Elias Says ...

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

• The St. Louis Cardinals lost their eighth consecutive game on Friday night, giving them their second eight-game losing streak this season. In each case they have remained in first place in the N.L. Central throughout the length of those losing streaks. They are the first team in major-league history to suffer two eight-game losing streaks in one season, while remaining in first place throughout the streak.

• ESPN.com reported on Friday that Andruw Jones, who has played 1,556 games for the Atlanta Braves, was claimed on waivers by an unidentified team, forcing Atlanta to either recall the waiver or trade him to the claiming team. In the last 25 years, only one major leaguer began his career by playing at least 1,500 games for a club and then got traded by that team in the middle of a season. And that player was dealt by the Braves! Dale Murphy played his first 1,926 games for Atlanta before being traded in August 1990 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

• Chase Utley's hitting streak ended at 35 games. It was the longest streak by a strictly left-handed batter in more than 60 years -- since Tommy Holmes set what was then a modern-day National League record with a 37-game streak in 1945. (Pete Rose subsequently broke Holmes's mark.)

Utley batted .405 during his 35-game streak, but there was one player in the majors who hit for a higher average over that span (min: 100 at-bats). Would you believe Nick Markakis? The Baltimore Orioles' rookie outfielder hit .422 over that period.

David Ortiz hit two home runs, including a tie-breaking shot in the eighth inning, to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2. It's the 23rd time since joining the Boston Red Sox in 2003 that Big Papi has driven home the game-winning run in the eighth inning or later. No other player in the major leagues has done that 20+ times over that period.

Curt Schilling allowed two home runs to the Devil Rays, increasing his road total to 20 this season. He has given up only four home runs at Fenway. Over the last 50 seasons, only one pitcher has given up 20-or-more home runs in one year and allowed at least five times as many on the road than at home. In 2000, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Carlos Perez was tagged for 21 round trippers away from home, while allowing only four at Dodger Stadium. Schilling (20 and 4) and
Kenny Rogers (16 and 3) are each in position to join Perez this year.

• The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning but failed to score and lost to the Cincinnati Reds 5-4. Since moving to Atlanta in 1966, there was only one other game in which the Braves did not score under those conditions -- ninth inning, bases loaded, nobody out and down by one run. That happened in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies in Sept. 1992.

• The Reds, who were no-hit by Greg Maddux for six innings on Thursday night, failed to get a hit in the first five innings on Friday night. Only one other major-league team was held without a hit through five innings in back-to-back games this season: the
Los Angeles Angels, on May 7 and 8. It's the first time that's happened to the Reds since April 1994.

Craig Monroe's two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Detroit Tigers a 7-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians. It's the 14th time this season that the Indians have lost a game in which their opponent scored the game-winning run it its final at-bat, the most such defeats for any team in the American League.

• The New York Yankees won in Baltimore, but Randy Johnson failed to strike out a batter for the second consecutive start. His current streak of 32 straight outs recorded without a strikeout is the longest of his major-league career. His previous longest drought of that kind was 22 as a rookie for the 1989 Seattle Mariners.

Tom Gorzelanny threw eight shutout innings and allowed only two hits in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 6-0 win against the
Chicago Cubs. In the last 30 years only two other rookies came into Wrigley Field and authored at least eight scoreless innings while allowing no more than two hits: Orel Hershiser in 1984 and the Expos' Brian Barnes in 1991.

Xavier Nady had four hits for the New York Mets on Opening Day, was traded to the Pirates earlier this week, and went 4-for-5 for Pittsburgh in the win on Friday. It's the third time in the last 10 years that a player has had a four-hit game for the Mets and then done the same later that season for another team. Melvin Mora (Mets-Orioles) did it in 2000 and Lance Johnson (Mets-Cubs) did it in 1997. That never happened in the Mets' first 35 seasons (1962-1996) as a major-league franchise.

• The Chicago White Sox's Jon Garland beat the
Toronto Blue Jays on the road Friday night and he has now won eight consecutive road-game starts, the longest current streak of that kind for any pitcher in the major leagues.

Javy Lopez, who was acquired by the Red Sox on Friday, hit 42 home runs as a catcher in 2003, setting a major-league single-season record for home runs at that position. His overall home run rate that season was one every 11 at-bats, but over the three seasons since then he's hit one out of the park at a rate of one every 27 at-bats.

Excluding pitchers, Lopez is one of four players whose batting average, slugging average, and on-base percentage have declined in each of the last three seasons. The others are Lew Ford,
Jose Guillen, and Adam Melhuse.


Jim Furyk had his second straight bogey-free day at the Buick Open on Friday. He has now shot nine rounds without a bogey this season, tying Jerry Kelly for the highest total on the Tour.