St. Louis, and their last such game was played at Shea Stadium, the former home of the Jets.
• Reggie Bush gained 61 yards rushing and 58 receiving in the Saints' 19-14 victory at Cleveland. Bush's total of 119 yards from scrimmage was the highest by a Heisman Trophy winner in his NFL debut since 1982, when Marcus Allen gained 180 yards (116 rushing, 64 receiving).
• The Bears defeated the Packers 26-0, equaling the second-largest shutout score by a visiting team at Lambeau Field. The Bears shut out the Packers by the same score in 1977, and the Lions won 40-0 in 1970.
It was the first time in Brett Favre's 222 regular-season starts that the Packers failed to score. That had been the most starts in NFL history by a QB who had never been shut out, a distinction that reverts to Steve DeBerg (140 starts).
• Chad Pennington completed two passes to Laveranues Coles that traveled more than 30 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Coles gained 41 and 38 yards on those plays. Pennington had two such completions in the same game only once before, with completions to Santana Moss (for 48 yards) and Jonathan Carter (46 yards) against the Redskins on Sept. 19, 2004.
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