In the end, the Milwaukee Brewers drank Lite beer. They also chewed corn on the cob and cold cuts. And some of them -- ex-Cardinal Ted Simmons, Paul Molitor and Don Sutton -- trudged down a corridor occupied by champagne-swigging Cardinals and their celebrating wives and fans to offer congratulations in the St. Louis dressing room.

Others, many others, sought the seclusion of the shower room. They wanted to wait until some of the disappointment had gone away before they made their feelings public about a defeat that was as tough to swallow as the beer on a night made for quenching and squirting and spilling the bubbly stuff.

This was the fifth "must" game for the Brewers -- one in Baltimore and three against California preceded it -- and this time they came up short, 6-3. But they would not agree with talk about having gone to the well once too often.

"I can't go along with that," Simmons said. "What happened against the Orioles and the Angels had nothing to do with what happened tonight. We had our chances to win and we didn't. (Manager) Harvey (Kuenn) told us to keep our heads up, that we're champions and nobody can take that away from us."

For most of the Brewers, this was the first encounter with defeat in the seventh game of a World Series. For first baseman Cecil Cooper, it had happened once before, with Boston in 1975. He was not bemoaning his fate.

"I think of the guys who play 20 years and never get here, and I can't complain," Cooper said. "It was an exciting Series and I'm sure the fans enjoyed it. This organization in six short years has gone from bottom to top and it should get even better."

Cooper admitted to a feeling that many St. Louis fans undoubtedly shared early in the game -- that the Cardinals, with only one run on eight hits, might have used up their chances for the night.

"When they had all those hits and just one run, and we had three hits and the game was even, I thought we had an advantage," Cooper said. "It tells you the kind of team they are, the way they came back."

"They don't have one guy that sticks out," said Molitor. "They do it as a unit. I think even (Series MVP Darrell) Porter will tell you that you throw away the first three games and Keith Hernandez is a heck of a candidate.

"But you take away (reliever) Bruce Sutter and they're only a better than average club. They're a good club but he's such a significant factor."

Second baseman Jim Gantner admitted frustration played a part in his brief encounter with St. Louis pitcher Joaquin Andujar after Gantner ended the seventh inning with a grounder to the mound. Andujar, as is his custom, hesitated on the throw to first, then threw, meanwhile making exaggerated motions with his right hand.

Words were exchanged. Then Andujar moved as if he would attack Gantner. Umpire Lee Weyer quickly shoved Andujar away before the incident became uglier.

"I called him what he is, a hot dog," Gantner said. "He said, 'What?' and I repeated, 'You're a hot dog.' Showing us up like that was rubbing salt in the wounds. We don't do that in the American League. Sure, there was a little bit of frustration there.

"If he's going to act that way, he ought to be able to take it. He doesn't have to spin around like he's coming after me. I've been called a hot dog a lot of times and I don't go charging somebody.

"If I'd known he'd get upset like that, I would have called him a hot dog in the first inning. Maybe he'd have lost his concentration and we could have gotten him out of there."

Gantner, whose sixth-inning double started the rally that gave Milwaukee a brief 3-1 lead, had nothing but kind words about Andujar's pitching ability.

"I respect his pitching," Gantner said. "He's a real good pitcher. I was swinging at the first pitch, because you don't want to let him get ahead of you. Then he goes after you with breaking balls and he keeps it down and gets really tough."

Then Gantner, despite his frustrations, summed up the Series in the fashion it deserves to be remembered, rather than for harsh words along the first-base line.

"It was a good Series," Gantner said. "I'm upset that we lost, but we played our best. It was a good, well-played game and we didn't give the game away."