Elias Says ...

4/21/2007 - MLB NHL

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


Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs in the Yankees' loss on Friday night, giving him 12 for the season, tying Mike Schmidt of the 1976 Phillies for the most in a team's first 15 games of a season. A-Rod now has 30 RBIs. Only two other players in major-league history had 12-or-more home runs and at least 30 RBIs by the end of April: Albert Pujols in 2006 (14 and 32), and Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1997 (13 and 30). The Yankees still have nine games scheduled this month.

A-Rod is the first Yankee with 12 homers and 30 RBIs in calendar month since Roger Maris had 13 and 32 in July 1961.

Rodriguez's 476 career home runs move him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell (who each hit 475) into 25th-place in major-league history. When Musial retired after the 1963 season, he ranked sixth, behind Ruth, Foxx, Williams, Ott and Gehrig.

• The Yankees led the Red Sox 6-2 in the eighth inning but lost 7-6. It's the first time in more than 25 years that Boston beat the Yankees despite trailing by at least four runs in the eighth inning or later. That last happened on September 19, 1981, when the Sox overcame a 5-1 deficit to win 8-5, with Rick Miller's three-run home run off Dave LaRoche providing the margin of victory at Fenway.

Mariano Rivera allowed two runs in the eighth inning and took the loss for the Yankees, after surrendering a game-ending three-run home run to Oakland's Marco Scutaro in his last appearance. It's the first time Rivera has allowed five runs over two outings since April 5th and 6th of 2005 against the Red Sox, which was also the last time he squandered consecutive save opportunities.

Chipper Jones hit a two-run home run in the first inning at Shea Stadium, igniting the Braves to a 7-3 win over the Mets. It was Chipper's 37th career homer against the Mets, tying Barry Bonds for the most by any active player. Jones has a .330 career average against the Mets. The only other player with 30-or-more home runs and a career batting average of .300-or-higher against the Mets is Joe Torre (30 HR, .316 BA).

Tim Hudson threw eight shutout innings for the Braves to earn the win. He's 3-0 with a 0.62 ERA in four starts this season. The last pitcher to win at least 3 of his first 4 starts, with an ERA as low as 0.62, was Chuck Finley for the Angels in 1998 (3-0, 0.56).

Craig Biggio's grand slam in Houston's win at Milwaukee was his first since 1994. The last player to go at least 13 seasons between slams was Willie McGee, who hit one in 1982 and then another in 1996.

• Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and shortstop Juan Uribe each hit home runs for the White Sox in a 5-4 win against Detroit. It's the fifth time in three seasons together in Chicago that they each homered in the same game. By comparison, Hall of Famers Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio played more than 1,000 games together over seven seasons with the White Sox (1956-1962) and never hit home runs in the same game.

Travis Buck had five RBIs in the Athletics' 16-4 win over the Rangers, becoming the first Oakland rookie to drive in five runs in a game in April since Jose Canseco in 1986.

Mike Piazza was 0-for-6 on Friday night; he was also hitless in six at-bats last Saturday night against the Yankees. Prior to this season Piazza was 0-for-6 or worse in only one game in his major-league career: 0-for-7 on August 1, 1996 for the Dodgers (against the Marlins).

Travis Hafner went 3-for-3 with two walks, a home run and three RBIs in Cleveland's 4-3 win against Tampa Bay. Hafner has 11 hits in last 14 at-bats. Over the last 10 seasons, only one other Indians player had 11-or-more hits in a 14 at-bat span: Victor Martinez (also 11-for-14) in August 2005.

Braden Looper, who never started a major-league game before this season, threw seven innings of one-run ball on Friday afternoon, earning the victory in the Cardinals' 2-1 triumph over the Cubs. Looper has won each of his last three starts, allowing a total of three runs in that stretch. Last season only one St. Louis pitcher had a streak of three starts in which he won three games and allowed no more than three runs: Chris Carpenter, from July 14 to July 25.

• The Phillies' woes continued on Friday night, when they lost in 10 innings to the Reds, 2-1, despite allowing only four hits. There's been only one other extra-inning game in the majors over the last two seasons in which a team lost despite allowing four-or-fewer hits and the Phils were defeated in that game as well. On September 3, 2006, Atlanta, with only four hits, beat Philadelphia, 4-3, in 11 innings.

For the Reds, it marked the first time they won after producing no runs and only one hit through eight innings since August 30, 1989 vs. the Cardinals.


• It's "wait 'til next year" for the Islanders, who lost their first-round series against the Sabres in five games. The Islanders have not won a playoff series since they upset Pittsburgh in seven games in the second round in 1993. Other than the Islanders, the only team to have been in the league every season since then (1993-94 to date) without winning at least one playoff series is Winnipeg/Phoenix. That franchise's last playoff series win was in the first round in 1987 versus Calgary.

• New Jersey beat Tampa Bay, 3-0. It was Martin Brodeur's 22nd career playoff shutout, one shy of Patrick Roy's record. Brodeur made 31 saves in the victory, the second-most he has ever made in a postseason shutout. He made 38 saves against Boston in 1995, a 1-0 overtime win. Prior to Friday night, Brodeur averaged 21.2 saves per playoff shutout.

• With the victory, Brodeur tied Grant Fuhr for second place in NHL history in postseason victories. The top five: Patrick Roy, 151; Fuhr and Brodeur, 92; Ed Belfour and Billy Smith, 88.

• San Jose beat Nashville 3-2, eliminating the Predators in five games. Barry Trotz has now lost all three postseason series that he has coached. He has the most career games in the regular season (656) for any coach in NHL history who has not won a playoff series.


• Sacramento fired Eric Musselman on Friday, after he led the team to a 33-49 record in his only season as the team's head coach. The Kings' victory total has declined in each of the past five seasons -- they won 61 games in 2001-02 and recorded 59, 55, 50, 44 and 33 victories in the next five seasons. That's tied for the second-longest slide in NBA history. Philadelphia had a six-season streak after the 1989-90 season.