Today in Brewer History: The Streak Ends

On this day in 1987, the famed record 13-game winning streak to start the season finally came to an end when the Brewers fell 7-1 to the White Sox in Chicago. Unlike most of the first 13 games, there was little drama in this one, as the game was out of hand quickly. Rookie pitcher Mark Ciardi started and the Crew fell into a 5-0 hole by the end of the third inning and didn't score a run until the eighth. By that time, it was too late.

But we're not going to focus on the negatives. Let's take a look at some of the amazing tidbits from that streak:

  • Juan Nieves threw the first (and currently only) Brewers no-hitter in Game 9 agains the Orioles. It was the only time the Brewers shutout the opposition during the streak. In fact, the opponent would not be kept scoreless in a game again until the Royals were shut out on August 21. Teddy Higuera would throw the only other individual shutouts, as he'd toss three late in the season.
  • The other game fans remember most from this streak occurred on Easter Sunday in Game 12. Down 4-1 in the ninth inning to the Rangers at County Stadium, the streak appeared to be over. The crowd stood and roared to start the bottom of the ninth, anticipating the end. Rob Deer then tied the game with a towering three-run homer and Dale Sveum won it with a two-run shot.
  • The pitching was just good enough, holding a 3.68 ERA and 1.28 WHIP during the streak.
  • Most experts had picked the Brewers to finish somewhere between fifth and seventh place in the competitive AL East. More often than not, it was seventh.
  • The streak was all the more impressive given the youthfulness of the team. BJ Surhoff, Chuck Crim, Jim Paciorek, Mark Ciardi and Chuck Crim all made their major league debuts during those first 13 games.
  • The Brewers averaged seven runs scored while allowing 4.1 per game during the streak.
  • The Brewers hit 21 home runs during the streak, by eight different players. Rob Deer led the way with seven, including two multi-homer games.
  • The Brewers hit .302 as a team during the streak. Seven of the regulars hit over .300, led by Rob Deer at .391.
  • Four Brewers (Deer at 1.351, Paul Molitor at 1.109, Greg Brock at 1.102 and Dale Sveum at 1.091) had an OPS over 1.000 during the streak. The team's OPS was a ridiculous .892.
  • Despite the power numbers, this team still played small ball. The Brewers stole 16 bases, led by Molitor with six, and executed six sacrifice bunts. Keep in mind, this was an American League team. Robin Yount led the way with two bunts.
  • The only two regulars who struggled at the plate were vets Cecil Cooper and Jim Gantner. Cooper arrived late in Game 7 due to a side injury and collected only two hits in 29 at bats for a .069 batting average. Gantner hit .214 (9-for-42).
  • The Brewers came from behind in eight of the 13 games and were either tied or held the lead from start to finish in five. They trailed by as many as four runs in Game 3 and Game 12. Not until Game 13 did they lead, lose that lead, and then fall behind.
  • The Brewers offense scored eight runs in an inning in back-to-back games (games four and five against Texas) and also scored seven in an inning in game 10, also against the Rangers. Texas would end up on the losing end of six of the 13 games.
  • The Brewers had 138 hits while the opposition had 112. Still, cracks were shown in the final three games as they were outhit each time while committing at least one error.
  • Dan Plesac would nail down five saves while pitching nine scoreless innings, allowing only four hits.
  • Rookie Chuck Crim, who wasn't expected to make the team, pitched 13 1/3 scoreless innings, yielding eight hits.
  • Down 6-2 in Game 3 against the Red Sox, the Brewers rattled off nine consecutive runs to eventually win 12-11.
  • Rookie catcher BJ Surhoff would win Game 3 with his first major league homer (Rob Deer also had two three-run homers in the game). Surhoff later hit a bases loaded single in the 12th inning to win the sixth game against the Rangers.
  • Brewers connected on five solo homers, one each by Molitor, Gantner, Yount, Deer and Brock in Game 8 to beat the Orioles 7-4.
  • Dating back to final three games of the 1986 season when they swept the Blue Jays, the Brewers' streak was actually 16 games.
  • Manager Tom Trebelhorn, who took over with 10 games remaining in the 1986 season, had a 19-4 record at this point as skipper.
  • Also 11 straight road victories dating back to the end of the 1986 season.
  • Dale Sveum, who committed 30 errors primarily at third base in 1986, didn't make an error during the streak as the team's new shortstop. The position was expected to be temporary, filling in for Ernie Riles.
  • George Webb's, which had promised since 1957 to give away free burgers if the Milwaukee Braves and later Brewers would win 12 games in a row, handed out approximately 200,000 burgers to fans who waited in line in the rain for their edible souvenirs. 

Sure, the streak was over. But the Crew would continue their spectacular play throughout the month of April. On May 2, the Brewers were 20-3 and held a five game lead in the AL East. Of course, the Crew was in panic mode starting on April 29 when Paul Molitor pulled his hamstring while hitting a three-run homer. The rest, as we know, was history.

J. Scott Loomer is a dude with a cool name and uncool hairstyle who is helplessly stuck in the past. He is the crazy person behind @TweetsFrom1982 on Twitter, which was started midway through 2010 to chronicle the events of the 1982 Brewers' season as they would have happened at the same time on that day. He had so much fun with it that PastKast.com was created. You can now follow both the 1982 and 1987 Brewers in the words of Loomer and Rob Peterson on Twitter (@TweetsFrom1982 and @TweetsFrom1987), Facebook (Brewers Updates From 1982 and Brewers Updates From 1987) and the growing PastKast network (PastKast.com, Brewers1982.com and Brewers1987.com). If you prefer leaving the past in the past, hitch your wagon to @BrewCrewLive.
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