OAKLAND — Bob McClure did all he could to win today’s game. His teammates, both at the plate and in the field, did little to help.
Staked to a meager 2-0 lead, McClure shut out the Oakland Athletics for 7 2/3 innings. Then with two down and two on in the eighth, Rickey Henderson rapped a single to center to tie the game at two.
Though the Brewers scored two runs in the fifth on singles by Charlie Moore and Paul Molitor, offense was otherwise nonexistent. They had an opportunity to score a run in the third after Jim Gantner reached on a one-out triple, but Paul Molitor was retired on an infield pop-up and Robin Yount grounded to short to end the inning.
Other than that, the only Brewers rally occurred in the 11th. With two down, Roy Howell walked to load the bases. But Charlie Moore popped out behind the plate to end the team’s biggest threat of the game.
Meanwhile, McClure was scratching and clawing to keep his team in it. Other than that one two-out single, McClure was flawless. He took the mound again in the bottom of the 11th, and Rickey Henderson reached first on a ground ball that went through third baseman Paul Molitor’s legs for an error. Although Henderson has 110 stolen bases, Dwayne Murphy bunted him to second. Then Joe Rudi reached on the one hit of the inning, a single to left, to bring home Henderson for the winning run.
It’s not fair for McClure, who did all he could to win the game. It’s not fair to Brewers fans that McClure was forced to take the mound in the 11th. He should have been allowed to hit the showers after a good day’s work. But since Rollie Fingers is still nursing a sore pitching elbow, manager Harvey Kuenn had little choice.
Fingers returned to his home in San Diego for a second cortisone shot in five days. He was expected to be back for this series, but now isn’t expected to return for another three or four days. It was the second time in three days that a starting pitcher went longer than usual due to the absence of Fingers, resulting in a loss.
“When I throw my fastball or forkball it doesn’t bother me much,” Fingers explained, “but when I try to snap off a good breaker it really hurts.”
Fingers needs that breaking ball. And the Brewers need Fingers.
The Boston Red Sox beat the California Angels 4-1 to pull to within three games of the Brewers in the AL East.