MILWAUKEE — This game seemed to be in hand for the Brewers. And just as it was falling out of hand, they nearly made a miraculous comeback.
Starting pitcher Moose Haas was perfect for three innings: nine up, nine down. Meanwhile, the Brewers had built a 2-0 lead. It felt like, the way Moose was going, two runs could be enough.
Of course, it wasn’t. The next 2 1/3 innings were not kind to Haas. He’d allow four runs on seven hits and two walks. Pete Ladd relieved him with one out in the sixth and two on and allowed his one inherited runner to score. After six complete innings, the game was tied at four.
Two home runs off of Ladd appeared to put the game out of reach. Mitchell Page led off the top of the eighth with a solo shot and with one down in the ninth, Wayne Gross launched a two-run shot to make it 7-4.
But the Brewers didn’t quit. Gorman Thomas and Ben Oglivie singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, bringing the tie run to the plate. Charlie Moore flied to right for the first out, but Roy Howell and Ted Simmons then hit back-to-back singles to make it a one-run game with runners at the corners and one out.
Suddenly, it seemed inevitable that the Brewers would at least force extra innings. Instead, the A’s turned to reliever Bob Owchinko. Jim Gantner grounded to second, and Dave McKay threw out Roy Howell trying to score. Paul Molitor then struck out to end the game.
“I thought we were going to come back,” manager Harvey Kuenn told the Milwaukee Sentinel. “We battled all night but just couldn’t get it done.”
A team that has made a name for itself with monster rallies and offensive heroics came up short this time. But there’s always a next time.
The second place Boston Red Sox beat the California Angels in 10 innings to pull back to within 5 1/2 games of the Brewers. The third place Baltimore Orioles also won and are now six games back.