The Milwaukee hitting has vanished.
"All year," said California Pitching Coach Tom Morgan, "they said you couldn't do something like this to Milwaukee. These two games are something you just hope for."
Tonight, California's Bruce Kison pitched a five-hitter, striking out eight, to lead the Angels past Milwaukee, 4-2, at Anaheim Stadium.
This suffocation follows Tommy John's 8-3 seven-hit victory over the Brewers Tuesday night.
The result is that the Angels now hold a 2-0 lead in games in this American League championship series.
In a locker room far removed from the 216 home runs worth of regular-season fame, Milwaukee left fielder Ben Oglivie said, "I've always said good pitching will neutralize good hitting."
So as the Santa Ana winds blew gently tonight, these numbers went flying past the bashful Brewer bats: five runs and 12 hits in two losses. The team batting average is .182, which is 97 points below the average these Brewers bashed out in the regular season.
Afterwords, Kison said, "Nothing is easy in this game."
The Brewers already knew this, of course. They also knew that no team has ever revived from a 2-0 deficit in games to win a league championship series. In the 1981 division miniseries, Milwaukee trailed the New York Yankees two games to none, won two straight, then lost Game 5.
"The percentages are against us," said Milwaukee catcher Ted Simmons. "But the interesting thing about baseball is that it is so unpredictable."
Suddenly, so is the Milwaukee hitting, which now prepares to turn another postseason into another postmortem. "It's been a tough road for us," said Manager Harvey Kuenn, "from Boston to Baltimore to here. It's been a long and hard one. It will be good to go back home."
"We've had to regroup a lot of times this year. We'll have to do it one more time," said Milwaukee third baseman Paul Molitor, whose fifth-inning inside-the-park home run brought Milwaukee to within 4-2.
Oglivie said of a possible Brewer busting out, "I don't think it is something impossible. This ball club is capable of doing it."
Tuesday night, the postgame interrogation came after these Brewers were handcuffed by John. Tonight, the postgame interrogation came after the cell door was slammed shut by Kison. Both of these California pitchers are now 4-0 in their respective league championship series histories.
Only five balls left the Angel infield tonight. Only two of the hits -- Charlie Moore's bloop single to right in the third and Molitor's fifth-inning inside-the-park home run that slid past a diving Fred Lynn in center -- reached the outfield. Kison threw just 92 pitches.
The Brewers bats were in such a sullen slumber tonight that Angels catcher Bob Boone admitted of Kison, "He was able to get away with some bad pitches."
The Brewers knew this, too. They admitted Kison was competent. Five measly hits later, what else could they say?
"He is a very deceptive pitcher," said Molitor. "He got us to chase some bad pitches. We really didn't hit many hard."