Guillermo Heredia's Grand Slam Helped the Braves Get the Lucky Thirteen Runs
Baseball is a sport rife with superstition, as players tend to eat the same food or wear the same t-shirt while they are on hot streaks. There have been many cases where a guy will not shave for many days, lest he ruin a streak of current success.
Other than stars like Alex Rodriguez and Davey Concepcion, few players have ever dared tempt superstition by wearing the number thirteen. That traditionally unlucky number, while feared as a jinx by those who put on the uniforms, can actually end up benefiting some lucky fans occasionally.
Over the last few seasons, fans willing to take a minor financial risk have participated in a 13 run pool. Each member is randomly assigned a team, and the first team to complete games in which they finish with run, then two, then three, and so on, all the way up to thirteen, collects the money.
The pool is a variation of the old 13 Run Pool, which was popular several decades ago. It was a much simpler approach, for it did not require a chart of the team's run total over a minimum of several months.
All the team had to do, in order for its participant to win, was to score exactly thirteen runs in a game. Each day that no team plated exactly 13 times, the pot would continue to grow until someone finally notched the otherwise unlucky number.
Just last year, fans saw the extreme results from both sides. Just a day separated the first 13 run game from the second, but short span is not the most unusual aspect of the occasion.
What is quite unusual, even in sport where oddities are relatively common, is the fact that both 13 run games featured the same two teams. To make it even more remarkable, both losing clubs scored the exact amount of runs on both occasions.
In the first 13-run game, exactly one year ago today, the Chicago Cubs hammered the Atlanta Braves 13-4. The North Side lineup took turns whacking the pitches of Huascar Ynoa who, while limiting the damage in the first two frames, got hammered by for four runs in the third.
Chicago Willson Contreras, who had already homered in the first, added a second blast to start the third. Shortstop Javier Baez followed a few batters later, connecting for a three-run shot that put the Cubs up six to nothing.
Of course Chicago would add seven more runs, thereby resulting in some lucky fan a tidy sum from the 13 run pool. Whoever had the opponents that day, wishes the Cubs would have scored one less run or one more run, because of what happened in the next game less than twenty four hours later.
Atlanta hitters returned the favor against Chicago ace Kyle Hendricks, as Freddie Freeman, Travis d'Arnaud, Ehire Adrianza and Guillermo Heredia all smashed home runs in a six-run first inning. Four innings later the Braves plated another half dozen runs, propelled by a grand slam for Heredia.
Thanks to those two innings with crooked numbers, as well as a run scored by Ronald Acuna, Jr. in the fourth, the Braves ended the game with thirteen runs. Just as on the day before the losing team mustered four runs, thereby making history as the first two teams to each win and lose a 13-4 game against the other.
While the two-day span was a welcome feat to add to the long list of baseball firsts, it offered little comfort for the fan who had Atlanta in the 13 rule pool. Just twenty four hours after he or she watched as the holder of the Cubs raked in several weeks worth of antes, the unlucky Braves holder had to satisfy himself with the tiniest of pots.