Brewers 3, Expos 2
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP)—With a relief pitcher who started and a leadoff guy who hit the long ball, it was safe to say the Milwaukee Brewers found a wacky way to win.
Podsednik took a 2-1 pitch over the right-field wall against Biddle (0-2), who was brought in to protect a tie game. It was Podsednik’s fourth home run of the season.
“I was thinking he needed to get on base and we needed to manufacture a run,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
But nothing really went to plan this day.
The home run made a winner out of Mike Adams (1-0), who struck out Orlando Cabrera during a tense, 11-pitch at-bat with the go-ahead run on second as part of a scoreless eighth inning. It was just Adams’ second major league appearance.
He was part of Yost’s pitcher-by-committee game plan, a strategy set up because of persistent rain at the start of the game.
The game began 49 minutes late, then after just 12 pitches, another storm came in and halted play for another 48 minutes.
Fearing the rain might waste a turn by scheduled starter Wes Obermueller, Yost chose to push Obermueller’s start back to Saturday, give Matt Wise his first start in three years, then use the committee approach the rest of the way.
“I just wanted to go out there and eat up some innings for them,” Wise said.
Kolb pitched the ninth for his 10th save, and second in two nights.
“If we do what we did today with the staff and lose, it’s a disaster,” Yost said. “We won the game, but we shot up the bullpen doing it. But we won the game.”
They won thanks to Podsednik’s home run—not exactly what the Brewers were expecting, considering he has only 14 homers in 755 major league at-bats.
“That’s not usually how I’m going to score a run when we need one,” Podsednik conceded. “It came at a good time.”
From there, though, Montreal pitchers faced the minimum over the next seven innings. The Expos only allowed two runners during that stretch—one who was erased by a double play and the other who ended the eighth inning by getting caught stealing.
The string ended when Biddle entered and allowed the homer with no outs. Craig Counsell followed with a single, and after a sacrifice, manager Frank Robinson pulled his closer.
Robinson said he had no qualms about using Biddle in a non-save situation.
“There is no save opportunity after the ninth,” Robinson said. “So why keep him on the bench when we can ensure that we can get a win in the next at-bat?”
The strategy backfired, though, and provided a nice finish to a long, long series in San Juan for Milwaukee. It included nearly four hours in rain delays and a freak injury to third baseman Wes Helms, who slipped on the wet ramp outside the clubhouse Wednesday and injured his knee.
The team was awaiting results on the MRI exam, although Yost said he was anticipating Helms would end up on the disabled list.
The Brewers left late Thursday for a long trip to Pittsburgh. They have Podsednik to thank for getting them on the road a little sooner.
“In the seventh or eighth inning, we looked at the clock and it was like 6 or 6:30,” he said. “We were going to do anything we could to make sure we didn’t have to play more than nine” innings.
Milwaukee took two of three from the Expos to improve to 21-19. Last season,it took the Brewers until May 30 to win their 21st game.
Montreal’s Jose Vidro came off the bench and went 0-for-2, including a groundout with the go-ahead runner on second in the seventh inning. He is now 2-for-his-last-26. … Montreal pitcher Tony Armas Jr., will start Friday for Class A Brevard County. Armas is coming back from rotator cuff surgery last May. … The Brewers plan to get Junior Spivey (hamstring) back in the lineup Friday at Pittsburgh. Yost held Spivey out of the Expos series because of thespongy surface at Bithorn Stadium.