Brewers 8, Expos 5, 14 innings
Milwaukee had scored just one run in 17 extra innings this season before Helms, who hadn’t driven in a run since April 10, ended a 4-hour, 20-minute game with a drive of left-center off Tucker (0-1).
Yet, the Brewers all agreed it was Helms’ previous at-bat, an 11-pitch effort that ended with a flyout to right field, that helped them snap out of their skids.
“I started fouling off some balls that I started saying to myself that I look like my old self,” Helms said, adding that batting coach Butch Wynegar noticed it, too. “I felt better up there. I felt like the old Wes that can get the barrel to the ball.”
Milwaukee won for just the second time in seven extra-inning games.
Helms’ homer, his second of the year, came after Lyle Overbay extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single that put runners at first and third. It also made a winner of Dave Burba (3-1), who pitched one scoreless inning.
With Milwaukee down to its last out in the ninth, six straight Brewers reached base to force extra innings.
“Everything can happen, and that’s why we never give up,” Helms said. “I’ve never been on a team where in the ninth inning with two outs the dugout is just so positive.”
Hernandez sent down Overbay with his season-high ninth strikeout, but he issued his first walk of the night to Helms and gave up a single to Ben Grieve.
Rocky Biddle, who had converted all seven of his save chances this season, gave up an RBI single to Chad Moeller and an RBI double to pinch-hitter Brooks Kieschnick, who is batting .389, before Scott Podsednik tied it with a two-run single.
“It’s just a shame that Livan had to go out there and pitch a hell of a game, then I come out and blow it,” Biddle said. “Then, I put my (fellow relievers) in a situation they shouldn’t be in. I failed tonight.”
“It’d be nice to win one in the ninth inning and just finish a comeback, you know, just cap it off,” Brewers starter Ben Sheets said. “But we’ll take them any way we can.”
Ginter struck out four times altogether, three times looking, and his error in the sixth led to two runs. Steamed, he left the ballpark without stopping to talk to reporters.
Terrmel Sledge’s third homer of the season gave Montreal a 1-0 lead in the second. He hit a 415-foot shot to center off Sheets.
The Expos loaded the bases in the sixth and appeared to come up empty when Juan Rivera hit a one-out bouncer to shortstop. But Ginter couldn’t get a handle on the ball at second base for the relay to first and threw it away, allowing two runners to score and giving Montreal a 3-0 lead.
Sheets (3-3) gave up two earned runs and seven hits over eight innings. He hasn’t won since April 20 despite an ERA of 3.34 over his last four starts.
“It’s a shame to lose a lead in the ninth inning for Livan and not get him a win,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “But to let a game like that get away, it hurts. It can stay with you for a while. It’s one you have to put inthe win column and we didn’t do it.”
Brewers RHP Matt Wise, called up from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game, threw two scoreless innings in his first major league appearance since July 19, 2002, for Anaheim. He missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. … Expos 3B Tony Batista, in a 4-for-24 slump, was replaced in the starting lineup by Jamey Carroll but entered the game in the 10th andgrounded out to end the 12th with a runner at second.