And so...Dwyer singled cleanly to left, scoring the tying and winning runs. "What it amounted to," Bamberger explained afterward, "is that I was [profanity] wrong."
The loss also forced Bamberger's hand in unwanted ways for the next evening's game with Baltimore. He originally had planned to bench the righthand-hitting Thomas against the Orioles' scheduled starter, Steve Stone, since Thomas had only one hit in six at bats off Stone in 1978. Hisle would play centerfield, with Oglivie in left and Lezcano in right. But while everybody else had jumped on Boston pitching the day before, Thomas had struck out four consecutive times, all the more reason, one might say, why he shouldn't play against the Orioles. This reasoning doesn't take into account Bamberger's compassion. "I can't take a man out after he's had a bad night like that," he lamented. "I just can't do that to a man."
So Thomas again played center, with Oglivie in right, Hisle in left and Lezcano, carefully briefed by Bamberger, on the bench. The Brewers won 9-3 as Thomas made two spectacular catches and kept a rally alive with a key single when the score was still tied. Weaver was ejected in the fifth inning, putting him one up on Bamberger for the season. Another Oriole was sent packing during a furious seventh-inning argument that followed a bases-loaded balk call on Baltimore Pitcher Don Stanhouse.
After the game Bamberger was ecstatic. Thomas had vindicated his faith in him, and so had his starting pitcher, Sorensen, who finished the game despite giving up five straight hits and all the Baltimore runs in the second inning. Had Bamberger considered changing pitchers at that unpromising juncture?
"Oh sure," he said. "I was getting close, but you've got to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. In the long run that helps you." If the balk call had not been made, he said, "I would've called the umpire a [several bad words] and have been thrown out like Earl."
The telephone rang. Bamberger excused himself and answered it. "Earl, hey, Earl." He laughed, advising with a hand over the mouthpiece that it was Weaver on the line. "Yeah, Earl, I was just explaining the balk call. Hey, you cursed that umpire. I was reading your lips. Sure I had my glasses on." He laughed uproariously, winking at the reporters in his office. Then, still chuckling, he returned to the conversation. "Back to the hotel for a drink? Sure, I'd like to, Earl, but I'm a little bushed. I'm just gonna have a couple of beers down at Ray Jackson's and go on home...."