There was sympathy all around for Sammy Stewart tonight.He would rather have had congratulations.
In his second start of the year and seventh of his career, the Baltimore right-hander limited the Milwaukee Brewers, the best-hitting team in the American League, to three runs and five hits in 113 pitches.
It took Brewer right-hander Moose Haas 18 more pitches to allow the same number of hits. But none led to Oriole runs, so the Birds' three-game winning streak ended with a 3-0 defeat before 16,143 fans at Memorial Stadium.
Baltimore again dropped two games under .500, a mark it has not reached since April 20. The Brewers' ninth win in 12 games solidified their hold on second place in the AL East and kept them within striking distance of the New York Yankees.
"Poor Sammy," Oriole Manager Earl Weaver said. "It's a damn shame he had to pitch a game like that and lose. But there's nothing you can do about it if the guy just ate you up."
With two exceptions, Stewart also was doing some fancy dining. "I was hitting the spots I wanted to, and my arm felt good all night," he said after his longest performance this year. "I was hoping we'd get some early runs. When we didn't, I figured we'd get him by the sixth or seventh."
They didn't get Haas in those innings or any other. The Brewers reached Stewart for two runs in the second and one in the ninth. The way Haas was pitching, the one in the ninth by Cecil Cooper, a homer would have been enough.
"When he threw the ball by Al (Bumbry, the team's leading hitter who struck out three times), you knew you weren't going to get a hell of a lot of runs," Weaver said. "He must have decided he was going to come into town (Haas is from Baltimore) and pitch one for the home folks."
Haas' folks must have loved it when the home team's right-fielder played a catchable ball into a crucial second-inning double. With Ben Oglivie on first Sixto Lezcano lined a shot at Gary Roenicke. Roenicke started in, went back, lunged for the ball and missed it. Lezano took second, Oglivie went to third and both scored when Jim Gantner lined a single up the middle.
"It looked to me like that ball should have been caught," Weaver said. "Everybody's entitled to a mistake, but Gary's a pretty good outfielder. We gotta catch those balls if we're going to win."
"I didn't pick it up well and I turned the wrong way," Roenicke admitted. "I misplayed it."
Only Stewart seemed to take it in stride.
"He's made a lot of good catches for me, so 'm not goine to complain about this one."