MILWAUKEE — It appeared that Pete Vuckovich didn’t have it today. It appeared he’d be taking a quick shower. Then his teammates picked him up.
Rod Carew then singled to left. Brian Downing hit a liner into center, but Gorman Thomas made a nice running catch. Vuke walked Reggie Jackson. He walked Doug DeCinces. Then he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the first run of the game to score.
But with two down and runners at second and third, Gorman Thomas was going to help his buddy get out of it. Don Baylor laced a sinking liner to center. Gorman charged and laid out at full extension, making the catch.
Vuckovich allowed one run that inning, but without the help from his friends it could have been much, much worse. It’s likely he wouldn’t have gotten out of that inning at all.
He wasn’t sharp on this day, but Vuke would get himself out of jams from that point forward. Runners were stranded at second and third in the fourth, and first and second in the sixth and seventh. He’d bend, but he would not break.
Meanwhile, his teammates put runs on the board. Jim Gantner, Ted Simmons, Gorman Thomas, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, and even Rob Picciolo came through with RBI hits. Vuke held on and his teammates tacked on.
After Brian Downing flied to left for the final out of the game and Vuke picked up his career best 16th win, it was congratulatory handshakes and hugs all around. Vuke and Gorman embraced as they walked off the field.
“He said a few things to me,” Vuke joked. “I’m the worst, the usual.”
He eventually revealed that he simply told Gorman thanks for the defense.
“These guys have been bailing me out all year, especially Thomas. Our defense is underrated.”
The defense has gotten a bad rap all season, and some of it deserved. But as a team, no one is playing better right now.
They’re playing so well that the team received permission from the Commissioner’s Office to sell playoff and World Series tickets. Beginning September 8, fans can start mailing in their orders.
The Brewers would have home field advantage for the ALCS but not the World Series (if they get to either series, of course — don’t want to jinx it). The ALCS would begin on October 5 and 6 with games 3, 4 and (if necessary) 5 in Milwaukee on October 8, 9 and 10.
The World Series, if you want to think that far ahead, will start in a National League park on October 12 and 13. If we are so lucky, World Series baseball will come to Milwaukee on October 15, 16 and (if necessary) 17.
Want tickets? They’ll cost ya.
A box seat for the ALCS is $17 and $24 for the World Series. A strip of six tickets for each possible game is $123. Grandstand tickets are $12/$18/$90 and bleachers are $5/$8/$39.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to talk to a witch doctor about reversing the possible curse I just created.