MILWAUKEE, AUG. 21 -- In the words of Brewers reliever Dan Plesac, the beat goes on.

Paul Molitor extended his hitting streak to 36 games tonight with a fourth-inning double to move into fourth place on the American League's all-time hit streak list and move within 20 of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game mark.

Molitor went one for three on the night with a walk as the Brewers beat Kansas City, 3-0. Len Barker (2-0) and Chuck Crim combined on a six-hitter.

Molitor, who got the hit in his second at-bat, had been tied with Ty Cobb, who hit in 35 straight games for Detroit in 1917.

He is now tied with Billy Hamilton, who hit in 36 straight games for Philadelphia in 1894, for the seventh-longest streak in major league history.

The hit thus continued the end-of-game tradition that has flourished during the streak, with reliever Plesac saying "the beat goes on" with each succeeding game.

Plesac said Wednesday night in Cleveland he wasn't sure when he started the postgame salutation.

"It just popped into my head. It just seemed to keep the streak going. I didn't want to jinx him so I kept saying it," Plesac said.

An emotional home crowd of 37,141 came out, despite intermittent rain showers that delayed the game's start. Molitor began the streak July 16 against California with a one-for-four performance.

The double came on a 1-2 pitch from Royals left-hander Danny Jackson. Molitor had grounded out to lead off the bottom of the first.

When Molitor led off the fourth, Jackson had only given up a walk in three complete innings.

Molitor swung and missed on an inside pitch by Jackson for strike one, then took strike two on the outside corner. Jackson then went outside for ball one.

With the crowd roaring, Molitor hit a ball in the gap between center fielder Willie Wilson and right fielder Thad Bosley. Bosley tried to cut off the ball, and for a moment looked like he might have a play. But the ball got through and rolled to the wall.

When Molitor arrived at second, the crowd rose yet again and cheered for about half a minute while Molitor stood frozen at second base.

Molitor's next target is Tommy Holmes, who hit in 37 straight games for the Boston Braves in 1945.

Milwaukee faces Bret Saberhagen (16-7) Saturday night.

Before the game, Molitor received a loud ovation when he ran out on the field after the rain delay. When the Brewers' lineup was introduced, he got a standing ovation.

After the Brewers retired the side in the first, the crowd began applauding, and stood throughout Molitor's first at-bat.

It was not a long one, as Molitor hit Jackson's first pitch to second baseman Frank White on two bounces.

Before the game, Molitor had his first large news conference, held in a room deep underneath the playing field at County Stadium. He handled questions from the local press and a growing national media for about 30 minutes.

"Regardless of the hitting streak itself, it's probably been {my} most productive streak for this duration," he said. "I'm trying to have as much fun as I possibly can have with it."

Molitor said he was glad the streak lasted long enough for him to get back home.

"I had hoped that I would have the opportunity to continue in Milwaukee," he said. "The way that the Brewer fans responded in the three games before we left on the road trip was great."

But he also praised people in opposing cities. "The support from the fans in Cleveland and Baltimore was very supportive and very, very appreciated," he said.

In Cleveland, Molitor was given a standing ovation after each hit in every game of the series.

He said his family has helped him cope with the increasing pressure.

"They've been great. First of all, my wife's been fantastic in her support. Her pride's showing a little bit in the conversations we've had," Molitor said.

When asked if he has taken more care than usual with his bats during the streak, he said that he hadn't been doing anything special to them or "corking them a certain way."