ARLINGTON, Tex. — This was one of those games that the Brewers may not have deserved to win. But the Rangers certainly deserved to lose.
The good fortune started for the Brewers with two outs in the first inning. Rangers pitcher Frank Tanana induced a Ted Simmons ground ball to third base that should have ended the inning. Instead, Buddy Bell bobbled the ball, Simmons was safe at first and Robin Yount scored.
After Gorman Thomas doubled to put runners at second and third with two outs, Ben Oglivie hit another ground ball that should have ended the inning. This time, rookie first baseman Dave Hostetler bobbled it, Oglivie reached and Simmons scored.
Frank Tanana dominated the Brewers. He pitched a complete game, allowing one earned run on five hits. But his defense committed four errors, largely contributing to the loss.
Of course, the Brewers wouldn’t have won on three runs scored without some solid pitching. Bob McClure allowed only two runs in seven innings and was pulled after his left forearm stiffened up. In the fifth inning, Ranger George Wright hit a liner off of McClure, leading to his early removal.
Rollie Fingers, though, was perfect. The game’s top closer pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a baserunner for his 22nd save.
“Bobby [McClure] pitched well tonight,” said manager Harvey Kuenn after the game. “But the highlight of the night was Rollie’s pitch to Bell. It started out as a forkball, and end up as, well, you know…”
Rollie’s pitch was the talk of the clubhouse. With Buddy Bell at the plate to lead off the inning, Fingers threw a pitch to his first batter. As Harvey said, it was meant to be a forkball. Instead, it sailed well behind Bell’s back and to the Brewers’ dugout. It finally came to a stop in front of Pete Vuckovich.
“That is my ‘I don’t really want to throw this pitch anyway’ pitch,” Fingers said with a sly grin.
The Brewers could laugh about the pitch and their overall subpar play because they won the game to take two of three in the series. Meanwhile, the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 9-7 to remain a half game out in the AL East.