DETROIT — When the Tigers took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, it appeared more than likely that they’d salvage the finale of a four-game series. But when you’re facing Harvey’s Wallbangers, no lead is safe.
Boom… Boom… Boom!… BOOOM!!
It was a two-man show for the Brewers on offense. Ted Simmons and Ben Oglivie collected six of the team’s nine hits. They drove in six of the seven runs. Ben Oglivie mashed three home runs, and twice he drove in Simmons in the process. Simmons had a double and a home run, his ninth of the season.
But this was Oglivie’s day. He hit home runs in three consecutive at bats, clearing the wall in the second, fourth and sixth innings. His third home run (his 15th of the season) was a bomb that bounced off the Tiger Stadium roof in right center. It was the second time he had hit three home runs in a game, and also the second time he hit three against the Tigers, his former team. The last time was on July 8, 1979 in Milwaukee.
Given the opportunity to hit his fourth straight home run in the eighth, Detroit smartly put him on first intentionally. Two batters later, Roy Howell would drive in another run. That’s how it’s going right now for the Brewers. Take the bat out of the hot player’s hands, you’ll have to deal with another.
The typically reliable Jim Slaton started and was knocked around for five runs on seven hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Jerry Augustine took over and was nearly perfect, allowing only a hit in 4 1/3 innings. Rollie Fingers finished it off with two perfect innings of his own for his 15th save, striking out the side on 10 pitches in the ninth. That’s 6 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball. It was the bullpen’s work that allowed Oglivie, Simmons and the Brewers to hit back into the game.
Let’s not underestimate the impressiveness of a four-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit. This is a team that was tied with the Red Sox for the AL East lead and led the Brewers by six games entering this series. They are now two games back and lead the Brewers by two.
Now down by four games, the Brewers are suddenly major players in the divisional race. While the Brewers now take on the 30-31 Yankees, the first place Red Sox will battle it out with the Tigers.
Game Notes: It was the Brewers’ fifth straight road win and their 12th win in 18 games under manager Harvey Kuenn … The Brewers hit nine home runs in the series … Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner and Cecil Cooper all deserve to play if not start in the All-Star Game, but none are likely to be voted in.