On April 12, 1994, the Red Sox and Royals played the second game of a three game series at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. The Red Sox had won the previous game 8-5 to improve to 5-2 on the season. This game, they would match up 38 year old Danny Darwin with the Royals ace, Kevin Appier. No one would have expected the onslaught that was about to occur.
Red Sox Jump All Over Appier
Kevin Appier was coming off a season which saw him place third in the American League Cy Young vote. His record had been 18-8 and he posted a league leading 2.56 ERA. In three of his four full seasons to this point he had pitched to a sub-3.00 ERA. He was an ace, no doubt about it. But Appier did not have his stuff on this night.
Speedster Otis Nixon started things off with a bunt single. After a walk to Billy Hatcher, Mike Greenwell doubled to right, scoring Nixon for the game’s first run. Mo Vaughn then crushed a pitch down the right field line that resulted in a triple, scoring two runs. Andre Dawson made it five consecutive baserunners when he singled home Mo. The 39 year old Dawson then stole second base, one of only two steals he would record that season, and the last stolen bases of his Hall of Fame career. A Tim Naehring walk brought Scott Cooper to the plate for the first time. Cooper’s double to right scored both baserunners, extending the lead to 6-0 without even one out being recorded. Appier actually set down the next three guys in order to keep the score at 6-0.
The Red Sox tacked on another run in the second when Billy Hatcher homered to left leading off the inning. This was Hatcher’s only home run for the Red Sox that season before being traded on May 31st for Wes Chamberlain. The Royals scratched out a run in the bottom of the inning and it was a 7-1 ballgame after two.
Cooper Provides the Fireworks
Scott Cooper came to bat again in the third. This time his hit to right cleared the wall for a home run, his first of the young season. Two batters later, catcher Dave Valle hit the only home run of his Red Sox career. Valle would be traded in the middle of June for old friend Tom Brunansky. Appier would finish out the inning and call it a night, surrendering nine runs in just three innings of work.
The Royals showed a little fight in the bottom half of the third, getting two men on base for a Dave Henderson three-run home run. But the Red Sox still held a 9-4 lead.
Scott Cooper batted again in the fifth, with two outs and the bases empty. Cooper lined one the other way down into the left field corner. When Vince Coleman went to play it, the ball squirted past him along the fence. Cooper had slowed down, but sped back up on his way to third. He again slowed going around third, but got waved home with two outs. Cooper was meat at the plate, but it gave him the triple, leaving him just a single shy of the cycle.
Red Sox Offense Explodes
Sidearmer and future Red Sox Stan Belinda took the mound for the Royals in the sixth. For some reason he pitched the whole inning. The Red Sox sent 12 men to the plate, scoring eight runs, although just two were earned. Belinda walked four men in the inning and two errors were committed. John Valentin led off the inning with a walk, then later in the inning hit a three-run homer to left-center.
Up 17-4 entering the seventh, the Red Sox still weren’t finished. Facing the Royals closer, the Red Sox expanded their lead to 21-4. Mo Vaughn hit a two-run homer, giving him a triple and a home run on the night. Then, with two men on and needing a single for the cycle, Cooper ripped one to right, scoring both runners. Not being selfish for the cycle, Cooper continued on to second for his second double of the night. Cooper now had 11 total bases and five runs batted in.
Cooper Caps Off the Cycle
Scott Cooper got one more shot to complete the cycle. With the Red Sox now up 22-8, the Royals sent infielder David Howard to the mound to finish the game. Scott Cooper led off the inning against him and hit a sharp ground ball into center field for his fifth hit of the game and to cap off his cycle. This was the first cycle for a Red Sox player since Mike Greenwell completed the feat in 1988.
The Red Sox loaded the bases in the inning but did no more scoring. The Royals got three meaningless runs before the game finished, giving the Red Sox a 22-11 victory. This was the most runs the Sox had scored in a game since they scored 24 against the Cleveland Indians on August 21, 1986. Cooper would go on to be the Red Sox representative in the All-Star Game for the second straight season in 1994. This was the best game of the two time All-Stars career; 12 total bases, 5 runs batted in and the cycle.