Elias Says ...

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


Carlos Zambrano capped a seven-run first inning with his fifth home run of the season in the Cubs' 11-3 win over the Reds. It was Zambrano's second first-inning homer of the year (the other was on July 2 against the White Sox), equaling the total for all other pitchers combined over the last 21 seasons. Since 1986, Tyler Greene (1995 Phillies) and Robert Person (2002 Phillies) are the only other pitchers to homer during the first inning of a game.

Three of Zambrano's homers this season, including Sunday's, came on the first pitch of an at-bat. Zambrano has more first-pitch homers this season than three members of the 30-home run club: Troy Glaus (two), Paul Konerko (two) and Nick Swisher (one).

• Atlanta rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap an unlikely 8-7 triumph against the Marlins. It was the first time in franchise history that the Braves had won a game in which they trailed by four-or-more runs during extra innings -- and keep in mind, the Braves have played in the National League since the year of its founding, 1876!

Since 1981, there have been only two other games in which the winning team rebounded from a deficit of at least four runs in the 10th inning or later. On April 21, 1991, the Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-12 responding to Chicago's five 11th-inning runs with six of their own. Monday is the second anniversary of the other such game (Sept. 18, 2004), when the White Sox posted a 9-8, 12-inning walk-off win against the Tigers, after each team scored four runs in the 10th inning.

• The Tigers dropped a 12-8 decision to the Orioles in 10 innings on Sunday. It was the fourth time this season that Detroit lost an extra-inning game by a margin of at least four runs, matching the 2002 Royals for the most such losses in a single season for any team in major-league history.

David Murphy hit the first home run of his career to lead off the first inning for the Red Sox in New York on Sunday afternoon. No player had led off a game at Yankee Stadium with his first major-league home run since Reggie Smith, also for Boston, on April 14, 1967 (off Whitey Ford). The Red Sox's 3-0 victory that day was memorable for a different reason -- Billy Rohr came within one out of throwing a no-hitter in his big-league debut.

Craig Biggio ended an 0-for-30 slump with a sixth-inning homer in the Astros' loss to the Phillies. Back on August 30, Jason LaRue homered (off Greg Maddux) after going hitless in his previous 30 at-bats. Prior to that, no player had homered to end a hitless streak of at least 30 at-bats since Jason Giambi in September 2004 (32 at-bats).

Over the last 40 years, only one other player who had already accumulated as many career hits as Biggio (2,916 before Sunday) suffered through a hitless streak of at least 30 at-bats. During his farewell tour in September 2001, Cal Ripken ended a 0-for-33 slide with the penultimate hit of his career.

• The Pirates were 60-87 before their three-game sweep of the Mets, who were 90-55 when they arrived in Pittsburgh. Over the past 25 years (1981-2005), only two series matching teams that were at least 25 games under and 25 over .500 (at the start of the series) resulted in a three-game sweep for the underdog (Anaheim over Texas in 1999, and Philadelphia over Florida in 1997).

Terrmel Sledge snapped a 1-1 tie with a pinch-hit, ninth-inning single to give the Padres a 2-1 win at Los Angeles. It was the fifth pinch-hit game-winner for the Padres this season, matching the Marlins for the most in the majors.


Peyton Manning passed for 400 yards in the Colts' 43-24 win over the Texans. It was Manning's seventh 400-yard game, tying Joe Montana and Warren Moon for second most in NFL history, behind Dan Marino (13).

• Not to be outdone, Eli Manning accomplished something that neither his brother Peyton nor his father, Archie, has done. Eli threw a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.

Eli was sacked eight times in the Giants' 30-24 victory over the Eagles. The only other quarterback in NFL history to throw an overtime touchdown pass after being sacked at least eight times was Hugh Millen of the Patriots in a victory over the Colts in 1991.

• What a day for Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell, who became the first player since George Blanda to throw a game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and then kick a game-winning field goal. Blanda did it twice: for the Oilers in 1962 and the Raiders in 1970.

• The Chargers were less than four minutes from becoming the first team in 61 years to record shutouts in their first two games of a season when Vince Young threw his first NFL touchdown pass in San Diego's 40-7 victory over the Titans. But the Chargers did become the first team since John Madden's 1977 Raiders to hold their opponents scoreless for the first seven periods of a season.

San Diego's streak of 60 unanswered points to open the season was the longest since the Lions scored 78 points before allowing an opponent to score in 1970. Detroit won its first two games that season by scores of 40-0 against the Packers and 38-3 over the Bengals.

• The Bears didn't go quite that far, but they did set an all-time team record by scoring 50 points to start the season before allowing any points. That's saying something for a franchise that dates back to the origin of the NFL in 1920 -- and that's how long the record has stood. The Decatur Staleys, predecessors of the Bears, scored 45 points in 1920 before being scored upon.

• The Bucs lost to the Falcons 14-3 after losing their opener to the Ravens 27-0 last week. Only two other teams in NFL history failed to score a touchdown in either of their first two games of a season after coming off a postseason appearance: the Browns in 1988 and the Baltimore Colts in 1978.

• The Falcons gained 306 yards rushing in their victory over the Bucs, after rushing for 252 yards against the Panthers last week. Only two other teams in NFL history opened the season with a pair of games with 250 or more yards rushing: O.J. Simpson's 1975 Bills, who posted three in a row to start the season; and the 1978 Chiefs.

Warrick Dunn (134) and Michael Vick (127) both rushed for more than 100 yards for the Falcons. It was the first game in NFL history in which a starting quarterback and a running back both reached the 125-yard mark. Two other such pairs had 100-yard games, both for the Eagles: Donovan McNabb and Duce Staley in 2002, and Randall Cunningham and Heath Sherman in 1990.

• On the downside, Atlanta's kicker, Michael Koenen, missed all four of his field-goal attempts. Koenen was the first player since Mike Cofer of the 49ers in 1991 to miss at least four attempts in a game without making any.

• The Broncos' 9-6 overtime victory over the Chiefs marked only the second time that Denver won a home game without scoring a touchdown. The other was a 6-3 win over the Bears in 1971.

• The Fire defeated D.C. United 1-0 on Sunday, becoming the first team this season to record a shutout victory over the Eastern Conference leaders. That ended United's streak of 33 regular-season matches without suffering a shutout loss, the third longest in MLS history and the longest since DCU set the record with a 52-game streak from 1997 to 1999.