Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
oxyA daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Alex Rodriguez was indeed the alpha and the omega -- a more classical way of saying that he was the straw that stirred the drink -- in the Yankees' 10-7 win over the Orioles. He hit a two-run homer off Steve Trachsel in the first inning, and belted a game-winning grand-slam homer with two outs and two strikes in the ninth off Chris Ray.
This was only the third time in major league history that a player had hit a first-inning homer and a walkoff grand-slam homer in the same game -- and while all other players in major league history have combined to do that just once, A-Rod has done it twice! (The only other player to do that in a major league game wasn't Ruth or Gehrig, Aaron or Mays, Bonds or Jeter; it was Jack Hiatt of the Giants in a 1969 game against the Astros.)
• A-Rod's game-winning grand-slam home run on Saturday was the third walkoff slam of his major league career, tying the all-time record shared by a pair of long-ago sluggers, Cy Williams and Vern Stephens. Williams, an outfielder who played for the Cubs and Phillies, hit 251 home runs in a 19-year career from 1912 to 1930. Stephens, a shortstop with the St. Louis Browns, Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles, hit 247 homers over 15 years from 1941 to 1955.
Only two other players in Yankees history have hit game-winning grand-slam homers that turned a deficit into a victory. Babe Ruth did it against the White Sox in 1925 and Jason Giambi did it against the Twins in 2002.
• Sammy Sosa hit his first home run of the season on Saturday night in the Rangers' 8-4 victory over the Red Sox. It came 17 years and 290 days after his one previous home run in a Texas uniform; that one, his first in the majors, was also hit against the Red Sox -- off Roger Clemens, in fact, at Fenway Park on June 21, 1989. Sosa was batting leadoff, and wearing uniform number 17, in that game. (And do you think that Sosa would have guessed as he was rounding the bases that night at Fenway that at the time of his next Rangers home run, the man who was then the managing general partner of the team would be president of the United States? Probably not.)
That span of nearly 18 years between home runs for one team is a major-league record. The previous mark of 13 years, 300 days was held by Babe Herman of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Herman was a star hitter for the Dodgers from 1926 to 1931, before moving on to other teams. With major league manpower shorthanded during the final year of World War II, Herman -- who had last played in the majors in 1937 -- re-joined the Dodgers and hit one home run.
• The Braves defeated the Mets and Tom Glavine, 5-3, leaving Glavine with a career 3-10 (.231) record against his former teammates and keeping him nine wins shy of the 300 mark.
Only one 300-game winner has ever had as poor a won-lost record against any opposing team (minimum: 10 decisions) as Glavine has had against the Braves. That would be his ex-teammate Greg Maddux, who owns a 1-9 (.100) career record against the Diamondbacks.
• The Nets allowed Antawn Jamison to hit a game-tying three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but roared back to beat the Wizards in overtime, 120-114.
And with the benefit of the extra five minutes, both Vince Carter and Jason Kidd achieved triple-doubles. (Carter's triple-double was clinched with his 10th assist a little more than halfway through the overtime period; Kidd clinched his triple-double by scoring his 10th point on a free throw with 20 seconds remaining.)
Yes, it was the first NBA game in which two teammates each had a triple-double since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did it against the Clippers, also an overtime game, on Jan. 3, 1989. (The last teammates to turn the trick in a regulation-length game were Larry Bird and Robert Parish, against the 76ers, on March 29, 1987.)
But it had been even a longer time -- just over 30 years -- since we had seen an NBA player get a triple-double in which he had totals as high as Carter had in both points (46) and rebounds (16). The last player to do that was Phoenix center Alvan Adams, who had 47 points, 18 rebounds and 12 assists against the Buffalo Braves on Feb. 22, 1977. Besides Carter and Adams, the only other players in NBA history to get a triple double that included as many as 46 points and 16 rebounds were Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain (who did it twice).
And what about Kidd, garnishing his 86th triple-double with 18 assists and 16 rebounds? The last NBA player to get a triple-double with that many assists and that many rebounds was Magic Johnson on Jan. 15, 1983 (21 assists, 17 rebounds). The only others ever to do it were Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain (who did that twice, also).
• The Spurs defeated the Warriors, 112-99, in San Antonio; it was San Antonio's 19th consecutive home win over Golden State. That matches the longest current streak of that type in the NBA; the Suns have been similarly inhospitable to the Bucks in their last 19 trips to Phoenix.
• The Knicks-Bucks game in Milwaukee may not mean much when the story of the season has been writ, but for an unlikely finish to the fourth quarter, it would have to rank in the league's top ten for the season.
With the score tied, 99-99, and 0.9 seconds remaining, Milwaukee's Ruben Patterson made a three-point goal -- just his third of the season in 18 tries -- to take the lead. Undaunted, New York center Eddy Curry fired in a three-pointer from the corner with all the aplomb of Bruce Bowen. It was Curry's first three-point attempt in two seasons with the Knicks and only his second such attempt (he has made both of them) in his six seasons in the NBA. He finished with a career-high 43 points as the Knicks won in overtime, 118-113.
• The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens, 6-5, in a game that will be discussed across Canada for generations. With Toronto needing a win in regulation time to remain alive for the playoffs, it overcame an early third-period Montreal lead to win the game, which not only kept the Leafs alive but also eliminated their ancient rivals from pursuit of the Cup.
Toronto had won only one other game this season in regulation time after having trailed at any time during the third period, and that one game was way back on Nov. 1 at Tampa.
• Dany Heatley's 50th goal of the season broke a second-period tie and led the Senators to a 6-3 win in Boston that clinched the home-ice privilege for the first round of the playoffs. That matched Heatley's goal total of last year, his first season with Ottawa.
That goal also put Heatley in the record book, alongside Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky, as the only players in NHL history to score 50-plus goals in each of their first two seasons with a particular team. Bossy reached 50 goals in each of his first nine NHL seasons with the Islanders, while Gretzky hit that mark in each of his first eight NHL seasons with the Oilers.
• Anze Kopitar's 20th goal of the season broke a 2-2 deadlock at 19:07 of the third period and gave the Kings a 3-2 win over the Coyotes. Kopitar is the first Kings rookie to score 20-or-more goals in one season since 1986-87, when Luc Robitaille (45 goals) and Jimmy Carson (37 goals) did it.
Selanne had seven multiple-goal games for Anaheim in 2005-06 but he did not have any in the last season before the lockout (2003-04 with Colorado), despite playing in 78 games.
• Tiger Woods' bid for first place going into the final round of the Masters fell short when, for the second time in the tournament, he bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes. (He had done the same thing to conclude the opening round on Thursday.) It was only the second time in his career that Tiger has bogeyed each of the last two holes in two different rounds at the same tournament; it also happened at the 2005 Players Championship in rounds three and four.
• Retief Goosen shot a two-under 70 on Saturday, but he was the only player to complete beat par in the third round. You have to go back to 1982 to find the last time that only one player has been able to shoot better than par in a round at the Masters; that year, Jack Nicklaus shot a pace-setting three-under in the first round.
• Jeff Cunningham scored both goals for Real Salt Lake in a 2-2 tie with FC Dallas. Cunningham, who led MLS with 16 goals last season, became the first defending goal-scoring champ to score twice in his team's season opener the following season.
Carlos Ruiz gained a tie for Dallas with a goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. It was the third time that Ruiz had scored a game-tying or go-ahead goal in second-half stoppage time, one short of the highest total in MLS history. Taylor Twellman has scored four.
• The Rapids defeated D.C. United, 2-1, in the inaugural match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. It was the Rapids' first-ever win in a season opener. Colorado had a record of 0-9-2 in opening games prior to Saturday.
• The Red Bulls and Crew played a scoreless tie at Columbus on Saturday night, with Ronald Waterreus and Andy Gruenebaum each recording his first MLS shutout. (For Waterreus, it was his MLS debut.) There was only one other match in league history in which each goalkeeper posted his first MLS shutout: Thomas Ravelli (Mutiny) and Jeff Cassar (Fusion) in 1998.