Thursday’s Cubs-Royals game was one-sided, with Kansas City taking an early lead and never looking back in a 13-2 victory. Despite the loss, the Cubs made some history in the ninth inning.
Cubs pitcher Alec Mills became the first hurler to have a plate appearance since Major League Baseball implemented a universal DH.
“I told him to look intimidating and I think he did,” Cubs manager David Ross said with a smile after the game.
The Cubs forfeited the DH in their lineup in the seventh inning, when they moved Victor Caratini (Thursday’s starting DH) to first base and Ian Happ from first to right field among several innings worth of moves that emptied their bench.
With the DH gone, reliever Dan Winkler entered the lineup in the seventh in place of Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, a move Ross said postgame was to get Heyward off his feet. When that spot came up in the ninth, Ross sent Mills to the plate. He struck out looking, as Ross asked him not to swing.
“Alec was fine with going up there. I asked him not to swing,” Ross said. “Every part of my being knows that’s probably the wrong thing to do, is take the competitiveness out of a player. He’s been pitching so well for us; I don’t want anything dumb to happen in that type of game.”
Reds two-way player Michael Lorenzen is the only pitcher credited with entering a game on offense this season. He pinch ran on July 26.