MILWAUKEE — The relationship is working well enough thus far. The Yankees' offense is dreaded, their starting pitching is dreadful. They work in perfect unison; one overwhelms while the other underwhelms.
The good and bad were blended together again Tuesday night to produce another long, harrowing and not particularly handsome victory against the Brewers. "I didn't think we could play two in a row like that," Dave Winfield said. And he wasn't admiring the Yankees' effort.
For the second time in two nights, the Yankees scored enough runs to win comfortably. And for the second time, they had to strain to beat the sixth-place team in the American League East. The 13-10 victory extended their winning streak to 11 games, the longest in the major leagues this season. And it enabled the Yankees to remain 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East race. But it also wore on the participants.
"When you score that many runs, you should be able to coast a little bit," said Ed Whitson, who would have taken his eighth defeat and not gained his 10th victory if the Yankees' batting order hadn't outdone itself and the Brewers. "But there was no way we could let down tonight. They just kept scoring. So we had to, too."
The Yankees, trailing 3-1 through four innings, scored five times in the fifth inning and four times in the sixth against losing pitcher Ray Burris (9-12). They scored three more runs in the eighth against Chuck Porter. "And we probably would have scored eight times in the ninth if we had to," Whitson said. "We have some serious offensive talent here."
Dan Pasqua hit a solo home run and Ron Hassey and Ken Griffey hit three-run home runs. Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson, Griffey and Hassey drove in three runs each in this methodical destruction of a team that has lost seven straight games. "They say this County Stadium is a good hitters park," Brewers manager George Bamberger said. "Teams like them make it that way."
The Yankees have scored 22 runs in 19 innings here and 31 runs in their past three games. They have had rallies of at least four runs in each of the past three games. Their opponents have scored 20 runs in three games. "No one says you have to look good doing it," Whitson said.
Billy Martin accepted the victory, warts and all. "You always get a game like this every once in a while," the manager said. "But I get it when I'm trying to rest my two guys relief pitchers Dave Righetti and Brian Fisher." Of course, it could be said the game took the course it did because he was resting the two primary relievers.
Martin's original plan was to rest each of them Tuesday night and Wednesday night in preparation for the four-game series against the Blue Jays that begins tonight. The plan survived one night. Rich Bordi replaced Whitson in the eighth, allowed two runs and departed in favor of Bob Shirley. Shirley experienced some resistance, but persevered and gained his second save in a week. Martin said he intended to use Neil Allen and Dennis Rasmussen if necessary.