MILWAUKEE — Not the best way to start this series.
The Royals are without Amos Otis (hamstring), Willie Wilson (hamstring), Willie Aikens (hand), UL Washington (back) and Lee May (groin). Other than George Brett, that’s pretty much the Royals’ lineup.
So the Brewers knew they were playing a team that was short-handed offensively. Quite the advantage. All they’d need to do is, I don’t know, score three or four runs. Right?
Right. Problem is, they only scored two. Brewers only had seven hits in nine innings, but they didn’t have many opportunities to score. The only true blown shot was in the first when Paul Molitor reached third in the first with one down. Ben Oglivie (strikeout) and Ted Simmons (pop-up) failed to bring him home. The only had a runner in scoring position one other time during the game.
It was nice to see Larry Hisle back in action. Really nice, actually. His two run homer in the seventh accounted for the Brewers’ only runs. The Milwaukee faithful, knowing how much Larry’s been through, gave Hisle a curtain call to show their appreciation. Even though the Brewers still trailed 3-2.
The play of the game may have been a defensive hesitation by Jim Gantner in the 6th. Greg Pryor led off the inning with a homer to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. With John Wathan on first with a one-out single, George Brett hit a shot to Gantner’s left. Jim made a diving stab to stop the ball, a fine play. But instead of immediately throwing to first to get the hustling Brett, he first checked Wathan at second in an attempt to catch him rounding the bag. Wathan didn’t round, and Gantner’s throw to first would be too late. Hal McRae then hit double to right-center to score both runners to make it 3-0.
“Jimmy made a hell of a play just to get the ball,” manager Buck Rodgers said in support, “and the way it looked to me was that he was checking if Wathan was on his way to third. He peeked and it ended up costing him.”
The most disappointing development is the lineup’s continued abuse of starting pitcher Mike Caldwell. Once again, Caldwell pitched well enough to win. Once again, he got no run support.
Now 1-2, Caldwell has been to this rodeo before. In his first appearance of the season, Caldwell allowed only two runs to Toronto but didn’t factor in the decision. Last week against the White Sox he allowed only a single run but again didn’t get a decision.
It’s one game. Let’s even up the series tomorrow.
Game Notes: Dan Quisenberry earned his league-leading eighth save, allowing one hit over 2 2/3 innings … Bill Andereson, Milwaukee County Stadium manager, said it’s “simply a matter of time before professional sports here is a thing of the past without a dome. I’m not setting a time limit on that, but I firmly believe in it.”