MILWAUKEE — Earlier in the week, the Toronto Blue Jays did the Milwaukee Brewers a big favor by sweeping the second place Boston Red Sox in a three game series. It was only natural that they’d roll over in a double header with the first place Brewers today.
Maybe they didn’t roll over. Maybe it wasn’t intentional. But Brewers fans appreciate their effort, or lack thereof.
In the first game of today’s double header, Brewers starter Bob McClure took on the Blue Jays for the second time in 10 days. Last time, he lasted only an inning and took the loss. Today, he pitched a complete game, allowing only a run on five hits and four strikeouts.
McClure looked like a completely different pitcher. He retired the last 15 batters he faced and didn’t walk anyone, the first time he accomplished that in 25 career starts.
“I felt in a lot more control than the last time,” McClure assured us. “It’s always easier when you score a lot of runs early.”
Well, maybe not “a lot” or “early.” The Brewers scored two runs in the second inning on a two-run home run by Gorman Thomas, his 29th of the season. The Blue Jays pulled to within a run in the fourth inning and then the Brewers pulled away in the fifth with four runs to make it a 6-1 game. Jim Gantner, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount all had RBI hits in the inning.
But McClure was the story of the game. His approach was completely different this time around.
“He mixed up his pitches good,” manager Harvey Kuenn explained. “He threw more fastballs than previously, which makes his curveball and change-up more effective.”
The Blue Jays made the second game interesting when they tied the game at three in the sixth inning. But with two down and runners on the corners in the bottom of the inning, Robin Yount lifted a lazy liner into left field. Outfielder Barry Bonnell jogged in… and dropped the ball. Charlie Moore trotted across the plate for what would be the winning run. A gift.
Gorman Thomas hit another two-run home run in the third inning to give him 30 on the season, taking the MLB lead over Atlanta’s Dale Murphy. Randy Lerch, making his first spot start since being demoted to the bullpen, pitched a solid six innings in return to a temporary spotlight.
But in the end, this game was a gift. And since neither the Red Sox nor the Orioles played today, the Brewers gained a game on both. Tomorrow, the Brewers hope the Blue Jays will continue to be in a giving mood.
Game Notes: Outfielder Mark Brouhard was sent to Triple-A Vancouver to make room for recent acquisition Doc Medich. Brouhard is expected to be recalled when rosters are expanded on September 1. The Brewers were rumored to be trying to trade a pitcher, presumably Lerch or Jerry Augustine, but instead decided to go with four outfielders and 11 pitchers. … Jamie Easterly, out since July 12 following knee surgery, is eligible to return but is not expected to be activated until rosters expand on September 1.