BRONX, NY — This was a game of inches. Or feet. Either way, they didn’t go in the Brewers’ favor in the opening game of a four-game series with the Yankees.
In the third inning, the Yankees took a 4-0 lead. But it could have just as easily remained scoreless.
With one down and two on, Ken Griffey hit a pop-up to left. Robin Yount headed out and Ben Oglivie crashed in, but it fell in between them for a two-run double. Then Dave Winfield blasted a two-run homer off of the right field foul pole.
“Give me three feet,” general manager Harry Dalton said after the game, “and we are out of that inning with no runs.”
Even so, the Brewers didn’t give up.
Down 4-0 with two outs in the top of the eighth, Gorman Thomas cashed in on his own luck with a squib base hit off the end of his bat that scored a run. Then Ben Oglivie threw luck out the window with a monstrous three-run homer to tie the game.
Pete Vuckovich threw for the first nine innings, and other than the third was excellent. When he ran out of steam, Pete Ladd relieved him in the 10th. With one out, Jerry Mumphrey launched a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in right center for the game winner.
“I didn’t think it was a home run at first,” lamented Ladd. “Then it carried, then I thought Thomas had a shot at it and then it went out.”
Of course, Ladd likely would not have been in that position if not for the injury to closer Rollie Fingers. Out with a slight tear in his pitching forearm, Fingers is expected to be out at least another week.
“I know the sun will come up tomorrow,” Ladd said. “Fingers came right up to me and said not to worry as it has happened to him 25 times.”
Maybe. But that doesn’t keep Brewers fans from worrying.