Elias Says ... Verlander shines
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Justin Verlander became the first rookie in Tigers history to win a postseason game as a starter. In fact, no rookie starter won a game for any team during the past three postseasons (2003-2005). Prior to Verlander's ALDS appearance, only one rookie pitcher had ever started a postseason game for Detroit. That was Ed Summers, who started and lost Game 4 of the 1908 World Series to the Cubs, 3-0, against Hall-of-Famer Mordecai Brown.
• Alexis Gomez had four RBI in his postseason debut after driving in only six runs during the regular season. The only other players to have a four-RBI game in the postseason in a year in which they had fewer than 10 RBI during regular season are Mike Cuellar (ALCS) and Dave McNally (World Series), both for the 1970 Orioles (and in case you didn't know, both pitchers).
• Carlos Guillen started Game 2 at first base after starting the series opener at shortstop. In postseason history, only two players started games at both of those positions in their career, no less in consecutive games (Nomar Garciaparra and Mariano Duncan).
• Jay Payton has hit safely in his last 11 postseason games (dating back to the 2000 NLCS), giving him the longest current postseason hitting streak for any player who was active in the major leagues in 2006. The last player to fashion a hitting streak in the postseason as long as Payton's was Albert Pujols, who had an 11-game streak from 2004 to 2005.
• Milton Bradley became the first player to homer form both sides of the plate in a League Championship Series game and he joined Chipper Jones (2003 NLDS) and Bernie Williams, who did it twice (1995 and 1996 ALDS), as the only players to do it in a postseason game.
Bradley wasn't the first A's player to hit two homers in a postseason defeat. Reggie Jackson did it in an elimination loss to the Orioles in Game 3 of the 1971 ALCS.
• Six straight Oakland batters went down on strikes at the hands of three different Detroit relievers (Jason Grilli, Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones), spanning innings seven though nine. That set a League Championship Series record and tied the all-time postseason mark for consecutive strikeouts, done five times previously, but only once in the past 20 years (1986-2005).
• Mathieu Schneider netted the second hat trick of his career in the Red Wings' 9-2 romp over the Coyotes. Schneider, 37, is the oldest defenseman in NHL history to score three goals in a game, breaking a record he set himself on Nov. 26, 2005 at San Jose, when he was a youthful 36.
Schneider was the first defenseman with three even-strength goals in one game since Sami Salo did it for Ottawa in March 1999. He joins Sandis Ozolinsh as the only active defensemen with two career hat tricks.
• Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring with the Red Wings' first power-play goal of the season (their first of two for the night). Detroit had failed to score in 11 previous man-advantage opportunities. That leaves Dallas (no PPG in nine opportunities) and Pittsburgh (0-for-8) as the only NHL teams without a power-play goal this season.
• The Hurricanes dropped to 0-3-1 for the season with a 6-3 loss to the Panthers. The only other defending Stanley Cup champion to begin a season without winning any of its first four games was the Maple Leafs in 1945. Toronto tied its season opener that year and then lost five in a row before posting its initial victory.
• Jacques Lemaire, the only head coach in Minnesota Wild history, signed a contract extension with the club Wednesday. Lemaire has coached 413 regular-season games for the Wild. Only two other original coaches of NHL teams held that position for at least 400 consecutive games: Lester Patrick with the New York Rangers (604 games, 1926-27 to 1938-39) and current Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz (576 games, 1998-99 to date).
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