Elias Says ...

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.

Updated: April 5, 2007, 1:34 AM ET
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc. | Special to ESPN Insider

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

MLB

• With its loss to the Mets, St. Louis became only the second defending champion since 1974 to begin a season 0-3. The only other reigning World Series winner to do so over that period were the 1984 Orioles, who lost their first four games. The last National League team to start 0-3 the season after winning it all was the 1965 Cardinals.

With 6-1, 4-1 and 10-0 losses, the Cardinals became the second defending World Series champs to begin a season 0-3 while scoring as few as two runs. In 1914, Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, who had beaten the New York Giants four games to one the previous October, dropped their first three games. They lost 8-2 and 4-0 to the Yankees at the Polo Grounds in New York, and then lost 1-0 to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mack, "The Tall Tactician," righted the ship, however: The A's went 99-50 the rest of the way and won the American League pennant.

Braden Looper
Looper
Braden Looper was the losing pitcher for the Cardinals; it was the first start of Looper's career following a streak of 572 consecutive games as a reliever. Only two pitchers had more relief appearances at the time of their first major league start than Looper: Todd Jones (632) and Chuck McElroy (603).

• Manny Acta posted his first managerial victory in the majors when the Nationals scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a comeback from a 6-1 deficit and defeat the Marlins 7-6. Acta became the first manager to earn his first big-league triumph in a game in which his team trailed by as many as five runs since Bobby Cox did it in 1978 (Braves over Padres 8-7).

Grady Sizemore
Sizemore
Grady Sizemore encored his first-inning leadoff homer in Monday's season opener with a two-run, seventh-inning shot that lifted the Indians to an 8-7 win over the White Sox. Sizemore tied a franchise record, becoming the ninth player to homer for the Tribe in each of the club's first two games of a season. Only three others did it in the past 50 years: Russell Branyan (2001), Kevin Mitchell (1997) and Albert Belle (1995).

Cleveland has scored 20 runs this season (12-5 and 8-7 victories), matching the third-highest total in franchise history through the team's first two games of a season. The Indians had two-game totals of 24 runs in 1977, 23 in 1925 and 20 in 1995.

• The Tigers built a 9-0 lead on the strength of an eight-run third inning but they barely held on for a 10-9 win over the Blue Jays, who scored seven times in the eighth inning. It was the ninth major league game since 2000 (including three last season) in which each team scored at least seven runs in an inning. There were only five such games in the majors over the previous 20 years (1980 through 1999).

• The Rockies scored seven runs in the eighth inning of their 11-4 win over the Diamondbacks, all off J.D. Durbin, who lasted only two-thirds of an inning in his first big-league appearance since 2004. Over the last 25 years (since 1983), only one other reliever made a season debut in which he was charged at least seven runs while pitching less than an inning. That was Seattle's Salomon Torres, who began his 1997 season by allowing seven runs in one-third of an inning in a 16-2 loss to the Yankees.

Salomon Torres
Torres
• Speaking of Torres, the Pirates completed a three-game sweep of the Astros with Salomon Torrez notching a save in each game. Last year, Derrick Turnbow became the first pitcher in major league history to save each of his team's first three games of a season.

Scott Thorman's game-winning homer in the 10th inning tagged Ryan Madson with his second loss of the year as the Braves defeated the Phillies 3-2. Over the last 88 years (since 1920), only two other pitchers lost their team's first two games of a season: Harvey Haddix, who did it for the 1954 Cardinals, and Bill Campbell, for the 1977 Red Sox.

Joe Mauer
Mauer
• The Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Orioles as Joe Mauer went 2-for-4 in a 7-2 win. With five hits in 11 at-bats, Mauer's .455 batting average is the third-highest by a defending American League batting champion through his first three games a season in the last 27 years (since 1980). Wade Boggs batted .462 (6-for-13) through his first three games in 1988; Ichiro had a .500 mark (6-for-12) at that juncture in 2005.

NBA

Antonio Daniels
Daniels
Gilbert Arenas was injured in his first minute of action in the Wizards' 108-100 loss to the Bobcats. But if there was a silver lining for Washington it was the play of veteran Antonio Daniels, who handed out a career-high 17 assists. Daniels, who was playing his 716th regular-season game in the NBA, had never before accumulated more than 14 assists. Only two players in NBA history registered their first 15-assist game at a later point in their career than Daniels: Elgin Baylor (in 1969) and Joe Dumars (in 1985).

The Bobcats' triumph at Washington was their second win against the Wizards in as many nights. The last time a team with a record at least 15 games below .500 swept a home-and-home series on consecutive days against a team with a winning record was on April 1-2, 1986, when the Clippers did it against the Jazz.

• The Bulls 106-88 victory at Auburn Hills was the Pistons largest margin of defeat in a home game against a division rival since a 97-79 loss to Milwaukee on Jan. 21, 2002. Chicago is 12-4 in games against division opponents this season, the best such record for any team in the Eastern Conference.

• The Sixers put another nail in the Knicks' coffin with a 92-90 win at Madison Square Garden. New York has lost the last five home games in which it faced a team with a losing record, equaling the second-longest such streak in team history (seven in a row in 1963-64 and five straight in 2001-02).

Carlos Boozer
Boozer
Carlos Boozer had 21 points, 21 rebounds and five assists for Utah in its 94-89 loss at Portland. Boozer is the only NBA player with a 20/20/5 game this season, and he's done it twice (25 points, 21 boards and five assists vs. the Warriors on March 20).

NHL

Alexander Ovechkin
Ovechkin
Alexander Ovechkin scored a pair of goals for the Capitals in their 3-2 win at Atlanta. Ovechkin has 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) over his last 13 games against the Thrashers, with at least two points in 11 of those 13 games. He's scored eight goals in his last four games against Atlanta.

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