The most interesting angles are not always apparent, and sometimes it takes hours of digging to unearth that one note that perfectly sums up a player’s performance.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
That was the case Monday night, as Kansas City Royals righty Vin Mazzaro allowed 14 runs – all earned – and 11 hits to the Cleveland Indians in just 2⅓ innings. Needless to say, Mazzaro’s outing was the worst for a major league pitcher in quite some time.
Prior to Monday, no Royals pitcher had ever given up more than 11 runs in a game and no MLB pitcher had allowed 14 or more runs in game since the New York Yankees touched up Oakland Athletics starter Mike Oquist for 14 runs in 1998.
Mazzaro’s 14 earned runs allowed were the most for a reliever in more than 69 years. On April 16, 1942, Les McCrabb of the Philadelphia Athletics allowed 14 earned runs in relief against a Boston Red Sox lineup that featured Dom DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. Not surprisingly, the outing was McCrabb’s first and last of the season.
A pitcher allowing 14 runs is unusual, but a pitcher allowing 14 runs in just 2⅓ IP is unprecedented. The Elias Sports Bureau says Mazzaro is the first pitcher to give up at least 14 runs in fewer than three innings in baseball’s modern era, or since 1900.
Elsewhere in the majors Monday:
• Cliff Lee walked a career-high six batters, one shy of his season total entering the game, and took the loss as the Philadelphia Phillies lost their season-high third straight game. Lee is now 0-3 in his past six starts, his longest streak of winless starts since 2004.
• The Tampa Bay Rays exploded for six runs, their most at home this season, as they beat the Yankees 6-5. The six runs snapped their streak of 22 straight home games with five or fewer runs, the longest such streak to start a season for any team since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas.
• The Boston Red Sox rallied from a six-run deficit in the sixth inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles and pull even with the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Red Sox won a when trailing by at least six in the sixth inning or later since June 7, 2003 against the Milwaukee Brewers.