MILWAUKEE — Tonight was Bat Night at Milwaukee County Stadium, and the Brewers faithful showed up in record numbers. Of course, not all 55,716 attended the game for the free bat (and of course, not that many bats were available). First place was on the line.
So how did the Brewers celebrate Bat Night? They hit four home runs, of course.
Cecil Cooper cracked two more homers, giving him 20 on the season and three during the past two days. Paul Molitor smacked his eighth to lead off today’s game, putting him one shy of his career high just 76 games into the season. Robin Yount hit his 12th, continuing his All-Star-type season (even if he isn’t voted in). That’s the team’s one, two and three hitters.
The numbers are getting laughable. Harvey’s Wallbangers have now clubbed 35 long balls in 15 games, breaking the record formerly held by the mythical 1961 New York Yankees. They now have 113 homers on the season, putting them on pace to finish with 238, two shy of the record set by those same Yankees.
The Brewers are 21-8 under Kuenn, hit a lot of homers, yadda yadda yadda. You’ve heard it before. It’s almost getting tiresome.
“You make a mistake,” said Red Sox starter Mike Torrez, who allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings in yesterday’s drubbing, “and they’re going to take advantage of it. What you have to do is be flawless to beat them right now.”
It’s true. And no opponent, other than the Yankees’ Mike Morgan, has been flawless of late.
Of course, the general storyline these last few weeks has been that the Brewers are sending baseballs out of the park left and right while their pitchers are doing just well enough to win. Today was different.
Pete Vuckovich was nearly perfect. In fact, he was perfect, not allowing a baserunner until a one-out walk broke up the perfect game. He held the Red Sox hitless until two outs in the fifth, and would pitch a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits.
But Vuke was never thinking no-hitter. “I just wanted to keep putting goose eggs on the scoreboard.”
And he did. Nine times.
For the first time since April 14 when they were 3-2, the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in the AL East. Of course, they currently share those honors with the Boston Red Sox.
“We’ve had to work hard for everything we’ve got,” Vuke told the Milwaukee Journal. “Hard work got us where we are at. Now we just have to try to stay there.”
Tomorrow, the Brewers look to move into the top spot by themselves. And stay there.