MILWAUKEE — When things are going well, it seems even the worst predicaments can be overcome. Today’s predicament qualifies.
Luckily, it hit the fleshy part of McClure’s elbow. But it still left a mark, and he wasn’t able to continue. Jim Slaton took over on the mound.
This is only a guess, but I pictured Slaton lounging in the bullpen with a candy bar in one hand and binoculars in the other, checking out female fans in the stands. It was the first pitch of the first inning. No reason to think he’d be in the game any time soon.
But just like that, Jim was summoned. It would have been perfectly understandable if he wasn’t mentally prepared to pitch at that point. You just don’t go in to start a game on the mound (for all intents and purposes, that’s what he did) at a moment’s notice. As a result, Slaton allowed a couple of hits and the only two Twins runs of the game.
But Slaton was typically fantastic from that point forward. He allowed three more hits through the fifth before Dwight Bernard took over. Even Bernard was fantastic, allowing only a hit in three innings. And Rollie Fingers finished off the relief pitcher’s dream with a perfect inning of his own.
This is what happens when things are going well. Despite losing your starting pitcher on the first pitch, and despite falling into a first inning 2-0 hole, you never lose confidence. The relief pitchers did their job, and the offense did theirs.
The Brewers tied it up in the fourth on a two-run, two-out triple by Jim Gantner. Then took the lead for good in the fifth on a two run homer by Ben Oglivie (his seventh). Gantner would come a double away from hitting for the cycle. The Brewers swept the four game series from the Twins, an impressive feat even when your opponent is the Twins.
You can’t phase this team. The Crew’s unheralded relievers are ready to step up. And the offense is always capable of digging out of a hole. That’s what happens when you’re in the midst of a four-game winning streak. You are never out of a game.
Game Notes: Jim Gantner, needing a double to complete the cycle, accidentally wore Cecil Cooper‘s batting helmet in his eighth inning at bat. He flied out … The Brewers are 16-10 and have won 13 of their last 17. They now trail the Boston Red Sox by 2 1/2 games … X-rays on Bob McClure’s elbow were negative, and he may not miss a start.