This one got out of hand early, so why not empty the bench and set a major league record? That’s what the Royals did, using 27 players (including six pitchers) as they absorbed an 11-4 whipping at the hands of the California Angels in Anaheim Stadium.
The record has since been surpassed with 30 players used, most recently by the Colorado Rockies in 2015, but at the time it was a perhaps dubious accomplishment. Things started going south in the second inning. Royals starter Bill Butler had already allowed two runs in the first, on Bubba Morton’s single, but retired the first batter of the second. However, while pitching to the Angels’ Andy Messersmith, Butler felt discomfort in his elbow and left the game. Al Fitzmorris took over but eventually walked the bases loaded. Rick Reichardt singled for one run before Morton smacked a three-run double.
That four-run inning put a quick end to Kansas City’s 3-2 lead. Jerry Adair started the second with a double and took third on a Buck Martinez single. Pat Kelly walked with two outs and Mike Fiore doubled to drive in all three runners.
That was about it for Kansas City’s offense, though. Messersmith would go on to pitch a complete game, despite allowing eight hits and seven walks. The Royals would not score again until the eighth, when the game was already decided, with Kelly driving in Fred Rico with a double.
The Angels extended their lead to 8-3 with two runs in the third, and tacked on another in the fourth. At that point, manager Joe Gordon began emptying his bench, with the Royals using five pinch-hitters and one pinch-runner. Gordon was also having trouble finding a pitcher who could get outs; of Kansas City’s six pitchers, only Steve Jones kept California off the scoreboard while he was on the mound.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 58-83 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 28 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL196909100.shtml
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