This article could and should have been about how the Brewers hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the third time this season. That was merely a footnote in this disaster.
The Brewers led the Yankees 8-2 midway through the sixth inning. Don Sutton, who had sparkled in his two prior Brewers appearances, was on the mound. There was no way they were giving away this game.
Unfortunately, it seemed the Brewers’ players were thinking the same thing. After scoring their eighth run in the fourth, they went scoreless on only two hits the rest of the way.
But an offense that scores eight runs gets a pass. Things got a little less comfortable when the Yankees scored three in the sixth to make it 8-5. But the eighth and ninth, innings typically reserved for closer Rollie Fingers with a three run lead, were the source of greatest concern.
Jamie Easterly relieved Sutton in the bottom of the seventh and struck out pinch hitter Lou Piniella to end the inning. The dependable Jim Slaton was warmed up and ready to pitch the eighth. But Kuenn stuck with the not-so-dependable Easterly.
“He was throwing pretty good but was a bit erratic,” Kuenn explained.
Time for a bullpen move? Hello? No?
Bobby Ramos then hit his second career home run to tie the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Jim Slaton finally came into the game and proved that he may not have been a superior option. He loaded the bases before giving up the game winning hit to Roy Smalley.
Clearly, the Brewers missed Rollie Fingers today, who is still out with a slight tear in his forearm and is out for an unknown amount of time. This is not the first time a healthy Rollie Fingers could have been the difference and it is unlikely to be the last.
“I don’t think about not having him,” Kuenn assured us. “Though I wish every day he would come in and tell me he was ready. We have other guys who can get the job done. I am sure of it.”
Well, I’m not so sure, Harvey.
The Orioles also lost so the Brewers remain up three games in the AL East. Tomorrow starts a three game series with the Tigers in Detroit.