- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
It was the seventh-inning stretch, and the Brewers were trailing the Cardinals 5-1 as the fans in County Stadium sang the traditional Beer Barrel Polka. The lyrics, "We've got the blues on the run," seemed like a joke.
Thomas popped the ball back to Porter for the second time to start the home half of the seventh. Then Oglivie hit a high hopper to Hernandez, and he fed the ball to LaPoint, who was working on a five-hitter. LaPoint arrived at first and the ball arrived at LaPoint in plenty of time to record the second out. The ball hit high in the pocket of his glove—but fell out. "It landed like a brick," said La-Point. "Any other part of the glove and I catch it." Said Oglivie, "At the time, it seemed so unimportant."
But quicker than you can say "Mickey Owen's passed ball," the Brewers had a rally going. "I was sitting next to Harvey on the bench," said Gantner, "and he turned to me and said, 'Hey, maybe that's what we need to get us going.' "
Don Money followed with a broken-bat single to right, and the County Stadium crowd of 56,560 came alive. But Moore popped up to short. With two outs, Gantner came to the plate with a chance to redeem himself. In the second his two-base error had cost the Brewers a run, and in the fifth he had hit into a rally-killing double play on which the only Milwaukee run had scored. This time Gantner lined the first pitch from LaPoint to right center for a double to drive in Oglivie. "I was just trying to make contact," said Gantner. "That was the biggest hit of the inning," said Cooper.
Bair came in to replace LaPoint, and when he ran the count to 3-1 on Molitor, the crowd rose to its feet. Bair walked Molitor to load the bases. Yount tried to check his swing on a 2-1 pitch, but his bat hit the ball and sent it into rightfield for a two-run single. "I'll take it any way I can get it," said Yount. The stadium shook with the football cheer, "Here we go, Brewers, here we go."
After Herzog brought in Kaat, Molitor, standing on third, gestured for the batter, Cooper, to see how deep Oberkfell was playing. Cooper squared to bunt but didn't. Before the next pitch, Oberkfell moved in a step.
At 2-0, Cooper chopped the ball down the line to Hernandez. Home Plate Umpire Dave Phillips waited for what seemed to be an eternity before calling it foul. "I said, 'Thank you,' " said Cooper. He lined the next pitch off the heel of Oberkfell's glove to drive in the tying run. "I should've had it," said Oberkfell, and he might have—had he been playing deeper.
The stadium was a barrel of fun. The fans roared, and the Brewer players carried on like kids. "We were like a Little League dugout," said Pitcher Jim Slaton, the eventual winner. "Only worse."
When Kaat went to 2-1 on Simmons, Herzog brought in Lahti to intentionally walk Simmons. "I'd pitch to me, too," said Thomas, the next batter. "Why not load the bases? I hadn't been able to buy a hit. I think it was a pretty good move on their part."
This would have been the perfect spot for Herzog to bring in Sutter, but he had pitched to too many batters in the Series already. So there was Thomas facing Lahti. "It was an easy situation, really," said Thomas. "Coop had already driven in the tying run. All I needed was a walk or a bloop over the infield to drive in another run." With the count 1-2, Thomas spread his stance and cut down his swing, just looking to lay his bat on the ball. He got a slider up and away and lined it to left-center, driving in Yount and Cooper. Thomas went to second base on the throw, and there was pandemonium. Oglivie was walked intentionally, and Money flew out to left field, but, zing, boom, tarrerrel, the Brewers had exploded for a 7-5 lead.