Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out 10 batters in seven innings in the Red Sox' 4-1 win at Kansas City. Matsuzaka was the first pitcher to reach double-digits in strikeouts in his major league debut since May 2002, when Aaron Harang and Mark Prior did it three days apart. Matsuzaka fell one short of the team record for strikeouts in an MLB debut, set by Don Aase in 1977, and two short of the A.L. record shared by Steve Woodard of the Brewers (1997) and Elmer Myers of the Philadelphia Athletics (1915).
• The Devil Rays capitalized on three errors by the Yankees, scoring a pair of unearned runs in their 7-6 victory. The Yankees also made three errors on Monday. It's the first time since 1926 that they have committed three or more errors in each of their first two games of a season.
• Elijah Dukes of the Devil Rays became the first player in major-league history to face the Yankees in each of his first two games and to hit home runs in both games.
• The Diamondbacks took an early 4-0 lead and hung on for a 4-3 win over the Nationals. It was the fourth time in four games this season that Washington fell behind 4-0 or worse before scoring. Only three other teams since 1900 did so in each of their first four games of a season: the Padres in 1994 and 1974 and the Washington Senators in 1904.
• A.J. Pierzynski drove in the winning run when he was hit by a pitch from Roberto Hernandez in the bottom of the ninth in the White Sox' 4-3 victory over the Indians. Why does this not surprise us: It was the sixth time in the last six seasons that Pierzynski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, tying Jason Kendall for the major-league lead during that time.
• Jason Marquis allowed one run in six innings, but the Cubs bullpen couldn't hold the lead in the Reds' 5-2 win. Last season, Marquis posted a 14-16 record for the Cardinals, becoming the first pitcher in major-league history to lead his league in losses pitching for a World Series winner. But the Cardinals' pen blew only one lead for him all season.
• After the Phillies fell to 0-3 with an 8-4 loss to the Braves, starting pitcher Adam Eaton said, "Are we pressing? I think it's too early for that. We're looking forward to a good season. I don't think three games is going to make or break us." Brave talk, perhaps, but the Phillies did overcome 0-3 starts in two of their last five division-winning seasons (1977 and 1983).
• The Spurs defeated the Suns, 92-85, holding the Suns to only 14 assists and two three-point field goals. It was the first time that Phoenix recorded fewer than 15 assists in a game since January 17, 2005 against the Pistons (11) and it equaled the Suns' season low for three-pointers.
• Jason Blake scored his 40th goal of the season in the Islanders' 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. It was the first 40-goal season for Blake, who is 33 years old. The only older player at the time of his first 40-goal season was Johnny Bucyk in 1971 (35).
• Milan Hejduk scored all three goals for the Avalanche in their 3-1 victory over the Canucks. It was the first hat trick by a visiting player at Vancouver since Hejduk scored three goals there in a 9-2 rout more than three years ago (March 8, 2004).
• It's not déjà vu: Niklas Backstrom posted his second shutout against the Oilers in three nights, as the Wild defeated Edmonton, 3-0, on Thursday night -- just as they did on Tuesday. Over the last 20 years, only two other goaltenders shut out the same opponent twice over a three-day span: John Vanbiesbrouck against the Rangers (1999) and Martin Brodeur against the Senators (1998).
• The Oilers are 2-17-1 over their last 20 games, and the only points they've earned over that span came from a pair of shootout wins and an overtime loss. Edmonton is the first NHL team to play 20 consecutive games in one season without scoring more goals than its opponent in any game since San Jose recorded a 20-game streak in 1992-1993.
• Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 of 37 shots on goal in the Penguins' 3-2 win over the Senators. Fleury is 16-2-2 since Dec. 29 in games in which he faced at least 30 shots on goal. His record over the same span when he faced fewer than 30 shots is 9-3-3.
• Brian Rafalski assisted on the Devils' first goal in their 3-2 win at Philadelphia. It was Rafalski's eighth consecutive game with at least one assist, setting a record for a Devils defenseman. (The previous mark was held by Scott Stevens, who had assists in seven consecutive games in 1993-1994.) Only two other NHL defensemen have had an assist streak of eight or more games this season: Mathieu Schneider (9) and Scott Niedermayer (8).
• The Blackhawks defeated the Red Wings, 3-2, in a shootout despite being outshot, 58-21. It's only the sixth time in the last 50 years that a team won a game in which it was outshot by that wide a margin.
• Tiger Woods shot a one-over-par 73 in the opening round of the Masters. Woods shot over par in the first round of 21 of his 46 previous major events and won only one of them -- the 2005 Masters in a playoff.