Phillies 4, Expos 3, 11 innings

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Tomas Perez finally got a taste of success.

Perez’s bases-loaded RBI single with two outs in the 11th inning led the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Expos on Saturday night.

Perez, the team’s practical joker, had delivered his share of shaving cream pies to other unsuspecting players during interviews for the last three years. Now that he was the star, it was payback time.

“Guys have been waiting for the chance to do that to Tomas for three years,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “Guys were praying for him to get a hit there just to do it to him.”

Jim Thome and Pat Burrell homered for Philadelphia, which improved to 7-1 in extra-inning games, including six straight wins.

After the previous nine Phillies were retired in order, Thome hit a one-out double off the right-field wall against Hector Almonte (0-1) in the 11th.

Almonte intentionally walked Bobby Abreu, then Mike Lieberthal grounded back to the mound but Almonte, who was knocked off his feet, only had the play at first for the second out. Burrell followed with a walk to load the bases.

Perez looped the game-winning hit to left-center field, just beyond the reach of a diving Brad Wilkerson.

“I didn’t think it would be caught but it was difficult for me to tell,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said.

After he circled first base, Perez knew what was coming. The entire team immediately went after Perez and began inflicting body punches on the star of the game. The friendly jabs have become one of the Phillies’ latest victory celebrations.

Knowing what would come next, Perez donned a catcher’s mask for the postgame interview in front of the Phillies’ dugout.

Nine players pummeled him with shaving cream pies.

“It’s about time he got a taste of his own medicine,” Burrell said.

Perez took the abuse in stride.

“It’s all right. I had to take it because we’re a team,” he said.

Michael Barrett drove in three runs for Montreal, which has lost six of its last eight.

For Montreal, it was the second 11-inning loss to the Phillies in three days.

“It’s very frustrating, we can’t afford to lose games like this,” Expos catcher Barrett said.

“We battled for 11 innings but battling wasn’t enough,” Robinson said. “We had opportunities but couldn’t do anything with them after we scored early in the game.”

Jose Mesa (5-5) pitched the 11th for the Phillies to earn the victory.

Montreal squandered its opportunity to score the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th.

Jose Vidro reached on an error and Orlando Cabrera singled, but Mesa struck out Wil Cordero and Brad Wilkerson before getting Ron Calloway to fly out to end the inning.

Philadelphia threatened in the eighth against starter Livan Hernandez. Marlon Byrd drew a one-out walk and Placido Polanco followed with a single, chasing Hernandez. Joey Eischen relieved and struck out Thome and Abreu.

Hernandez, who had pitched complete games in each of his previous two starts, worked 7 1-3 innings. He gave up three runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking two.

Barrett gave Montreal a 1-0 lead in the second on a RBI groundout against Padilla. He added a two-run double in the fourth as the Expos padded their lead to 3-0.

Padilla was overpowering after Barrett’s double, retiring 14 of his final 15 batters. Padilla allowed six hits and three runs—two earned—over eight innings. He struck out two and walked three.

“Once he settled down, he was really tough,” Barrett said.

Philadelphia used home runs to get back into it in the fourth to tie the score at 3.

Thome hit a two-run shot, his 24th of the season, and Burrell followed witha solo homer—his 13th.

Notes

The Phillies improved to 12-2 on Saturdays. … Vidro extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single. Cabrera’s 11th-inning single extended his team-high streak to 14. … Wilkerson snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a second-inning single. … Barrett has reached base in 12 straight games. … Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins missed his second straight game with a strained hamstring. He is listed as day to day. … Lieberthal is batting .071 (1-for-14) on the homestand. … Padilla, Dan Plesac and Rheal Cormier retired20 of 21 Expos from the fourth to 11th innings.

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