Backup catcher Drew Butera finished the game on the mound, the first time the Royals had a position player pitch since Mitch Maier on April 15, 2012.
That sums up the Royals' starting-pitching performances the last two days.
Chris Young waited until the second inning to implode, but not much else was different Saturday as the Royals got bludgeoned for the second straight game by the Astros at Kauffman Stadium.
"Drew will be available for (Sunday)," manager Ned Yost said after the game, "but hopefully we won't need him."
Home was supposed to be the Royals' safe space, where Yost's club has posted a major league-best 25-10 record, even after enduring back-to-back beatings.
The Astros, who have won a season-high seven straight games, have proven to be rude houseguests, including the 13-5 thrashing of Young and the Royals on Saturday.
At least for the last two days, home has been anything but sweet for the Royals, who have fallen five games off the pace set by Cleveland in the American League Central.
One day after the Royals' Edinson Volquez became the only starting pitcher since at least 1913 to allow 12 runs in only one official inning or less, Young got cuffed around for seven runs on six hits in the second inning.
"I felt good the first inning, but I came back for the second and felt like a completely different pitcher," Young said. "I wish I had an explanation, but the bottom line is it can't happen. I'm better than that, the team needs me to be better than that and it's frustrating. I don't know exactly why, it just felt like all of the sudden in the second inning I had no feel for anything."
It was enough to kill the good vibes generated by the crowd of 38,880, the sixth sellout of the season, when Alex Gordon was introduced and again when he stepped to the plate in the first inning — a hearty reception he noticed and appreciated.
"It's been pretty frustrating to be on the DL the last couple years, so for them to kind of stick with me means a lot," said Gordon, who'd been sidelined since May 22 with a broken wrist. "I didn't know what to expect today and was kind of happy about the ovation. They've always been great to me, so it's great to have these fans."
Gordon was hitless in his first three at-bats, including a bases-loaded groundout to second to end the fourth inning, but smashed a 424-foot solo home run to right field in the sixth inning and roped a double into the right-field corner two innings later.
"I wish I could have gotten a couple of hits with guys on," he said. "We were down by a lot, so that could have been huge."
The last two nights mark the first time the Royals have allowed 10-plus runs in back-to-back games since May 6-7, 2012.
Volquez's minus-12 game score Friday ranks his outing as one of the 20 worst starts in baseball history since 1913, according to baseball-reference.com, and Young wasn't much better.
Young lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts as his ERA rocketed up 0.93 points to 6.54.
After working around a two-out double by Jose Altuve in the first inning, Young issued a pair of walks to open the second, and it was downhill from there.
It took a spectacular barehanded play by shortstop Alcides Escobar on a slow roller just past the mound to retire Carlos Gomez, but six of the next Houston batters reached.
Luis Valbuena's two-run double off the right-field wall started the scoring, and three batters later Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI single that drilled Young in the leg and rolled into foul territory in front of the Royals' dugout.
Altuve followed with a 427-foot shot to deep left, which doubled the Astros' lead to 6-0, before Carlos Correa's opposite-field homer into the visiting bullpen finished the carnage.
The Royals never drew closer than five runs the rest of the way, especially after Gonzalez homered leading off the fourth.
Meanwhile, Yost's offense, which left 12 runners on base, largely squandered bases-loaded opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings and never seriously threatened the Astros.
"The offense never quit battling," Yost said. "They kept putting guys on, we just (couldn't quite) get a hit in a couple of those situations, but we did get 12 or 13 hits and kept fighting the whole way through."
Peter Moylan and Chien-Ming Wang combined for 5 2/3 innings before Butera, who featured a low 90s four-seam fastball and change-up, got the ball.
Jason Castro greeted Butera — who made his fourth career relief appearance and the first since May 17, 2014 — with a ringing RBI double to right-center.
Butera retired the next three batters — George Springer on a pop-out to third, Gonzalez on a strikeout and Danny Worth on a ground-out to short — and furthered his cult-hero status by leading off the bottom of the ninth with a double.
"I guess it's something to smile about, but obviously the circumstances are never good, the reason why I'm in there pitching," Butera said.
Young recorded his 1,000th career strikeout in the game, fanning Springer during the disastrous second inning, but it was hard to enjoy the milestone.