CLEVELAND — For seven innings, Cleveland starter Ed Whitson dominated the Milwaukee Brewers. Then the real game started.
The Brewers didn’t collect their first hit until Paul Molitor singled to lead off the sixth. They didn’t get their second until Molitor singled in the eighth. And then…
Cecil Cooper had seen three pitches in three fruitless at bats until that point. But then Whitson made a mistake.
“It was a fastball down the middle,” Whitson explained. “His eyes lit up like silver dollars and I knew it was gone the minute I threw it.”
Cooper unloaded Whitson’s meatball over the right centerfield fence for his 23rd home run of the season. Suddenly, after struggling to even get a hit for seven innings, the Brewers and Indians were tied at two.
Moose Haas kept the Brewers in the game throughout, allowing only two runs on 10 hits and two walks through nine innings. He may have come out for the tenth except that Mike Hargrove lined a shot off of Haas’ hand to end the ninth.
Both teams passed up opportunities to win the game, but the Brewers would finally capitalize in the 10th (though it would come after poor execution). Molitor again singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on an error by Miguel Dilone. Robin Yount then dropped a hard bunt back to the mound and Molitor was caught in between second and third. Luckily, he stayed in a run-down long enough to get Yount to second.
Then the drama…
Cecil Cooper again came through, this time with a one hop single to right. Yount flew around third and appeared to beat a strong throw from outfielder Von Hayes. The throw was to the left shoulder of catcher Ron Hassey, who made a swipe tag of Yount as he slide across the plate.
Umpire Drew Coble pointed down, and Yount assumed he was being called out. Robin jumped to his feet and appeared to grab Coble by the shoulders. Ted Simmons, who had raced over from the on deck circle, then began screaming at Coble. Manager Harvey Kuenn rushed out of the dugout and third base coach Harry Werner rumbled toward the plate.
Coble then waved both arms and made the call he was attempting the entire time: SAFE. He had simply pointed to where Yount had touched the plate.
“I don’t know what I did but there was no way in the world I was out,” Yount explained. “I snapped a bit. When I realized he had called me safe, I said ‘ok’ and walked away as fast as I could because I thought I was in trouble.”
Kuenn had a similar account. “To tell the truth I have no idea what I was saying to Coble out there. [Gorman] Thomas grabbed me by the shoulders, shook me and yelled, ‘He called him SAFE!’ in my face, and I said, ‘See ya later.’”
Moments later, Ted Simmons hit his 18th home run of the season to give the Brewers a 5-2 lead that they would not give up. Rollie Fingers pitched the 10th for his 25th save.
The Brewers’ lead in the AL East increased to a season-high 2.5 games after the Boston Red Sox fell to the Chicago White Sox 6-3.