Lightning Does Strike Twice

Apparently lightning does strike twice, I'm just glad it didn't hit us twice. After what we thought was a once-in-a decade even last Wednesday night when Atlanta relievers walked in four runs with the bases loaded against the Phillies, we learned that it had actually happened twice before in the previous decade:

The Orioles issued four bases-loaded walks in the eighth inning of a Sept. 5, 2008 game against the A's.

The last time it occurred in the National League was May 9, 2004, when the Dodgers allowed the Pirates to score four eighth-inning runs via walks.

But surely it's such a rare thing that it won't happen for at least another year or so, right? Wrong. In yesterday's Sunday Night Baseball game between the Cubs and the Brewers, Jeff Suppan and (had to be an ex-Brave) Jorge Julio combined for four bases loaded walks.

The score was tied at 1 entering the decisive fourth inning, when the Cubs loaded the bases with one out. Suppan walked No. 8 hitter Koyie Hill on four pitches -- a no-no with Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster (1-0) standing on deck -- to force home the go-ahead run. Dempster followed with a fielder's choice grounder, and the Brewers retired the lead runner at the plate to leave Suppan one out away from an escape.

Instead, he walked Soriano on a 3-2 pitch to force in another run. Kosuke Fukudome also looked at a full-count Ball 4 to make it 4-1 before Macha called for Julio, who walked Derrek Lee on four pitches to make it 5-1.

Since divisional play began in 1969, teams have issued four bases-loaded walks in an inning nine times, including twice in the past five days. The Braves did it Wednesday in a loss to the Phillies.

Let's hope these kinds of rare occurrences are done messing with us. It's fun when it happens to another team, but not to us.

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