Astros Drop Dozen On Phils
May 31, 1975
Cliff Johnson posts six total bases in frame.
(c) Houston Astros

Box Score + PBP

by Bob Hulsey

In the second-ever June major league amatuer draft, the Houston Astros chose a tall righthander from Oregon named Wayne Twitchell with the third overall choice in 1966. General Manager "Spec" Richardson found a willing trading partner in the expansion 1969 Seattle Pilots and, in one of those deals, Twitchell was sold to the Pilots, who became the Milwaukee Brewers that off-season.

In 1971, Twitchell was traded back to the National League as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. By 1973, Wayne was an All-Star. However, he suffered a losing season in 1974 and carried a losing record into a home game against the team that drafted him. On May 31, 1975, Twitchell had the chance to show his original organization what they gave up.

The Phillies entered the game at .500 and fourth in the National League East. The Astros had come off three winning seasons but had fallen to the Western Division basement at 19-31. New manager Preston Gomez sent righthander J.R. Richard to the mound at Veterans Stadium.

Richard falls behind

Doug Rader
(c) Houston Astros
Twitchell struggled in the second as Milt May and Jose Cruz singled but he got out of trouble thanks to a double play and a strikeout. Richard sailed through the first three innings but gave up a run in the fourth when Dick Allen singled home Mike Schmidt and surrendered another run in the fifth when he tossed a wild pitch which scored Terry Harmon.

Meanwhile, Twitchell settled down, retiring eleven consecutive Astros. He entered the eighth inning with a two-hit shutout. That's when Houston erupted for the largest one-inning rally in team history.

Cruz started the frame with a single to left. Doug Rader crossed up the defense with a bunt down the third base line that stayed fair. Rob Andrews tried to bunt them over but, down 0-2 in the count, Gomez sent Ken Boswell to pinch-hit for Andrews. After three fouls, Boswell was called out on a third strike.

Bob Watson pinch-hit for Richard, who had struck out eight and walked four over seven innings. Watson singled up the middle to score Cruz and move Rader to second. Watson would have been a starter that day but for a leg injury so Wilbur Howard entered at first base as a pinch-runner.

That was it for Twitchell, who left still clinging to a 2-1 lead. Southpaw Tug McGraw came in to face Greg Gross but Gomez went to his bench yet again for pinch-hitter Cliff Johnson, a righthanded hitter. Johnson dumped a double down the left field line which plated Rader. Meanwhile, Howard raced home when Allen misplayed the relay throw. The Astros led, 3-2.

Roger Metzger grounded out to third for the second out. Cesar Cedeno was intentionally walked, putting runners at second and first. May defeated the strategy with a single to right which brought in Johnson, then Enos Cabell singled home Cedeno for a 5-2 lead.

Houston bats around

Cruz, who began the rally, worked a walk to load the bases. McGraw was sent to the showers as Danny Ozark summoned righthander Gene Garber from the bullpen. Rader greeted him with a bouncer that caromed off second base umpire Frank Pulli, plating May and advancing the others 90 feet. Boswell then blooped a single to center that scored Cabell and Cruz to make it an 8-2 advantage.

A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, then Howard rapped a base hit to right to get Rader and Boswell home. Johnson, up for his second time, capped the rally with a two-run blast into the right field seats before Metzger rolled out for the second time in the inning.

Twitchell's once-commanding night had disintegrated into a 12-2 deficit. The line score tolled the damage: a dozen runs on ten hits with nobody left on.

The Astros still needed six more outs. Wayne Granger came in to relieve the long-departed Richard. He gave up a run on three straight singles before a double play to Metzger got him out of futher trouble.

No worries. The Astros got three more runs in the top of the ninth when Cedeno doubled off Tom Hilgendorf, May singled him home then Cabell launched a two-run homer to left.

Metzger began another double play in the ninth before Granger struck out Dave Cash to end the 15-3 slaughter. Richard, who had left the game just as the fun began, took the win to become 4-3 on the season. With the loss, Twitchell fell to 3-6.

One for the books

The 12-run outburst was the first one the Phillies had allowed since 1935 when the Cubs lit them up. The inning was a team record for the Astros, one that still exists today.

The record-setting inning sent baseball historians racing through their record books and created a unique problem for the league offices. Cliff Johnson was the pinch-hitter who doubled home the second run of the inning then later homered for the last two runs. Nobody could find an occasion where a pinch-hitter produced two hits in the same inning. In his first at-bat, he was hitting for Gross but, on his second at-bat, was he still technically a pinch-hitter? He was replaced by Granger in the top of the ninth so he never actually took a defensive position. Was Johnson pinch-hitting for himself when he hit the homer? If so, he would own two records that might never be topped: most pinch-hits in an inning (2) and most total bases by a pinch-hitter in an inning (6).

Later in the week, the league ruled that Johnson's second at-bat was not officially a pinch-hit, so only the double stood as a hit in the pinch. Despite spending much of the year as a pinch-hitter, Cliff would lead the Astros in home runs (20) for the season. Johnson, by the way, was drafted by the Astros four rounds later than Twitchell had been in the same year.

As for Twitchell, his career continued to falter as he bounced from Philadelphia to Montreal, the Mets, and finally back to Seattle where he toiled for a new expansion franchise called the Mariners in 1979. His career record was 48-65.

The 1975 Astros also faltered, dropping to 64-97, their worst record to date.

Houston Astros 15, Philadephia Phillies 3
Game Played on Saturday, May 31, 1975 (N) at Veterans Stadium

HOU N    0  0  0    0  0  0    0 12  3  -  15 15  0
PHI N    0  0  0    1  1  0    0  1  0  -   3  6  1
Houston Astros        AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Gross lf               2   0   0   0       1   0       0   0
  Johnson ph           2   2   2   3       0   0       0   0
  Granger p            0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Metzger ss             5   0   0   0       0   0       2   5
Cedeno cf              3   2   1   0       2   0       4   0
May c                  5   2   3   2       0   0       7   2
Cabell 1b              5   2   2   3       0   1       6   0
Cruz rf                4   2   2   0       1   0       0   0
Rader 3b               5   2   2   1       0   1       2   0
Andrews 2b             3   0   0   0       0   2       4   0
  Boswell ph,2b        2   1   1   2       0   0       2   2
Richard p              2   0   0   0       0   1       0   0
  Watson ph            1   0   1   1       0   0       0   0
  Howard pr,lf         1   2   1   2       0   0       0   0
Totals                40  15  15  14       4   5      27   9
DP: 2. Metzger-Boswell-Cabell, Metzger-Boswell-Cabell.
PB: May (9).
2B: Johnson (4,off McGraw); Cedeno (13,off Hilgendorf).
HR: Johnson (2,8th inning off Garber 1 on 2 out); Cabell (1,9th inning off
Hilgendorf 1 on 0 out).
IBB: Cedeno (3,by McGraw).
Team LOB: 2.
CS: Cedeno (7,2nd base by Twitchell/Boone).
Philadelphia Phillies AB   R   H RBI      BB  SO      PO   A
Cash 2b                4   0   0   0       1   1       2   4
Schmidt 3b             3   1   0   0       1   1       1   2
Johnstone rf           4   1   1   0       0   2       4   1
Luzinski lf            4   0   1   0       0   0       0   0
Allen 1b               4   0   2   2       0   2       9   2
Boone c                4   0   0   0       0   0       5   1
  Hilgendorf p         0   0   0   0       0   0       1   0
Martin cf              4   0   1   0       0   1       4   0
Harmon ss              1   1   0   0       3   1       0   1
Twitchell p            2   0   1   0       0   1       0   0
  McGraw p             0   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
  Garber p             0   0   0   0       0   0       1   0
  Oates c              1   0   0   0       0   0       0   0
Totals                31   3   6   2       5   9      27  11
DP: 1. Johnstone-Allen.
E: Allen (3).
SH: Twitchell (2,off Richard).
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Schmidt (4,2nd base off Richard/May); Allen (1,2nd base off Richard/May).
Houston Astros        IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Richard W(4-3)         7     2   2   2   4   8   0
Granger                2     4   1   1   1   1   0
Totals                 9     6   3   3   5   9   0
WP: Richard 2 (5).
Philadelphia Phillies IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Twitchell L(3-6)       7.1   5   3   3   2   5   0
McGraw                 0.1   3   5   5   2   0   0
Garber                 0.1   4   4   4   0   0   1
Hilgendorf             1     3   3   3   0   0   1
Totals                 9    15  15  15   4   5   2
WP: Garber (1).
IBB: McGraw (4,Cedeno).
Umpires: Lee Weyer, Satch Davidson, Frank Pulli, Tom Gorman
Time of Game: 2:36   Attendance: 18094
Starting Lineups:

   Houston Astros                Philadelphia Phillies    
1. Gross               lf        Cash                2b
2. Metzger             ss        Schmidt             3b
3. Cedeno              cf        Johnstone           rf
4. May                 c         Luzinski            lf
5. Cabell              1b        Allen               1b
6. Cruz                rf        Boone               c
7. Rader               3b        Martin              cf
8. Andrews             2b        Harmon              ss
9. Richard             p         Twitchell           p

ASTROS 1ST: Gross flied out to right; Metzger grounded out
(first unassisted); Cedeno flied out to right; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 0.

PHILLIES 1ST: Cash walked; Schmidt popped to second; May allowed
a passed ball [Cash to second]; Johnstone struck out; Luzinski
flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 0.

ASTROS 2ND: May singled to center; Cabell hit into a double play
(right to first) [May out at second]; Cruz singled to right;
Rader struck out; 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 0.

PHILLIES 2ND: Allen struck out (catcher to first); Boone flied
out to center; Martin popped to second; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Astros 0, Phillies 0.

ASTROS 3RD: Andrews struck out; Richard flied out to center;
Gross walked; Metzger popped to third; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. 
Astros 0, Phillies 0.

PHILLIES 3RD: Harmon struck out; Twitchell struck out; Cash
grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Astros
0, Phillies 0.

ASTROS 4TH: Cedeno walked; May popped to second; Cedeno was
caught stealing second (catcher to second); Cabell flied out to
center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 0.

PHILLIES 4TH: Schmidt walked; Schmidt stole second; Johnstone
lined to third; Luzinski popped to first in foul territory;
Allen singled to center [Schmidt scored]; Allen stole second;
Boone flied out to center; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros 0,
Phillies 1.

ASTROS 5TH: Cruz grounded out (second to first); Rader grounded
out (second to first); Andrews flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0
E, 0 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 1.

PHILLIES 5TH: Martin lined to shortstop; Harmon walked;
Twitchell singled to third [Harmon to second]; Cash forced
Twitchell (shortstop to second) [Harmon to third]; Schmidt
struck out but Harmon advanced to home and Cash advanced to
second and Schmidt advanced to first on a wild pitch; Richard
threw a wild pitch [Cash to third, Schmidt to second]; Johnstone
struck out; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 2 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 2.

ASTROS 6TH: Richard struck out; Gross grounded out (shortstop to
first); Metzger grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0
LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 2.

PHILLIES 6TH: Luzinski flied out to center; Luzinski is now
0-for-17; Allen struck out; Boone popped to shortstop; 0 R,
0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Astros 0, Phillies 2.

ASTROS 7TH: Cedeno flied out to right; May grounded out (second
to first); Cabell struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  Astros 0,
Phillies 2.

PHILLIES 7TH: Martin struck out; Harmon walked; Twitchell out on
a sacrifice bunt (catcher to second) [Harmon to second]; Cash
grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros
0, Phillies 2.

ASTROS 8TH: Cruz singled to left; On a bunt Rader singled to
third [Cruz to second]; Andrews was called out on strikes;
WATSON BATTED FOR RICHARD; Watson singled to center [Cruz
to left [Rader scored, Howard scored (error by Allen) (no RBI)];
Metzger grounded out (third to first); Cedeno was walked
intentionally; May singled to right [Johnson scored, Cedeno to
second]; Cabell singled to center [Cedeno scored, May to
second]; Cruz walked [May to third, Cabell to second]; GARBER
REPLACED MCGRAW (PITCHING); Rader singled to second [May scored,
Cabell to third, Cruz to second]; BOSWELL BATTED FOR ANDREWS;
Boswell singled to center [Cabell scored, Cruz scored, Rader to
second]; Garber threw a wild pitch [Boswell to second, Rader to
third]; Howard singled to right [Rader scored, Boswell scored];
Johnson homered [Howard scored]; Metzger grounded out (first to
pitcher); 12 R, 10 H, 1 E, 0 LOB.  Astros 12, Phillies 2.

Schmidt popped to third; Johnstone singled to right; Luzinski
singled to left [Johnstone to second]; Allen singled to center
[Johnstone scored, Luzinski to second]; Boone grounded into a
double play (shortstop to second to first) [Allen out at
second]; 1 R, 3 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros 12, Phillies 3.

REPLACED BOONE (PITCHING); Cedeno doubled to center; May singled
to right [Cedeno scored]; Cabell homered [May scored]; Cruz
grounded out (third to first); Rader flied out to center;
Boswell grounded out (first to pitcher); 3 R, 3 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. 
Astros 15, Phillies 3.

PHILLIES 9TH: Martin singled to shortstop; Harmon walked [Martin
to second]; Oates grounded into a double play (shortstop to
second to first) [Martin to third, Harmon out at second]; Cash
struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.  Astros 15, Phillies 3.

Final Totals      R   H   E  LOB
 Astros          15  15   0    2
 Phillies         3   6   1    7