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SMOLTZ’S SORRY SURRENDER: 11 HITS, 9 RUNS, 4 HOMERS IN JUST 3 INNINGS

SHARE SMOLTZ’S SORRY SURRENDER: 11 HITS, 9 RUNS, 4 HOMERS IN JUST 3 INNINGS

Tell us this really happened:

The Atlanta Braves lost back-to-back games by 16-0 and 12-4.And got outscored by 20-0 in a span of four innings.

And John Smoltz, a guy who often looks like the most unhittable pitcher in baseball, gave up four home runs in one inning.

If things like this can happen to the Atlanta Braves, what's next? Junior Ortiz hitting four home runs in one game? The Phillies signing Fernando Valenzuela? Yeah, right.

But all that stuff above actually happened to those Braves last weekend against Cincinnati. First, they lost by 16-0 on June 18. Then, the next day, Smoltz went out and gave up seven runs in the first inning.

Which meant that between the seventh inning of the first game and the first inning of the second, the Braves gave up more runs than they once allowed in an entire seven-game playoff series against the Pirates in 1991 . Incredible.

Meanwhile, Smoltz went on to rack up the National League box-score line of the year.

Here are some of the amazing details:

-Smoltz's unbelievable line: 3 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 0 BB, 2 K - and 4 HR just in the first inning.

-The nine runs Smoltz gave up were more than twice as many as he once allowed in a whole month back in July 1992 (four).

-And according to David Vincent, the brilliant home-run history maven from the Society of American Baseball Research, Smoltz became just the fourth pitcher to give up back-to-back home runs twice in one inning. The others: Catfish Hunter against the Red Sox on June 17, 1977, Cal McLish against the Red Sox on May 22, 1957, and onetime Phillies gopherballer Charlie Bicknell against the Cardinals on June 6, 1948. Then there's Paul Foytack, who once gave up back-to-back-to-back-to-backers. But he's a category unto himself.

Smoltz's best quips:

Third prize - "All I can say is: Happy Father's Day."

Second prize - "It looked like I was trying to injure some outfielders out there."

First prize - "I told (Jeff) Blauser I was gonna keep the ball off the ground - but I guess I got a little carried away."

ALL-STAR VOTING SCANDAL: And now the latest on the Roberto Mejia All-Star voting scandal that shook the baseball world:

Roberto Mejia still plays for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox this week. And the Colorado Springs Sky Sox still do not play in any major league that we know of this week.

But, fortunately, Roberto Mejia no longer has more All-Star votes than Ken Griffey. That's good.

Unfortunately, Mejia still does have more votes (582,675) than Rafael Palmeiro, Andres Galarraga or any member of the Florida Marlins. And that's bad.

Sources in the highest echelons of the game tell us that the baseball poobahs are very concerned that a man who isn't even in the major leagues could get a half-million All-Star votes.

But are they doing one darned thing about it? No.

So it's up to Week in Review. We contacted two private investigators to urge them to hunt down these Roberto Mejia voters and bring them to justice. Can't be done, those investigators said.

Therefore, once again, we're turning to the greatest living American playing in the minor leagues today - the inimitable Casey Candaele, utility witticist for the Indianapolis Indians.

It was only a week ago that we launched our Mejia-inspired protest campaign to get Candaele elected to the All-Star Game as the National League's starting second baseman.

We knew the response would be swift and dramatic. So, with great excitement, we called All-Star vote headquarters to get Candaele's total. And that total was . . . um . . . zero.

"That bums me out," a shocked Candaele told Week in Review. "I'm depressed. I thought I had ONE friend out there."

But if Candaele thought he was depressed before, he was totally despondent when he heard some of the names ahead of him in the voting - names such as:

David Letterman - "David Letterman?" Candaele gulped. "They like that gap between his teeth, I guess. I have a gap, too, you know - between my ears."

Mickey Mouse - "Well, he's taller than me," Candaele rationalized. "That's why."

Madonna - "Hey, she's a pretty good center fielder," Candaele said admiringly. "You can't take that away from her. I can handle Madonna."

Clearly, Candaele said, "something's not working" in this campaign. So something has to change. And Candaele has just the thing.

"How about changing my name?" he suggested. "What about, say, Ryno Candaele? That sounds good. Or maybe Casey Griffey Jr."

TANTRUM OF THE WEEK: The Blue Jays' Todd Stottlemyre got a little upset Tuesday night.

First he hit Boston's Andre Dawson with a pitch. Then Dawson picked up the baseball and fired it into center field. Then, one inning later, Stottlemyre hit Dawson with another pitch. This time, the umpires gave Stottlemyre the rest of the night off.

Apparently, he wasn't too happy with that decision - because he fired a wastebasket, a huge container of gum and sunflower seeds, a bunch of cups, batting helmets and, finally, a Gatorade bucket onto the field.

That created a 13-minute cleanup delay. It also put Stottlemyre's finances in major jeopardy - because the standard fine for object-heaving is $100 per item.

"All I know," Jays coach Gene Tenace said, "is, he'd better hope one of those sunflower-seed packets didn't pop."

STRANGE BUT TRUE FEATS OF THE WEEK: Real life continued to be stranger than a Stephen King film festival last week. Just look:

-Feisty ump Bruce Froemming ejected Cubs catcher Rick Wilkins from a game against the Marlins on Tuesday - for, essentially, not being able to catch.

"I've been umpiring for 24 years, and I've seen just two guys who missed pitches," Froemming told the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel's Gordon Edes after Wilkins got run for missing a pitch that hit plate ump Jerry Crawford in the chest. "One was Jeff Reed, and he couldn't see. The other is this guy. I don't know what this guy's problem is - if he can't remember the signs or he just can't catch the ball."

-In back-to-back starts, Dodgers pitcher Ramon Martinez gave up home runs to two pitchers who had NEVER hit home runs - the Reds' Pete Schourek, followed by the Rockies' Marvin Freeman. Starvin' Marvin was 1-for-21, with 15 strikeouts, before the homer.

"I've got like a $300 phone bill, calling everybody I know," Freeman said. "I told them, `You've got to watch `SportsCenter.' I went deep.' "