With Mike Jacobs nursing a sore ankle, Helms got the start at first base and hit a pair of home runs, including a two-run shot to tie the game in the eighth, and help the Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in 10 innings on Wednesday night.
“I needed to go in there and pick up for (Jacobs),” said Helms. “That’s my job. It worked out good for me tonight.”
Helms, who began his major league career with Atlanta in 1998, had his fourth two-homer game and his first since June of 2003. He also drove in a run with a single.
“A great night by Wes,” said Marlins manager Joe Girardi. “He’s gotten a lot of big hits for us this year.”
Helms was on deck when the Marlins scored the winning run in the 10th inning on reliever Mike Remlinger’s throwing error.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Remlinger fielded Jeremy Hermida s bunt and tried to get the lead runner at third. His throw went past third baseman Chipper Jones, allowing pinch-runner Reggie Abercrombie to score easily.
Miguel Cabrera led off the 10th inning with a double off Oscar Villareal (7-1) before being replaced by Abercrombie. Villareal then hit Cody Ross in the face after Ross had squared to bunt and Remlinger came in.
“It’s June and we’re starting to win close games, we’re starting to come back and we’re starting to put away teams when we’re ahead,” Helms said. “The difference in this team now is we feel we can win every game. We’re putting together a pretty good run here.”
Since starting the season 11-31, the Marlins have gone 14-6, the second-best record in the majors.
“I said we had the talent but not the experience,” Girardi said. “The talent is starting to show up now.”
Taylor Tankersley (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th inning for his first major league victory.
“I was fortunate to get Andruw and Francoeur,” Borowski said. “It was breathtaking, my heart was pounding. We’re in the bullpen in the eighth and we’re not expecting anything like this to happen.”
Atlanta starter John Thomson gave up two runs and four hits in six innings. Thomson, who had a 10.27 ERA in his previous five starts, left after developing a blister on his right middle finger.
Thomson said the blister began appearing in the fifth inning and burst after he threw one warmup pitch before the seventh.
“I’ve had those before in the past, it s something that’s not new,” Thomson said. “It’s frustrating because I haven’t had one in six years.”
Thomson said his blister problems in the past usually have forced him to miss a start.
Florida starter Dontrelle Willis allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings, failing in his bid to become Florida’s all-time winningest pitcher. He remains tied with A.J. Burnett with 49 victories.
Francoeur singled home the first run of the game in the first inning. After flying out to the wall in his next at-bat, Francoeur gave the Braves a 5-2 lead when he sent a Willis pitch 377 feet over the left-field wall.
The Braves scored a run in the third on Giles homer and one in the fourth on a wild pitch by Willis.
Helms first homer of the game made it 3-2 in the fourth.
After going 0-for-4, Florida leadoff hitter Hanley Ramirez is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. … Marlins 2B Dan Uggla, who came into the game hitting .419 against the Braves, had his hitting streak snapped at seven games after he went 0-for-5. … Braves LF Manny Diaz went 3-for-4 and is now 15-for-21 this season against Florida.