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Phillies nearly saved by hidden-ball trick

7/4/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- After Philadelphia's attempt at a
hidden-ball trick didn't pan out, Montreal's Brad Wilkerson made
the ball disappear -- into the seats for a go-ahead home run.

Wilkerson hit a two-out, two-run homer off Jose Mesa in the
ninth inning -- Montreal's first hit since the fourth -- and the
Expos beat the Phillies 2-1.

Mesa (2-5) relieved to start the ninth with a 1-0 lead and
walked Brian Schneider leading off. After Mike Mordecai sacrificed
and with Jose Macias at the plate, Philadelphia tried a hidden-ball
trick, with second baseman Tomas Perez tagging Schneider.

Second-base umpire Brian Runge called Schneider out, but after
Montreal manager Frank Robinson talked to crew chief Tim
McClelland, who was behind the plate, the call was reversed, with
McClelland ruling time had been called at the time of the play.

"There was no way I could have been out, I knew it either had
to be a balk or time was out,'' Schneider said.

Many of the Phillies were caught off guard by the trickery,
including catcher Mike Lieberthal, who was the player that
requested time and began to walk toward the mound to talk to Mesa.

"Tomas and Mesa did it on their own and it was Tomas' idea,''
Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "Lieby had called time and gone
out to talk about the hitter. We've never done it before. I thought
Mesa had the ball.''

Macias struck out, and Wilkerson turned on a 1-2 inside fastball
and tucked his seventh home run of the season just inside the
right-field foul pole.

"I really thought it had a chance of going out. I was just
hoping it would stay fair,'' Wilkerson said.

Some Expos weren't as confident, including manager Frank
Robinson.

"It didn't have that crisp sound off the bat. In fact, I
thought he might have broken his bat,'' Robinson said. "It just
didn't sound good, but the results were beautiful.''

It was the fifth blown save by Mesa in 27 chances. Mesa had four
blown saves last season in 46 opportunities.

"Mesa is the guy we want in that spot,'' Phillies third baseman
Scott Rolen said. "He's done a great job. You've got to give
Wilkerson some credit.''

Joey Eischen (2-1) pitched two hitless innings, and Scott
Stewart got three outs for his 11th save in 12 chances.

Montreal, which had six hits, won for just the second time in
six games, while Philadelphia lost for just the fourth time in 11
games.
Vicente Padilla allowed five hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings,
lowering his home ERA to 1.82 ERA and surpassing Woody Williams of
St. Louis (1.85) for the best home ERA in the National League.

Padilla allowed runners in six of the first seven innings --
including four leading off. He struck out seven, walked three and
hit a pair of batters.

Padilla escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the third after
consecutive singles by Troy O'Leary, Fernando Tatis and Andres
Galarraga. Padilla struck out Schneider, retired Mordecai on a
popout to short right field and got pitcher Masato Yoshii on a
comebacker.

After Padilla struck out Vladimir Guerrero leading off the
eighth, Dan Plesac relieved and walked pinch-hitter Wil Cordero.
Carlos Silva got out of the inning.

Yoshii allowed three hits in six innings. He hasn't won since in
10 games -- including five starts -- since April 16.

"Yoshii has the misfortune that we have been able to finish off
games,'' Robinson said. "He was outstanding, but with the heat, I
thought he'd enough.''

Philadelphia went ahead in the third when Marlon Anderson
singled, Padilla sacrificed and Ledee singled in the run.

Game notes
Tatis extended his hitting streak to 11 games, two shy of
the career high he set in 2000. ... Phillies 1B Travis Lee is to
have an MRI exam of his sprained left shoulder on Friday. He
sustained the injury during a headfirst slide into home in
Tuesday's 12-6 loss to the New York Mets. ... SS Jimmy Rollins went
0-for-4 and is 2-for-26 (.077) against the Expos this season. ...
Gametime temperature was 96 degrees with a heat index of