Date: September 2, 2015

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

MLB

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Greinke

Lowest ERA keeps getting lower as Greinke prevails over Giants

Zack Greinke outdueled Madison Bumgarner as the Dodgers edged the Giants to extend their lead in the NL West. Greinke allowed one earned run in 7.1 innings to lower his earned run average to 1.59. Greinke is the first pitcher in 10 years whose ERA stood at 1.60 or lower after making at least 25 starts - Roger Clemens was under that mark after his 28th start for the 2005 Astros though he finished the season at 1.87. No other Dodgers pitcher since 1912, which was the first season that earned runs were officially tracked in the National League, had a seasonal ERA as low as 1.60 at any time after making his 25th start.

Greinke improved to 7-0 (with two no-decisions) against the Giants in his career, making him the fifth pitcher in major-league history to win each of his first seven or more decisions against the Giants. The other four to do so are Mike Hampton (first 10 from 1995 to 2001), Jack Coombs (first nine from 1915 to 1917), Kevin Brown (first seven from 1996 to 1999), and Vic Lombardi (first seven from 1945 to 1946).

Nationals disaster

For the second night in a row the Nationals held a two-run lead in the late innings, and for the second night in a row the Cardinals came back to win. Since relocating to Washington D.C. prior to the 2005 season, the Nationals had not lost consecutive games when the team held a multiple-run lead in the seventh inning or later prior to this week. Casey Janssen took the loss for the second night in a row after allowing a three-run homer to Brandon Moss in the bottom of the ninth. These two games marked the first time since August 2010 that Janssen took a loss in consecutive appearances, as well as the first time since June 2010 that he allowed at least three runs in back-to-back outings.

Washington Nationals

Cardinals way above .500 after comeback win

The Cardinals have now won a major-league high 16 games this season in which they overcame a deficit of any margin in the seventh inning or later. St. Louis had only 10 wins of that kind all of last season. In fact, the only season in the last 10 years in which the Cards had more than 16 such comeback wins was 2011, when they won 17 times after trailing in the seventh inning or later.

The Cardinals' record now stands at 86-46, making St. Louis the first team since the 2011 Phillies to go at least 40 games over .500 with at least 30 games left to play in the regular season (Philadelphia was also 86-46 with 30 games to play). The Cardinals had also accomplished that feat themselves in 1944 and 2004.

St. Louis Cardinals

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Goins

Goins trumps Gomes in late-inning heroics

Ryan Goins homered in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Blue Jays a 5-3 walkoff win against the Indians. The game-winning blast was the fourth walkoff home run for the Blue Jays this season - Josh Donaldson has hit two and Edwin Encarnacion has one. The only other season in which Toronto recorded at least four walkoff homers was the 2011 campaign - the Jays hit six that year.

Toronto triumphed despite the late heroics of Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who launched a solo homer in the seventh to even the score, then hit another game-tying home run in the top of the ninth. Including his two longballs tonight, Gomes has a .462 batting average this season in Late-Inning Pressure Situations, which is defined as batting in the seventh inning or later where one of the following situations applies: (1) score is tied, (2) batting team trails by one, two or three runs, or (3) batting team trails by four runs and multiple runners are on base. In the last 35 years, the only other Indians players to homer in a late-inning pressure situation twice in a single game are Albert Belle (May 1993 versus the Angels) and Ben Broussard (Sept. 2005 against the A's).

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Porcello

13 unlucky number for Porcello as Yanks win

The Yankees escaped Fenway Park with a 3-1 victory over the Red Sox despite a superb outing from Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who allowed one earned run over eight innings with a career-high 13 strikeouts. Porcello became just the third pitcher to record at least 13 K's in a loss to the Yankees. Rube Waddell suffered two such defeats against New York over 110 years ago - the Hall-of-Famer struck out 13 for the Philadelphia Athletics on August 1, 1903 and recorded 14 K's on September 6, 1904 (both games were at Hilltop Park in New York). The other pitcher with a 13-strikeout loss against the Yanks is Marv Grissom, who rang up 13 strikeouts in eight innings on September 13, 1952 for the White Sox.

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Schwarber

Schwarber wins it at Wrigley

Kyle Schwarber hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning at Wrigley Field, putting the Cubs ahead for good against the Reds. The victory for Chicago marked the 28th time that a rookie drove in the game-winning run for the Cubs in a victory this season - Kris Bryant has 12 such RBIs, Schwarber now has six, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell each have four, and Matt Sczcur has two. Those 28 game-winning RBIs by Cubs rookies is by far the largest total in the majors - the Phillies rank second with 16. The last team whose rookies totaled at least 28 game-winning RBIs in a single season was the 2006 Marlins, who recorded 44.

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Sano

Quite a start for Sano

Miguel Sano had three hits, including a game-tying homer in the seventh inning, to help the Twins defeat the White Sox, 8-6. Sano has recorded 52 hits in the first 50 games of his major-league career, including 14 homers and 13 doubles. The only other active players who recorded at least 50 hits in their first 50 major-league games with at least half of those hits going for extra bases are Jose Abreu (50 hits, 31 XBH) and Chris Davis (50 hits, 25 XBH). Sano is the first player in Twins/Senators history with such a start to his major-league career.

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Andrus

Andrus steals show in San Diego

Elvis Andrus stole home to cap a four-run seventh inning for the Rangers in their 8-6 victory over the Padres. Andrus has now stolen home four times in his major-league career - he did so twice in 2011 and once in 2013 - though Tuesday marked his first "straight steal" of home, meaning a steal of home that did not involve a double-steal attempt. The four steals of home for Andrus are the most among active players. Four active players have done so three times - Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Torii Hunter, and Melvin Upton, Jr.

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Niese

Phillies rough up Niese again

It was déjà vu all over again for Jonathon Niese. The Mets lefty allowed five runs in the third inning to the Phillies in his last start on August 27, and the same situation unfolded on Tuesday as Niese gave up another five runs - again in the third inning and again to Philadelphia. Darin Ruf capped the scoring for the Phils in both of Niese's disaster innings with a two-run homer on Thursday and a three-run bomb in this game.

Niese became the third pitcher in team history to allow a five-run inning in consecutive starts against the same opponent - Bret Saberhagen allowed a pair of five-run innings in consecutive starts against the Expos in April 1992 and Mike Torrez was hit hard by the Cardinals in his first two starts of the 1983 season (Torrez allowed a five-run inning in the first game and a seven-run inning in the second). The last pitcher in the majors before Niese with consecutive starts of that kind was Lenny DiNardo, who allowed a pair of five-run innings in back-to-back starts against the Twins in 2009.

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Cueto

Leadoff troubles lead to loss for Cueto

Johnny Cueto took a loss for the third consecutive start as the Royals fell to the Tigers, 6-5. Cueto allowed base hits to begin each of his first four innings, and Detroit plated runs in three of those four frames. With the Reds earlier this season, Cueto had held opposing hitters that led off an inning to a .273 batting average. Since joining the Royals, Cueto has allowed a .383 average (18 hits in 47 at-bats) to leadoff hitters.

Brewers hit early and often versus Cole

Each of the first four Brewers batters recorded base hits and scored a run against Pirates starter Gerrit Cole, helping Milwaukee earn a 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh.. Tuesday marked the third time this season that the Brewers started a game with at least four consecutive hits - Milwaukee also did so on June 24 against the Mets and June 26 versus the Twins (the Brewers had four straight hits to open each game). The only other team in the majors with at least three games of that kind this season is the Nationals, who also have done so three times.

For Cole, it marked the second time in his major-league career that he allowed hits to at least four consecutive batters. The other such occurrence was earlier this season - Cole allowed four straight two-out hits in the first inning on June 24 against the Reds. That inning versus Cincinnati was also the only time before Tuesday that Cole allowed as many as four runs in the first inning of a start.

Milwaukee Brewers

Diamondbacks take two at Coors Field

The Diamondbacks won twice at Coors Field on Tuesday, defeating the Rockies 6-4 in the first game and 5-3 in the nightcap. Tuesday marked the second time this season that Arizona recorded two wins in Denver in a single day - the D-Backs also registered two W's over the Rockies on May 6. Arizona is the first team in 25 years to tally two road wins in a single day versus a particular opponent multiple times within a single season. The last team to do that was the Yankees in 1990 - New York swept a doubleheader in Cleveland on July 27, 1990 and then repeated that feat two days later.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Losing skid continues for Braves

The Braves are now 1-14 over their last 15 games after falling to the Marlins, 7-1. No other team this season has lost at least 14 times within a span of 15 games, though two teams did so last season - the Rays (May-June) and Rangers (June-July). The last time Atlanta recorded 14 losses within a span of 15 games was in August 1982. The Braves' current seven-game losing streak at Turner Field marks the team's longest skid within a single homestand since 1988 - the Braves started that season 0-10 with their first eight losses coming at home.

Atlanta Braves

Rays run up score in Baltimore

The Rays put up four runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth to pull away from the Orioles in their 11-2 win. That marked the second time this season that Tampa Bay scored at least four runs in consecutive innings - the Rays did that against the Blue Jays on April 24 (Tampa Bay scored four runs in the fourth inning and five in the fifth). The last time before Tuesday that the Rays plated four runs in consecutive innings without the aid of a home run was on April 29, 2010 - Tampa Bay scored five runs in the second inning and four in the third without homering against the Royals.

Tampa Bay Rays