Bases Loaded, Two Outs. Then Came the Walks

Cubs drew six bases-loaded walks in one inning, the most in 65 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2024 7:30 AM CDT
Bases Loaded, Two Outs. Then Came the Walks
Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Kyle Nicolas gets the ball back from catcher Yasmani Grandal after walking Chicago Cubs' Miles Mastrobuoni, forcing in a run, during the fifth inning in Pittsburgh, Saturday, May 11, 2024.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Chicago Cubs drew six bases-loaded walks in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, the most by a major league team in a single inning in 65 years. The last team to draw that many free passes with runners at every base in one inning was the Chicago White Sox, who had eight in the seventh inning on April 22, 1959, according to Major League Baseball. The inning began with prized Pirates rookie Paul Skenes giving up two hits, ending his big league debut, per the AP. The Pirates ended up needing three more pitchers to get through the frame—which included a 2-hour, 20-minute rain delay.

  • Ball(s) 4: Kyle Nicolas replaced Skenes, struck out two batters, and hit Ian Happ with a pitch. Then it got much worse. Nicolas threw 12 straight pitches outside the strike zone to Nico Hoerner, Michael Busch, and Miles Mastrobuoni to bring in three runs. Then Josh Fleming came in and walked Yan Gomes on five pitches before giving up an infield single to Mike Tauchman. Fleming was pulled for Colin Holderman, who walked Seiya Suzuki on four pitches and Cody Bellinger on five to give Chicago, which trailed 6-1 entering the frame, an 8-6 lead. Holderman retired pinch-hitter Nick Madrigal on a liner to end the inning.
  • Silver lining: The Pirates threw 55 pitches in the inning—20 for strikes. They retook the lead on Yasmani Grandal's 3-run homer in the bottom half and held on to win 10-9.
  • About that debut: Pirates starter Skenes is a 6-foot-6 rookie and one of the most promising young pitchers in the league, per USA Today. He struck out seven in his first start and hit 102mph on one of his pitches.
(More baseball stories.)

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