Game of the Week: October 3, 1981: Brewers Edge Tigers To Win Half-Season Championship

From the SABR Games Project:

In the American League East, the second half of the season proved to be a close, exciting race that went down to the wire. The Detroit Tigers headed into Milwaukee County Stadium for a season-ending three-game showdown beginning on Friday, October 2. Manager Sparky Anderson’s Bengals looked like the team to beat for much of the second half, after having won 10 of their first 13. But as this series began, Milwaukee’s record stood at 29-21. Detroit, at 28-21, was only a half-game behind.

Whichever team could take two out of three would be crowned the second-half champion.

The Brewers took the opening contest by a score of 8-2, behind the five-hit pitching of Haas. A total of 23,540 fans made their way to the Friday-night tilt and saw the home team increase its lead to 1½ games.

For the nationally televised game on Saturday, Milwaukee sent Pete Vuckovich to the mound. The Tigers countered with their ace, Jack Morris, who was looking for his major-league-leading 15th win.

Vuckovich was not sharp, but the Tigers failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities. Detroit finally broke a scoreless tie with a single run in the top of the sixth.

For a while, it looked as if that would be all the Tigers would need, because Morris was cruising, scattering six hits through the first seven innings.

But the bottom of the eighth proved to be the biggest inning of the Brewers’ season.

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