Phillies 4, Expos 3, 10 innings
Lieberthal also singled in the ninth, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
“Obviously, it would be a little more exciting if we were in the playoff race and coming home, but right now it’s kind of the same like it has been the last 10 years,” he said. “I don’t think it changes, really you go through the same routine regardless as to where you are in the standings.”
Philadelphia gained a game on Chicago in the NL wild-card race, though the Phillies remain seven back with eight games remaining.
“It was a good win for us,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “We battled hard and had great relief pitching.”
About 500 Expos fans held a 30-minute rally before the game in the faint hope of dissuading major league baseball from moving their hometown team. The Expos, who are likely to be moved to Washington, D.C., before next season, drew 8,491 fans to Olympic Stadium. Montreal has four home games left.
One of the many signs displayed during the rally read: “Selig is not my Bud,” a reference to baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Placido Polanco hit a one-out single in the 10th off Joey Eischen (0-1). After Eischen struck out Bobby Abreu, Gary Majewski came on and got Lou Collier to hit a chopper to third baseman Tony Batista. First-base umpire Mike Fichter called Collier safe on a close play, prompting Expos manager Frank Robinson to argue the call.
“It should have been the inning,” Robinson said.
Lieberthal lined a single over shortstop Maicer Izturis for a 3-2, and Howard hit an RBI double off the left-field wall.
Tony Batista hit his 32nd homer in the bottom half off left-hander Billy Wagner, who got three outs for his 19th save in 23 chances.
Tim Worrell (5-6) pitched a perfect ninth for the win, Philadelphia’s fifth in six games.
Phillies starter Kevin Millwood warmed up in the third but left without facing another batter because of a strained groin.
“It had been sore since my last start, it kind of went away for the most part,” Millwood said. “I got it wrapped up, kind of precautionary, and it just kind of got worse and worse as the game went on.”
Downs faced just two more than the minimum through seven innings, allowing Millwood’s two-out single in the third and Polanco’s leadoff double in the fourth.
“I was able to keep them off balance for the most part, keeping the ball down, keeping the ball in and out of the middle of the plate,” Downs said. “We made some plays and they hit some balls at some guys.”
Millwood has won 10 straight decisions against Montreal since Aug. 28, 2001, in Atlanta. He allowed one run and four hits in two innings.
Montreal’s Brad Wilkerson drew an intentional walk in the second to become the first Expos player to reach 100 walks in a season since Bob Bailey in 1974. Wilkerson, who went 0-for-2, drew his 101st walk in the fourth.
Downs, who retired 13 straight following Polanco’s double, struck out three and walked none in 7 1-3 innings.
Phillies LHP Rheal Cormier made his 80th appearance of the season, pitching a perfect seventh. … Downs threw 63 of 90 pitches for strikes.