Ghana was also the first nation to bust out the "Hip-Hop Hooray" arms-over-head wave at a World Cup.
This week brought us a new NBA champion and some shocking World Cup upsets (Spain losing to Switzerland! Germany losing to Serbia!). It also brought us a bunch of firsts, both in the World Cup sphere, and outside of South Africa. What were they? Let's explore together, shall we?
First – African country to win a World Cup match in Africa, an honor that belongs to Ghana after its 1-0 win over Serbia Sunday afternoon. Asamoah Gyan, who also scored Ghana’s first World Cup goal in 2006, converted a penalty in the 84th minute for the game-winner. It was his 20th career goal and second in the World Cup.
First – Major League game in the last 68 years to feature two players with 5,000 career at-bats and a career average of .330 or higher at the time of the game, a milestone brought to us by Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki when the Mariners visited the Cardinals Monday night (Cards won, 9-3). The last time that happened was 1942, when Dodger Joe Medwick and Brave Paul Waner (both Hall-of-Famers) faced each other.
First – American League pitcher to reach the 10-win mark this season, a label Tampa Bay’s David Price claimed after his 10-4 victory over the Braves Tuesday night. That made Price the youngest pitcher (he’s 24) to be the first to 10 wins in the AL since Seattle’s Dave Fleming (he was 22) did it in 1992.
First – World Cup hat trick since 2002, a treat brought to us by Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain in a 4-1 win over South Korea Thursday. On the same day, Greece scored its first-ever World Cup goals to win its first-ever World Cup game in a 2-1 win over Nigeria (it was, fittingly, the first comeback victory of the tourney).
First – Pitcher since 1996 to win 13 of his team’s 66 games in Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies righty improved to 13-1 with a 5-1 win over the Twins Thursday night. In the win, Jimenez lowered his ERA to 1.15, the lowest through 14 starts since Al Benton (0.91) in 1945.
First – NBA Finals Game 7 coached by Lakers coach/Zen Master Phil Jackson. The first time was a charm for Phil, his Lakers beat the Celtics, 83-79, to win their 16th NBA Championship Thursday night.