MILWAUKEE — After two unlikely heroes led to a Brewers victory yesterday, Mark Brouhard was set up perfectly to take those honors today.
In the second inning, Brouhard hit a two-run homer to left to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Minutes later, Brouhard made two fantastic catches, crashing into the left field wall to retire George Brett and Hal McRae in the third, keeping the Royals from scoring at least one run.
Even after the Royals tied the game fourth on a two-out RBI single by Onix Concepcion, it was Brouhard’s game. He had been the offense. His defense kept the team from trailing. Just score a run for the guy and make him the hero.
But Brouhard was the only Brewers player who came to hit. Vida Blue, making his first start since recovering from a shoulder injury, held the Brewers to two runs on six hits in six innings. Dan Quisenberry relieved him and held the Crew to two hits for four more.
But the Brewers did have opportunities. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. And when you don’t take advantage of opportunities, bad bounces and bad luck are bound to be your enemies.
In the top of the tenth, Rollie Fingers retired Frank White on a groundout to third, walked Jamie Quirk and got Greg Pryor to fly out to right. With two down, Onix Concepcion hit an innocent looking pop fly to left field. Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas and Robin Yount all converged, but the ball fell harmlessly between them, bouncing over Gorman’s shoulder and past Oglivie. Quirk, who took off with two outs as soon as the ball was hit, was able to score on what became a Concepcion double.
But in the tenth, the Brewers could have tied the game. Jim Gantner led off with a single to right off of Quisenberry, and Paul Molitor followed with a bunt that John Wathan threw into the dirt. The Brewers had two on and no one out. The logical next step was for Charlie Moore to bunt the runners over. Moore whiffed on the first attempt and fouled the second. To compound matters, he then grounded into a double play.
It was one of those games. On the bright side, the Brewers got tremendous pitching from Moose Haas, who allowed only two runs in eight innings. On the down side, the Brewers could not execute on offense, and Rollie Fingers again failed in the 10th (his third loss).
Is this the end of the world? Nope. But a painful way to lose.
Game Notes: One excuse for the poor offensive showing was that manager Buck Rodgers chose to give several starters rest. Don Money started for Molitor, Mark Brouhard started for Oglivie, and Ned Yost started for Simmons … Robin Yount started lifting weights after the 1979 season. As a result, hit 23 homers in 143 games in 1980. Jim Gantner and Rollie Fingers also join him in the gym these days to help rehab from injuries.