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On This Date in Sports April 19, 1987: Brewing a 13-0 Start

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Milwaukee Brewers score five runs in the ninth to beat the Texas Rangers 6-4 at County Stadium. The win sees the Brewers improve to 12-0, the best start in American League history. The Brewers use two home runs for the rally as Rob Deer ties the game with a three-run shot of Mitch Williams, while Dale Sveum wins it with a two-run shot of Greg Harris. The Brewers would win one more, equaling the 1982 Atlanta Braves record for the best start in MLB history at 13-0. 

The Milwaukee Brewers flew out of the gate in 1987, winning their first 13 games to equal the Atlanta Braves 13-0 start in 1982 as the longest winning streak to start a season. The Brewers' start was unexpected, to say the least, as they had finished sixth or seventh in their three previous seasons. Milwaukee had a rookie manager, Tom Treblehorn, who managed the last nine games after George Bamberger was fired in 1986 and was named the permanent manager in the offseason. 

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The Brewers started the season with a 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox at County Stadium. The Brewers would sweep the three-game series against Boston, winning the finale 12-11 as Rob Deer hit two home runs with six RBI. The Brewers' first road trip began with an 11-8 win over the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Following an 8-6 win on Saturday, the Brewers won their first extra-inning game to complete the sweep in Texas, beating the Rangers 7-5 in 12 innings on a two-run single by B.J. Surhoff for the 6-0 start. 

On to Baltimore, the Brewers took the first two games in Memorial Stadium by scores of 6-3 and 7-4. The third game would be historical, as Juan Nieves took the ball. It was a pitchers' duel for six innings as Milwaukee had a 1-0 lead with a fourth-inning home run off Mike Flanagan. The Brewers tacked on six runs late, as Nieves went into the ninth inning with a no-hitter and a 7-0 lead. Juan Nieves retired the first two batters before Cal Ripken Jr. walked. It was the fifth walk of the game for Nieves against seven strikeouts. Eddie Murray followed with a rip to right-center field that was caught by Robin Yount, making a brilliant diving catch to complete the no-hitter. At 22, Juan Nieves was the second-youngest player to toss a no-hitter and the first from Puerto Rico. It remains the only no-hitter in franchise history.

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Returning home, the Brewers reached 10-0 with a 10-2 win over the Rangers. They followed it up with a 4-3 win equaling the 11-0 start by the 1981 Oakland Athletics, the previous best start in American League history. The streak appeared in danger as Texas jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a home run by Pete Incaviglia in the fifth inning. Rob Deer hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-1, which was the score in the ninth when Mitch Williams took the mound to close the game for Texas. Glenn Braggs led off the ninth with a walk, followed by a single by Greg Brock. After Cecil Cooper flew out, Rob Deer tied the game with a three-run homer. Greg Harris came into relieve Williams and stuck out B.J. Surhoff. Following a walk by Jim Gantner, Dale Sveum won the game with a two-run homer as the Brewers left town at 12-0. 

The Brewers would extend the streak to 13-0 with a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. The streak ended with a 7-1 loss to the White Sox on April 21st, as they won 18 of their first 20 games. The Brewers would reach 20-3, riding high in April. The Brewers were then shot down in May, as they suffered a 12-game losing streak as they lost 18 of 20 games. Later in the season, Paul Molitor of the Brewers had a 39-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors since 1978. The Brewers finished the season in third place with a 91-71.