Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. The Marlins have had a lot of great walk-offs in their history. In the 1997 NLDS the first two playoff games in Marlins history were walk-offs. Also, who could forget Giancarlo Stanton’s Mother’s Day walk-off? How about moment 20’s wild pitch walk-off to seal Henderson Alvarez’s no-hitter? We have so many great walk-off moments on this countdown, and moment 19 is no exception. Today we take you back to October 3, 2003 when Ivan Rodriguez walked-off in the bottom of the 11th inning in the 2003 NLDS.
Joe Robbie Stadium (yes I know it was Pro Player at the time) was jammed pack with over 60,000 screaming Marlins fans for game 3 of the NLDS in hopes of seeing the Marlins take a 2-1 series lead over the San Francisco Giants. Early in the game it looked like the Marlins would deliver on that. In the 1st inning the Marlins took a 2-0 lead thanks to a 2 run homer by Pudge. Mark Redman was doing his part on the mound by blanking the Giants in the first 5 innings, but the Giants finally got to him in the 6th inning, tying the game up 2-2. Neither team could get a run on the board and we were going into extra innings. The 10th inning came and went with no runs scored. Into the 11th we go, and what an 11th it was.
Braden Looper came in for the Marlins in hopes of shutting down the Giants, but after a walk and reach on error for the first 2 batters he faced, Edgardo Alfonzo would give the Giants their first lead of the game with a RBI single. Looper would get 3 outs before letting anybody else score but the damage was already done. The Marlins were down 3-2 going into the bottom of the 11th.
The Marlins started their half of the inning really well. Jeff Conine reached first because of an error on the right fielder, and Alex Gonzalez drew a walk to have the tying run on 2nd and the winning run on 1st with no outs. Miguel Cabrera advanced the runners on a well placed bunt, putting the tying run at 3rd and the winning run at 2nd with one out. It got better as Juan Pierre was intentionally walked to load the bases. Luis Castillo was up to bat next, and on the first pitch he saw he sent the ball right back to the pitcher for the force at home. 2 outs and the bases still juiced for Pudge. The first pitch Pudge saw was a called strike. The second pitch Pudge saw he liked but fouled it off. With 2 strikes on Pudge the Giants are now 1 strike away from taking a 2-1 lead in the series. The 3rd pitch was a ball. The fourth pitch Pudge couldn’t lay off and fouled it off. Pudge had a good eye on the 5th pitch and lined it into right field scoring Gonzalez easily from 3rd to tie the game; but that wasn’t all as Pierre came running from second to and was given the green light to head home. The ball wasn’t even close as Pierre slid safely into home to give the Marlins the win off of a Pudge walk-off!
Trust me, there are plenty of more walk-offs still to come on this list. Join me tomorrow as we take another look at another moment from the 2003 playoffs.