In their longest game of the season, the Helena Brewers (27-48, 12-25) fell in 13 innings to the Billings Mustangs (36-38, 18-19) 5-4 on Friday night at Dehler Park.
In the bottom of the 13th, Andy Sugilio singled to start the frame for the Mustangs. On a strikeout of Pabel Manzanero, Sugiolio broke for second and advanced to third when Payton Henry's throw went into centerfield. Jake Turnbull was intentionally walked to set up a double play, bringing up Nadir Ljatifi. The Mustangs second baseman popped a ball out to right field that deflected off the glove of a charging Nicolas Pierre, allowing the winning run to score without a throw.
After falling behind 1-0 in the second, Helena took the lead with a big third inning. Jose Gomez singled to start the frame and motored around to third base on a single by Antonio Pinero. Chad McClanahan walked to load the bases before KJ Harrison doubled to deep center field, clearing the bases and giving Helena a 3-1 lead. Gabriel Garcia singled in Harrison to cap the Brewers rally, pushing their lead to 4-1.
Billings bullpen shut the Brewers down after the third inning. Helena was no hit for nine innings, and didn't send more than three men to the plate again until the 11th inning. McClanahan delivered the Brewers first hit in over nine innings in the 13th when he singled the opposite way to begin the frame. Garcia walked with one out, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. Jay Feliciano flew out and Henry struck out, though, ending the Brewers best chance to score.
The Mustangs climbed back into the game with a run in the bottom of the third on a fielder's choice and a run in the seventh that scored on a wild pitch. Billings tied the game in the bottom of the ninth while recording just one hit. Manzanero reached on a throwing error by McClanahan and Turnbull singled, putting two runners on for Ljatifi, who popped up a bunt attempt that was caught by Garcia for the first out. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and Manzanero scored on a sacrifice fly to center field from Jeter Downs, sending the game to extra innings.
Despite hitting a season-high seven batters, Brewers pitching only allowed two earned runs and struck out 11. At the plate, Helena struck out 17 times, two shy of their season-high 19, set on July 4 at Dehler Park. The Brewers have now lost eight straight to the Mustangs.
Helena concludes their 2017 season on Saturday night against the Mustangs at 6:05 PM. The Brewers are scheduled to send RHP Karsen Lindell (3-3, 6.75) to the mound against Mustangs RHP Eduardo Smith (NR). The game can be heard on the TuneIn App, the MiLB First Pitch App or online at helenabrewers.net.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.