The bullpen was crowded with nine bodies, but the Kansas City Royals' bench was as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard.
Manager Ned Yost used seven relief pitchers in the 15-inning victory Sunday at St. Louis. Right-hander Roman Colon, who worked three innings Saturday, was the only reliever Yost did not use.
That led to a call to Class AAA Omaha, and left-hander Tommy Hottovy and right-hander Louis Coleman were recalled Monday to give the Royals a 14-man pitching staff.
However, that left only three bench players available in Kansas City's 9-7 loss at Houston. They were catcher Brayan Pena, outfielder Mitch Maier and first baseman Eric Hosmer, who was not in the lineup because designated hitter Billy Butler played first.
Hosmer struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. Maier contributed a sacrifice fly in the five-run ninth, a rally that ended with the bases loaded. Pena was not used.
Yost did not have a backup middle infielder at his disposal in case of an injury.
"I've got to have pitchers," Yost said before the game.
He said right-handers Jonathan Broxton, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland and left-hander Tim Collins were unavailable, but he wound up using only Coleman in relief of Jonathan Sanchez.
Yost also said left fielder Alex Gordon, who broke into the majors as a third baseman, could be used in the infield if needed.