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Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 1:06 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
San Diego Padres
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R H E
7 11 1
Milwaukee Brewers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
8 9 1
W DeJean (2-3)
L Herges (1-1)
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MILWAUKEE 8, SAN DIEGO 7
 

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- John Vander Wal 's solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Milwaukee Brewers a dramatic 8-7 victory over the struggling San Diego Padres , whose season-high losing streak reached seven games.

Vander Wal's sixth homer of the season gave the Brewers their fourth win in five games.

Padres reliever Matt Herges (1-1) had little trouble retiring Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins to open the ninth. But he fell behind Vander Wal and the Brewers right fielder crushed a 3-1 offering over the center field fence to give Milwaukee its third win of the season in its last at-bat and second in five days.

"Honestly, I was trying to make solid contact," said Vander Wal, who struck out three times. "I was looking for something over the middle of the plate. There are times I feel confident in the box. When I don't feel confident, I look for something over an area of the plate."

"This is one I'll never forget. But I'll have to," Herges said. "I might be in there tomorrow. It was a 3-1 pitch and in hindsight, I should have thrown a fastball because we gave them a billion changeups tonight."

Vander Wal's homer was Milwaukee's fifth run of the game with two outs and its second game-winning blast on its season-high 13-game homestand.

"They stress (producing with two outs) a lot here and we might not have as much talent as other clubs in the National League," Vander Wal said. "But we have to improve our chances to win. And to improve our chances to win, we have to do the fundamentals and do the little things on defense."

"We're doing a lot right offensively," Brewers manager Ned Yost added. "We're manufacturing runs and we're getting guys over. Our approach is better with two outs. We're doing a lot of things right offensively. That's really a good sign. The two-out approach we had from Wes (Helms) and Geoff (Jenkins) and EY ( Eric Young ) was key for us."

Vander Wal's blast made a winner of closer Mike DeJean (2-3), who was one out away from a save. But he lost the lead on Sean Burroughs ' RBI triple as Jenkins failed to make a diving catch in left field.

Working for the fourth straight day, DeJean got off to a shaky start. Ramon Vazquez reached on Young's error at second base, then raced home on Burroughs' first triple of the season.

Burroughs was left at third when DeJean retired Dave Hansen on a flyout.

San Diego suffered its second straight one-run loss and wasted a season-high four RBI from rookie Xavier Nady . Nady hit a two-run homer in the sixth to give the Padres a 6-5 lead but was robbed of another home run in the eighth when Jenkins made a leaping catch against the wall.

The Brewers blew leads of 4-0, 5-4 and 7-6 but clinched their second straight series.

"We had to battle back three different times," Nady said. "Going into the ninth, we felt like we had momentum. But that's how things have been playing out for us this year."

Milwaukee took its third lead of the game when Young singled to left off Herges with two outs in the eighth. Helms led off with a walk and moved up when Keith Osik was plunked in the ribs. Helms took third on Brady Clark 's flyout and scored on Young's base hit.

Two innings earlier, Alex Sanchez delivered an RBI single to lift Milwaukee into a 6-6 tie.

Milwaukee scored four times in the first against starter Adam Eaton . Making his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list, Eaton gave up an RBI single to Sexson and a three-run homer to Helms.

But in the third, Brewers starter Ben Sheets served up a two-run homer to Vazquez and a two-run double to Nady that forged a 4-4 deadlock.

The Brewers regained the lead in the fifth on Jenkins' RBI single but lost it on Nady's second homer in as many nights.

Sheets lasted six innings and gave up six runs and eight hits. Eaton allowed five runs and six hits in five innings.


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