MILWAUKEE — For six innings, Brewers starting pitcher Doc Medich no-hit the Detroit Tigers. Staked to a 3-0 lead in the seventh, it all came apart at the seams.
Glenn Wilson led off the seventh with a single to left to break up the no-no. Then Larry Herndon hit a grounder to Ed Romero at second for what appeared to be a sure double play. Romero flipped to Robin Yount at second who gunned to Cecil Cooper at first, but first base umpire Al Clark ruled Herndon safe.
Jim Turner would then hit a double to score two, including Herndon, to make it 3-2. The Tigers then took the lead in the eighth when they scored three more runs on three hits to make it 5-3.
This was only the start of an aggravating few innings for manager Harvey Kuenn and the Brewers. Ben Oglivie would tie the game at 5 in the bottom of the eighth with his 27th home run of the season, but the Brewers nearly won the game in the bottom of the ninth when two more controversial calls stood in their way.
After Marshall Edwards led off the inning with a walk, Ed Romero laid down a bunt. Feeling lucky, pitcher Milt Wilcox picked it up and fired to Alan Trammell at second. Jim McKean ruled Edwards out, and manager Harvey Kuenn stormed out of the Brewers dugout to express his displeasure.
But instead of two on and no outs, there was one on and one out. Paul Molitor bunted and Wilcox threw the ball away to put runners on first and third. Robin Yount then grounded to short and, instead of trying for the double play, Alan Trammell fired home.
It appeared Ed Romero got in. Of course, nothing was the way it appeared today, and home plate umpire Jim Evans ruled Romero out. Kuenn again charged out of the dugout to find his rightful place on the field, and third base coach Harry Warner joined him in voicing his disgust.
“I got my leg in between his legs,” Romero explained after the game. “I was going on any ground ball. I thought I had a good jump but maybe I didn’t have a big enough lead. It was a very close play. When I started my slide the ball was just getting there. I don’t think he blocked the plate.”
Would you believe there was yet another controversial call in the Tigers’ favor? Of course you would. With Ben Oglivie on first and one out in the bottom of the 10th, Charlie Moore hit a grounder into the hole at short. Trammell fired to Lou Whitaker at second and Oglivie was ruled… Well, you know what he was ruled.
Kuenn stormed out, Warner was angry, you’ve heard this story before.
“I told [McKean] it was the second call he’d missed,” Kuenn said. “He didn’t say anything back so maybe he realizes he missed it too.”
It was one of those games. The Brewers should have won. Doc Medich was terrific through six innings and while he wasn’t great thereafter, he certainly didn’t get help from the umpires.
“We played our butts off,” Kuenn said, “but it’s a little tough when you battle 13 players. Maybe I shouldn’t say 13 players. Let’s say nine players and you can take your guess at the other four.”
Don Sutton is on the mound for his second Brewers start tomorrow.
Game Notes: The Brewers are now just three games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, their smallest lead since August 18. … Rollie Fingers will be examined on August 8 to see if he can travel with the team on the upcoming road trip. … Gorman Thomas missed the game after getting a shot in his right arm yesterday for inflammation. He is expected to play tomorrow. … Outfielder Bob Skube was added to the roster due to the injury to Thomas. … Jim Gantner sat out the game after being hit by a pitch on the wrist yesterday. He is day to day with swelling.