Series: Game 1 of 2

Series starts Fri 5/21

Game 1: Friday, May 21
Game 1: Saturday, May 22
Game 2: Sunday, May 23

7:05 PM ET, May 21, 2004

PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Starting Pitchers

Milwaukee: Sheets (12-14, 2.70 ERA)

Pittsburgh: Fogg (11-10, 4.64 ERA)

Game postponed by high winds, storms

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The opener of a three-game series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed Friday because of expected 70 mph winds and thunderstorms.

The game was called at 5 p.m., more than two hours before the scheduled first pitch. It will be made up as part of doubleheader July 2 at 5:05 p.m.

The starters were pushed back by a day. Ben Sheets, coming on an 18-strikeout performance against Atlanta, will pitch for Milwaukee against Josh Fogg.

Even before arriving in Pittsburgh, wet weather had taken its toll on the Brewers.

Third baseman Wes Helms will miss at least two months because of an injured right knee. He was hurt Wednesday when he slipped on a rubber mat in a wet tunnel leading from the clubhouse to the dugout at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Helms is scheduled for surgery on Monday, manager Ned Yost said.

Yost feared that one of his players would get injured in the series, which concluded Thursday. He even kept second baseman Junior Spivey out of the series, because Spivey had been nursing a strained right hamstring.

"We had reports going down there that the field was very soft," Yost said. "Players who had gone down there were getting some leg injuries, so we were real nervous about the turf. Walking down to the dugout, it was real wet and humid and rainy, and that mat was just slick. I about fell down two or three times myself.

"Wes was just walking down there to go to the cage and just slipped. He hit his head real hard. I'm not sure it didn't almost knock him out for a second. He had a slight concussion and hurt his knee."

Helms has a five-game hitting streak and had hit safely in nine of his past 10 games. He was batting .302 with seven RBIs this month but is batting just .252 with two home runs and 12 RBIs overall.

Yost isn't sure what else can be done to improve the playing conditions at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. There were several rain delays during the series, which didn't help matters.

"They're really trying," he said. "They've put $8 million into that stadium. They're trying a new turf out there, and it's just spongy. Our outfielders' legs were all aching and tight and hurting after three games, but a lot of that has to do with the weather out there.

"You know, they had the mats down there, they were just slick. I don't know if that's anybody's fault. It's just something that happened," he said.

The Brewers recalled third baseman Corey Hart from Triple-A Indianapolis, although Keith Ginter was scheduled to play third Friday before the game was postponed.

The Pirates play the Expos at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in a four-game series July 8-11.

Yost will play Spivey now that he doesn't have to worry about a slick field. Spivey has not played since May 2 because of his injured hamstring.

Game notes

OF Raul Mondesi cleared waivers after the Pirates terminated his contract this week. Anaheim, Boston, Seattle and St. Louis are among the teams supposedly showing interest in him. ... The Pirates' promotion Friday, scheduled to be Robert Clemente Nesting Doll Night, was moved to Aug. 13. ... An MRI exam on Pirates SS Jack Wilson's left calf revealed no structural damage, and he expects to play Saturday. Wilson said he was injured at some point during a doubleheader Wednesday against San Diego. When he awoke the next morning and went to pick up a toy belonging to one of his children, he realized his calf was "stiffer than usual." ... LHP Paul Maholm, the Pirates' first-round draft pick last season, had surgery Friday in Pittsburgh to repair the area around his left eye. Maholm, pitching for Class A Lynchburg, was struck in the face by a line drive during a game Saturday night. The blow broke his nose and orbital bones around his eye. He is expected to remain in Pittsburgh for 7-to-10 days and to make a full recovery. ... Pirates RHP Jason Boyd cleared waivers and chose to report to Triple-A Nashville instead of becoming a free agent. ... RHP Kris Benson will start on three days rest Sunday, because the Pirates played a doubleheader Wednesday. "I don't think he's ever done that," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's excited about the opportunity."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press