MILWAUKEE — It was only a matter of time.
Through six innings, White Sox starter Britt Burns had the vaunted Brewers offense figured out. No runs on three hits, including three 1-2-3 innings. After six and one half innings of play, the White Sox led the Brewers 2-0.
Of course, you can’t keep this team down forever. When you have the chance, you’d better create a larger cushion than a measly two runs. That ain’t gonna hold up. It didn’t tonight.
With two down and Don Money standing on second, Jim Gantner and Paul Molitor struck with back-to-back singles (aided by an error on Ron LeFlore) to quickly tie the game at two and knock Burns from the game. Salome Barojas temporarily calmed the flames by getting Robin Yount to ground out to end the seventh, but the fire grew to a roar in the eighth.
Salome faced three batters that frame and couldn’t retire one. Cecil Cooper singled to center, Ted Simmons singled on a shot off of Salome and Gorman Thomas doubled to left to bring home both of them after a Salome balk moved both runners up a base. Kevin Hickey then took his turn on the mound, but the Brewers would add one more with a Charlie Moore sacrifice fly.
This is the problem if you’re the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox or anyone else in the American League. Even when you slow down this record-setting offense, a sub-par game may be good enough to beat you. And the pitching always seems to step up when they need it most.
Today, Bob McClure did just enough, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks through 6 1/3 innings. Newcomer Pete Ladd made his Brewers debut by pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless baseball, and Rollie Fingers finished it off in typical Rollie Fingers-fashion — with a perfect ninth.
No, the Brewers didn’t hit four home runs today. They didn’t hit any. They “only” scored five runs. But they aren’t a one-dimensional team. They will always, it seems, find a way to win.
This was their seventh straight win and the fourth in a row against the White Sox. The Brewers go for the rare five-game sweep tomorrow. The Red Sox kept pace by beating the Royals 8-4 and remain a half game out.