Elias Says ...

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


• He's back. Roger Clemens signed with the Yankees for what will be his 24th season in the major leagues. Only eight pitchers have competed on that level in that many seasons: Nolan Ryan (27 years), Tommy John (26), Charlie Hough (25), Jim Kaat (25),
Steve Carlton (24), Dennis Eckersley (24), Phil Niekro (24) and
Jesse Orosco (24).

In 2006, Clemens had the lowest ERA (2.30) in the majors from the time of his season debut (June 22) to the end of the year. His ERA was more than one-third of a run lower than that of the runner-up, Erik Bedard (2.67).

Only seven current Yankee players were teammates of The Rocket when he tipped his cap farewell in the 2003 World Series: Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.

• San Diego's Jake Peavy allowed one hit over seven innings and struck out 10 batters in a 3-1 win at Florida. It was Peavy's third straight double-digit strikeout performance, despite pitching only seven innings in each of those games. Over the last five years (since 2003), the only other pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters while throwing no more than seven innings in each of three straight appearances was Johan Santana, in April 2005.

Craig Monroe, Curtis Granderson and Gary Sheffield hit two-run homers off Zack Greinke during a six-run second inning in the Tigers' 13-4 win at Kansas City. It was the sixth time in the last two seasons that a team hit three homers with runners on base in the same inning. That equals the number of times it happened in the previous nine years combined (1997 through 2005).

Adam Kennedy was at the top of the batting order for the Cardinals in their 3-1 win over the Astros on Sunday. It was the sixth straight game that Tony LaRussa penciled a different leadoff hitter into his starting lineup, a first for LaRussa in his managerial career. The others were David Eckstein, Skip Schumaker, So Taguchi, Preston Wilson and Scott Spiezio.

No team had used a different leadoff batter in each of six straight games since Bobby Valentine's 1998 Mets (Edgardo Alfonzo,
Wayne Kirby, Brian McRae, Bernard Gilkey, Lenny Harris and
Benny Agbayani, June 30 to July 5).

Trot Nixon had a career-high five hits to lead the Indians to a 9-6 triumph at Baltimore. Nixon (age 33 years, 25 days) became the oldest player to go 5-for-5 or better for the first time in his career since Ivan Rodriguez had his first such game on April 5, 2006 (age 34 years, 126 days).

Prince Fielder hit a pair of homers to lead the Brewers to a 6-4 win over the Pirates. It was the second time this season that Fielder hit two home runs in a game (the other was at Wrigley Field on April 23).

Cecil Fielder had 34 multiple-homer games during his major league career, all between 1988 and 1998. Only Mark McGwire (46) and
Ken Griffey Jr. (36) had more such games over that span. But only once did Big Daddy have a pair of two-HR games as early in a season as Prince has done this year. That was in 1990, when Cecil did it for a second time on May 6, the same date that his son did it on Sunday.

• The Rangers squeaked out a 3-2 decision over the Blue Jays thanks to home runs by Kenny Lofton, Mark Teixeira and
Michael Young. It was the second time in franchise history (dating back to the 1961 Senators) that the team posted a one-run victory in a game in which at least three solo homers accounted for all of their runs. The other game was a 4-3 win at Anaheim on June 21, 2001, with four solo homers (Ruben Sierra 2, Alex Rodriguez and Gabe Kapler).

All of the Rangers' home runs were hit on first-pitch offerings from A.J. Burnett. No pitcher had allowed three first-pitch homers in one game since the Yankees' Aaron Small surrendered a trio of them to the Orioles on June 4, 2006.

• The Braves erased a 4-1 deficit with a five-run seventh inning in their 6-4 win over the Dodgers. It was the first loss of the year for the Dodgers in a game in which they led in the seventh inning or later. That leaves Texas as the only team in the majors that hasn't lost a game this season in which it had such a late lead.

• The Cubs used 21 players in their 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Nationals. It had been almost three years since a team employed that many players in a game of no more than 10 innings prior to September (when rosters are expanded). The last to do it was Phil Garner's Astros, in a 9-8, nine-inning win at Philadelphia (Aug. 18, 2004).

• Tim Lincecum, San Francisco's first-round selection (10th overall) in last June's amateur draft, took the express lane to the big leagues and made his first appearance for the Giants Sunday night. Only one other active pitcher made his major league debut as a starter within one year of being chosen in the first round of the draft: Jeff Weaver (for the Tigers on April 14, 1999).


• The Cavaliers drew first blood with an 81-77 Game 1 victory over New Jersey as Zydrunas Ilgauskas (14), Drew Gooden (14) and LeBron James (11) outrebounded Jason Collins (4), Mikki Moore (3) and Richard Jefferson (2), 39-9.

The last time an NBA team's starting frontcourt had 30 more rebounds than its opponent's starters at those positions in a playoff game was on May 9, 1979, when Washington's Elvin Hayes, Wes Unseld and
Bob Dandridge had a 47-16 rebound advantage over Larry Kenon,
Mark Olberding and Mike Green in a 116-114 loss at San Antonio.

• James (21 points on Sunday) has scored at least 20 points in each of his 18 career playoff games. It's the longest current streak of consecutive 20-point games in the playoffs for any active player and the second-longest ever to begin an NBA career. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (aka Lew Alcindor) scored at least 20 points in each of his first 27 postseason games, from 1970 to 1972.

• The Spurs posted a series-opening win at Phoenix in the clubs' eighth head-to-head playoff matchup in the last 16 years, the most for any pair of NBA teams over than span (since 1992).

Tim Duncan (33 points) and Tony Parker (32) were the first pair of teammates to each score more than 30 points in the first game of an NBA playoff series since Kobe Bryant (39) and Shaquille O'Neal (32) did it in a 117-98 win at Minnesota in the first round of the 2003 postseason.

• It's been reported that Jeff Van Gundy is leaving the NBA coaching ranks following the Rockets' defeat in the first round of the playoffs. Although he was hired by Houston less than four years ago (June 10, 2003), only two NBA head coaches have a longer continuous tenure with their current team than Van Gundy: Jerry Sloan (with Utah since December 1988) and Gregg Popovich (with San Antonio since December 1996).


• The Sabres ousted the Rangers from the playoffs with a 5-4 victory in Game 6. New York is now 1-16 in best-of-seven playoff series that they trailed 3-2, with its only such series win coming against the Devils in 1994. The Rangers forced a seventh game under those circumstances only three other times, losing to Boston in 1939, Chicago in 1971 and Philadelphia in 1974.


• Jaime Moreno's goal in D.C. United's 2-1 victory over Chivas USA was his second in as many games, and both were scored on penalty kicks. Moreno, who has scored 15 of his last 30 goals from the penalty spot, extended his MLS record for career PK goals to 31 and his record for consecutive penalty kicks made to 14.

• Steve Ralston scored one goal and assisted on the other two in the Revolution's 3-1 win over the Fire. With those two assists, Ralston tied Preki for second-most in MLS history (112, two fewer than Carlos Valderrama) and became the first player to record 50 or more assists for each of two different teams (62 for the defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny and 50 for the Revs).

• Sunday's victory marked the first time since June 25, 2005 that the Revs scored as many as three goals in a game without a goal or an assist by Taylor Twellman. It was New England's 11th three-goal game since then.


Tiger Woods won the Wachovia Championship despite his double-bogey on the 13th hole of Sunday's final round. It was the fourth time that Tiger won a PGA tournament in which he had a double-bogey (or worse) on the back nine of the final round. Woods did it previously on the 13th hole at the 1999 PGA Championship and on the 17th of both the 1999 WGC-American Express Championship and 2002 Buick Open.