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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. 


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.


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.