Elias Says ...

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


• The Mets' 23-year-old wunderkinds, David Wright and Jose Reyes, were both selected to start in next week's All-Star Game. Only two pairs of teammates, both under the age of 24, have ever started an All-Star Game. Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams did it for the Red Sox in 1941 as did Dean Chance and Jim Fregosi for the 1964 Angels.

Mark Loretta was named to start the All-Star Game at second base; the Red Sox haven't had a starter at that position in a mid-summer classic since Felix Mantilla in 1965. Three teams have an even longer drought than Boston since last placing an All-Star starter at second base. The Athletics have never had one; the White Sox last did it in 1963 (Nellie Fox) and Mets haven't had one since 1964 (Ron Hunt).

• The Twins won their 10th straight game, an 8-0 victory over the Brewers, behind Francisco Liriano. Liriano is 8-1 as a starter this season, after making a dozen appearances out of the bullpen. The only other pitcher to begin a season with at least 10 straight relief appearances and then win at least eight games as a starter prior to the All-Star break was Buzz Capra in 1974 (the year he led the majors with a 2.24 ERA). Capra began that year in the Braves' bullpen, but went 9-3 as a starter from May 15 (his first start of the season) to the All-Star Game.

• Boston's victory over the Marlins started with a bang: Kevin Youkilis and Hanley Ramirez hit first-inning leadoff home runs, followed by Jason Varitek's blast to begin the top of the second. It was the first game in modern major-league history in which players hit leadoff homers in each of the first three half-innings.

But the game ended quietly, as Jonathan Papelbon notched his 25th save of the season, the most ever for a rookie prior to the All-Star break, surpassing Mike MacDougal's "first-half" total of 24 saves for the 2003 Royals. Papelbon's 25 saves match the most before the break for any Red Sox pitcher; Tom Gordon had 25 in 1998.

• The Cubs won an old-fashioned slugfest, defeating the White Sox 15-11. The Cubs hadn't won a game at Wrigley Field in which their opponent scored at least five runs since a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox more than a year ago (June 11, 2005). In the interim, the Cubs lost 41 home games in which they allowed at least five runs (their last 20 such games in 2005 and their first 21 this year), matching the second-longest streak of that kind for any team in major-league history. The longest was by the Pirates, from 1953 to 1954 (58 straight home losses when allowing five or more runs).

Orlando Cabrera reached base safely in his 59th straight game Sunday in the Angels' victory over the Dodgers. While the "consecutiveness" of Cabrera's streak is noteworthy, his .376 on-base percentage during the streak is rather pedestrian. In fact, over the life of his streak (since April 25), no fewer than 71 major leaguers (with a minimum of 100 plate appearances) have higher on-base percentages than Cabrera.

• Both the Red Sox and Twins went 16-2 in interleague play this year, matching the 2002 Athletics (16-2) for the most interleague wins in a season. The only team with a higher single-season winning percentage in interleague games than those three teams (.889) was St. Louis in 2004 (.917, 11-1).

Ryan Howard hit his 28th home run of the season in the Phillies' 11-6 victory at Toronto. Howard, recalled from the minor leagues last July, has 49 homers during the past year (since July 3, 2005), the most for any NL player over that span (two more than Albert Pujols, who also homered on Sunday). David Ortiz (54) and Jason Giambi (51) paced the majors in homers over the past 365 days.

• "Seven come 11" could refer to Detroit's 9-8 victory at Pittsburgh, when the Tigers (five) and Pirates (six) combined for 11 runs in the seventh inning. It was only the second time in the last 45 years that opposing teams each rolled five or higher in the seventh inning of a game (San Diego at Cincinnati, Sept. 7, 1981).

Ryan Zimmerman's 11th home run of the season ignited the Nationals to a 6-2 win against the Devil Rays. The last Nats/Expos rookie to hit that many homers before the All-Star break was Andre Dawson (11 in 1977). The club record for a rookie during the first half of a season is 13, by Coco Laboy in 1969, Montreal's inaugural season. For those of you who are addicted to the "last player to do it for a Washington team" angle, here's your fix. In 1959, Bob Allison hit 21 homers before the All-Star break in his rookie season with the Senators.

• The Cardinals hung on for a 9-7 win over the Royals, surviving some shaky relief work, again. The St. Louis bullpen has an 8.15 ERA over its last 11 games, and has been charged with at least one run in each of the club's last nine games. Over the last seven seasons (since 2000) there's been only one longer streak of consecutive games in which Cardinals relievers were charged with runs (10 straight games in 2001).

Kris Benson, starting with three days of rest, was the losing pitcher in the Braves' victory over the Orioles. Benson is the only American League pitcher to start a game on short rest this season (fewer than four days between starts), and he's now done it twice (no decision vs. the Angels on May 28). NL pitchers have started on short rest 12 times this season; only John Smoltz has made two such starts.

• The Giants rallied for five runs with two outs and nobody on base in the seventh inning in their 6-2 victory at San Diego. San Francisco hadn't scored that many runs in an inning in which its first two batters were retired since a seven-run eighth inning under those circumstances on April 7, 1999, in an 8-3 win at Cincinnati.

Brandon Webb snapped his three-game losing streak and improved his record to 9-3 this season with a complete-game victory at Oakland. Webb avoided becoming only the second pitcher in the last 35 years to lose four in a row immediately following a start-of-season winning streak of at least eight decisions. Dennis Martinez began the 1995 season with nine straight wins for Cleveland before dropping his next four decisions.

Shawn Green snapped a ninth-inning tie when he drew an RBI walk from Barry Zito. When was the last time you saw a starting pitcher given enough rope to force in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk that late in a game? No starter had been allowed to do that since Kenny Rogers, for the Yankees, in a 1-0 loss to the Angels in May 1996 -- a ninth-inning walkoff walk to Chili Davis (three years before Rogers, in relief, walked Andruw Jones to end the 1999 NLCS).

• The Rockies defeated the Mariners in 11 innings Sunday, snapping Colorado's streak of seven straight losses in road games of at least 11 innings. It was the Rockies' first road win in a game of that length (or longer) since Aug. 12, 2003 (at Montreal).