Unfortunately, the game-winning home run hit by Paul Molitor and three clutch runs batted in by Ted Simmons will not be the first memories that come to mind, years hence, when tonight's 5-3 Milwaukee victory over the New York Yankees is remembered.

The first image recalled will not be of victor Rollie Fingers striking out Willie Randolph to end the game and keep the Brewers' dreams intact in the American League East playoff, which they now trail, two games to one.

Instead, the thoughts of most of the 56,411 in Yankee Stadium tonight, and of those who watched on national television, inevitably will focus on the frightening seconds when a spectator climbed over the third base rail, ran onto the field and tackled third base umpire Mike Reilly at the back of the knees, smashing him to the dirt.

In the next few slow-motion moments, Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles threw himself on the fan -- identified as Frank Kuraccea Jr., 24, of Ansonia, Conn. -- and pinned him with a headlock.

Neither Reilly nor Nettles was injured in the incident, unique in postseason baseball history. Kuraccea was dragged off the field and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

"All I know is I was hit from behind. He tackled me. I haven't been hit that hard since I played high school football," said Reilly, an excellent young umpire, who had ended the previous half-inning by calling the Yankees' Dave Winfield out on an eyelash-close play as Winfield slid into third.

"At this time, I don't know if I will file charges or a suit," said Reilly. "I will meet with Richie Phillips, the attorney for the Major League Umpires Association."

"I saw the guy when he was five feet from Reilly," Nettles said. "I just went over to help and got the guy in a headlock."

By coincidence, the Brewers' fortunes in this series changed dramatically when play resumed.

At that juncture, the Yankees led, 1-0, on Bob Watson's RBI single in the fourth, and Tommy John, working on a three-hit shutout, had just given up a scratch hit to Cecil Cooper on a grounder that Watson should have fielded at first. Yet even a tiny Yankee lead always seems large since, in the past two years, the New Yorkers have a 130-5 record in games in which they have taken a lead into the seventh inning.

But not tonight.

As soon as play resumed, the next hitter, Simmons, sent what John called "a hanging fork ball" deep into the left field seats for a 2-1 lead.

"Before that, we looked like we were longing for something to happen and confused that nothing was happening," said Simmons. "When I hit the homer, we loosened up very quickly. The whole atmosphere changed."

"I don't see how some guy coming out of the blue could account for John hangin' a fork ball," growled New York Manager Bob Lemon. "It never happened before, but I don't think it affected the game."

Something affected John. After the homer, Gorman Thomas singled, was bunted to second and scored on Sal Bando's hit for a 3-1 Milwaukee lead.

The Brewers looked safe, especially when Fingers, the relief master with 28 saves, came in to start the seventh in relief of the game Randy Lerch, who allowed only three hits in six innings on his 27th birthday. Lerch called it "the most pleasing game of my career."

The Yankees, however, wouldn't cooperate, tying the score, 3-3, with four consecutive one-out singles in the seventh. Rick Cerone and Randolph drove in the runs before the mustachioed Fingers, relying on curves, struggled out of the inning by striking out Winfield with men at the corners.

Then came the strategic crux of this game. Lemon, with his Goose and Gander bullpen of Rich Gossage and Ron Davis tired from two days of overtime duty (7 2/3 innings), decided not to trust lefty Rudy May, who, for three years, has had spectacular relief statistics. Instead, he stuck with John. Lemon's decision proved disastrous.

Molitor led off the eighth with his tie-breaking homer into the left field bleachers, a 390-foot blast that the 6-foot-6 Winfield came close to catching by climbing far up the wall.

After Robin Yount got a scratch hit off Nettles' glove to finish John, on came May -- with the horse out of the barn. And up stepped Simmons.

"In the clutch, I always remind myself, 'The pitcher's in trouble, not me,' " said Simmons. "So often, you see the hitter go out to the mound and take the psychological monkey off the pitcher's back by chasing bad pitches, then he walks back to the box with two monkeys on his back: the pitcher's and his own.

"I wait for a decent strike, no matter what. I make the pitcher come to me, take my monkey off my back and carry it back out to the mound with him."

May fell behind in the count. Simmons bashed a ringing RBI double off the 430-foot sign in Death Valley in left and the shaky Fingers had a two-run margin of safety in the ninth.