Friday night was a rematch of game three of the 2015 ALDS between the Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros. Edinson Volquez and Dallas Keuchel, both Opening Day starters on their respective teams, faced off in what figured to be a low-scoring game.
And then the first inning happened.
Volquez turned in one of the worst performances by a starting pitcher in the history of major league baseball. The Astros hung nine runs off of him in the first inning, and with the game all but over at that point, he was run back out for a second frame of work. Houston proceeded to load the bases with none out before Volquez was finally yanked. All three runners came around to score, meaning that Volquez allowed 12 runs in 1.0 innings of work.
Prior to Friday night, no pitcher in the history of major league baseball had allowed 12 runs while recording just three outs. Quite possibly, it was the absolute worst performance by a starting pitcher - ever.
Here's what a nine-run first inning looks like:
George Springer tripled. Marwin Gonzalez singled him home (1-0). Jose Altuve singled. Carlos Correa grounded into a fielder's choice. Colby Rasmus singled off the wall (2-0). Carlos Gomez singled (3-0). Luis Valbuena walked to load the bases. Evan Gattis reached on an error (4-0). Jason Castro singled (5-0). Springer hit a grand slam (9-0).
Notes from that inning: the Escobar error was incredibly stupid. He ran all the way into left field and ignored Brett Eibner's call. The ball bounced out of his glove and slammed onto the Kauffman Stadium turf. It was one of three errors by the Royals on the night.
Volquez was thrown back out for the second inning, but he walked Correa, yielded a single to Rasmus, and walked Gomez before being pulled. Dillon Gee was inserted in relief, but by the time he got three outs, the score was 12-0, Houston.
Volquez' final, historic line: 1.0 inning, eight hits, 12 runs, three walks, and no strikeouts. He allowed one home run, and it was a grand slam. He dropped to 7-7 on the year. He needed 48 pitchers to face 14 batters. His ERA went from 4.12 to 5.15 in one evening. It was reminiscent of Jeremy Guthrie's Memorial Day disaster at Yankee Stadium last year, but worse. Guthrie's game score for that day was -11, and Volquez' today was a remarkable -18. Minus eighteen!
The Royals scored four runs, three of which were driven in by Cheslor Cuthbert. He hit an RBI double in the second and picked up an RBI on a fourth-inning groundout. In the fifth, Escobar lined a solo home run into the left-field corner for his first homer of the year. And in the seventh, Cuthbert homered to the same spot, lining his sixth big fly of the season.
Oh, and Rasmus added a solo homer later in the game to give the Astros their 13th run. Of course he did.
It's pretty remarkable that the Astros scored nine more runs than Kansas City, yet only needed three more hits to accomplish the feat. The Royals had 11 hits, so it's not like the bats were silent or anything. And over the last seven innings of the game, the Royals out-scored Houston 3-1.
Dallas Keuchel's line: 6.1 innings, 11 hits, four runs, and two strikeouts. He earned the win. He is 4-9.
The Royals, with the loss, fell to 38-34. They have lost three straight games.
Tomorrow: Alcides Escobar Bobblehead Day at Kauffman Stadium. Chris Young pitches against a home run hitting team that scored 13 runs tonight. Yikes.