Royals make history with loss after 10 first-inning runs

Updated: August 24, 2006, 4:20 PM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In baseball's long history, only two teams have scored 10 runs in the first inning and lost.

The first time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was in 1989, when the Pittsburgh Pirates were beaten 15-11 after putting up 10 in the first against Philadelphia.

It happened again Wednesday night in Kansas City, where the Cleveland Indians made a stunning comeback in a 15-13 victory over the Royals in 10 innings.

"This was awesome," said Aaron Boone, who clubbed one of the three home runs that propelled the Indians.

Down 10-1 after Travis Hafner's solo home run in the first inning, the Indians scored two more in the second on back-to-back homers off starter Jorge De La Rosa by Boone and Grady Sizemore.

Three more runs crossed the plate in the fourth, and Hector Luna had an RBI double in the fifth.

"They just kept creeping back, creeping back, creeping back," said Mike Sweeney, who had four RBI.

Cleveland scored two more in the sixth and suddenly it was 13-9, setting up a four-run ninth inning off relievers Joe Nelson and Ambiorix Burgos that put the game in extra innings.

"It's an unbelievable effort,'' said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "That's why you play nine innings. Once we scored and made it 10-3, you know you're starting to chip away at it."

Ten Cleveland batters had at least one extra base hit in the four-hour game, including pinch hitter Shin-Soo Choo's two-out RBI triple off Burgos that tied it at 13.

Nobody was happier than Indians starter Paul Byrd, who lasted only 2/3 of an inning while getting charged with nine of the 10 runs in the first.

"I've never been down 10-1 and had our team come back," said Byrd. "I deserved to lose. I can't remember ever winning a game where it looked that bleak."

Kansas City batted around twice and had 19 hits. But never in the Royals' 37-year history had they squandered so big a lead or had so many hits in a losing effort.

"I thought the game was over," said Byrd. "I'm in shock that our team came back."

The Indians had not allowed 10 runs in the first inning since 1962, but they actually rebounded from an even bigger deficit in 2001 when they climbed out of an 11-run hole in a 15-14 win against Seattle.

"This reminded me of college baseball and aluminum bats and all the weird things that can happen," said Ryan Garko.

Garko's tiebreaking RBI hit in the 10th made up for his first-inning error at first base that led to six unearned runs.

"It was like climbing a mountain, and you finally get to the top," he said.

Watching in near-disbelief from his private box was Dayton Moore, Kansas City's new general manager.

"The great thing about our game is you get a chance to do it all over again the next day," Moore said Thursday. "You've got to have a short memory to be successful."

The game was eerily reminiscent to Royals fans of a humiliating 13-7 home loss a year ago when Cleveland became one of the few visiting teams in major-league history to score 11 runs in the ninth.

And it was just a couple weeks after Curt Schilling, Boston's six-time All-Star, tied an AL record in Kauffman Stadium by giving up 10 extra-base hits.

Although the Royals hung on to win that one, they're well on pace to lose 100 games for the fourth time in five years.

"This," said Nelson, "is definitely a meltdown."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press