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Elias Says ...

5/14/2007 - NHL MLB Soccer Golf + more

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

MLB

• Boston's improbable 6-5 win over the Orioles was only the second game in franchise history in which the Red Sox were blanked through the first eight innings, trailed by five or more runs in the ninth inning, and still won the game. On May 30, 1931, in the second game of a Memorial Day doubleheader at Fenway, Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics (then the defending World Series champion) took a 5-0 lead into the last of the ninth. But the last-place Sox scored six in the ninth off three A's pitchers and won 6-5.


In fact, no major league team had won a game in the regulation nine innings after coming to bat in the ninth scoreless and trailing by at least five runs since April 29, 1979, when the Cubs scored six in the top of the ninth (capped by a three-run homer by Bobby Murcer) to wipe out a 5-0 Braves lead and take a 6-5 victory in Atlanta.

Josh Beckett didn't figure in the decision and was in line for a loss before Boston's ninth-inning theatrics. Beckett had won his previous seven starts, one shy of the longest such streaks to begin a season over the past 20 years (1987-2006). Dave Stewart (1988 Athletics), Pedro Martinez (1997 Expos) and Jon Garland (2005 White Sox) each won their first eight starts. Beckett failed in his attempt to join the three Red Sox pitchers who won their first eight starts of a season: Babe Ruth (1917), Boo Ferris (1945, to begin his big-league career) and Roger Moret (1973).

• Only 36 games into the season, Boston leads the AL East by eight games over second-place Baltimore (.474) and third-place New York (.472). Only one other time in their history were the Red Sox in first place by such a large margin so few games into a season. In 1995, the year of its last division title, Boston led by an identical margin through 34 games.

• The Astros coasted to a 5-2 win over Arizona and handed
Doug Davis his ninth defeat in as many starts at Houston since 2003. Davis owns the longest current streak of losses in consecutive road appearances against a particular team for any active pitcher. It's the longest such streak for any major-leaguer since Dennis Martinez was tagged with losses in nine straight appearances at Yankee Stadium from 1984 to 1998.


Davis is 2-4 this season and each of his defeats extended a Diamondbacks losing streak. That ties him with Zach Greinke for the most losses after his club had dropped its previous game.

Anthony Reyes's record fell to 0-6 in the Cardinals' 3-0 loss at San Diego. Reyes and Jeff Weaver (also 0-6) are the only pitchers in the majors to lose as many as six games this season without earning a victory. Only three other pitchers ever began a season with a losing streak of at least six games after winning a World Series game the previous year. Eddie Cicotte (1918 White Sox),
Curt Schilling (1994 Phillies) and Damaso Marte (2006 White Sox) each lost their first seven decisions of the year.


• The Athletics thrilled the home crowd with a five-run ninth-inning rally in a 10-7 victory over the Indians. Fernando Cabrera served up a three-run walk-off homer to Jack Cust after Milton Bradley tied the game with a two-run shot off Joe Borowski. Cust has six home runs in 26 at-bats this season (4.3 AB/HR) after hitting only five homers in 144 previous at-bats in the majors (one every 28.8 ABs).

• San Francisco rookie Fred Lewis became the first player in almost 90 years to post the first triple and the first home run of his major league career in a game in which he hit for the cycle. The last player to do it was the Cardinals' Cliff Heathcote on June 13, 1918.


• The Pirates' leadoff batter reached base safely in each of the eight innings they batted in a 13-2 romp over the Braves. The Pirates hadn't posted a perfect on-base percentage to lead off innings in any game since Aug. 26, 1999 (coming to the plate in eight innings in an 8-4 home win against the Rockies).

Shaun Marcum made his first start of the season after 13 relief appearances for the Blue Jays this year. Marcum surprised everyone (well, everyone we know) with six innings of no-hit ball before giving way to the Toronto bullpen to begin the seventh inning of a scoreless game. The Devil Rays broke the ice two outs later, when Carlos Pena hit a solo homer off Jason Frasor in Tampa Bay's eventual 2-1 victory. We'll have more on Pena later. First let's get to Marcum.


It has been almost 10 years since an AL pitcher failed to answer the bell for the seventh inning with a no-hitter intact. On July 11, 1997, Ben McDonald, then with the American League Brewers, was removed from a game under those circumstances, coincidentally against the Orioles at Camden Yards. It was the next-to-last start of McDonald's career; his final appearance in the majors was five days later against the Indians.


• Now back to Carlos Pena, who was the second player this season, and the first in Devil Rays history, to spoil a no-hit bid with a home run in the seventh inning or later. On May 5,
Ben Broussard's round-tripper with one out in the eighth inning broke up Chien-Ming Wang's perfecto attempt against Seattle.

Damion Easley paced the Mets to 9-1 win over the Brewers with a two-run, first-inning homer and RBI-singles in the second and eighth innings. Over the last eight seasons (1999-2007), Easley had only one other game in which he had three hits that all drove in runs. That was his three-homer performance for the Diamondbacks last season (at Atlanta on June 3).


• Mets outfielder Carlos Gomez had two hits and a stolen base in his big-league debut. The last player as young as Gomez (21 years, 160 days) with least two hits and a stolen base in his first game in the majors was Delino DeShields, who had four hits and a steal for Montreal on April 9, 1990 (21 years, 84 days).


The only other Mets with two hits and a stolen base in their major league debuts were Rod Gaspar in 1969, Lenny Dykstra in 1985, Keith Miller in 1987 and Preston Wilson in 1998. (Each player had exactly two hits and one steal except Wilson, who had three hits and a steal.)


• The Dodgers defeated Cincinnati 10-5 after snapping a 5-5 tie with a five-run eighth inning. Including Sunday's loss, the Reds are 0-6 this year in games that were tied at the end of the seventh inning, their longest such losing streak to begin a season since dropping their first seven games of that nature in 1950.


NBA

• The Bulls avoided being swept out of the playoffs with a Game 4 victory over the Pistons. Chicago has played 29 best-of-seven series (including this one) since the last time it was swept in four straight games (to the Celtics in the 1981 Eastern Conference semifinals). Only three other teams in NBA history have had streaks of at least 29 consecutive best-of-sevens without getting swept: the Celtics (46 in a row, 1957-1982), Nationals/76ers (36, 1950-1991) and Lakers (29, 1960-1977).


• The Warriors were 12-for-39 from beyond the arc in their 115-101 loss to the Jazz. Golden State has attempted at least 30 3-point field goals in each of its last six games, the longest such streak in NBA playoff history. In fact, only one NBA team has ever had a streak of that length (or longer) during the regular season (12 straight games by the 1995-96 Mavericks).