Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. Remember the 2003 NLCS? This moment’s not Steve Bartman, that was moment 43 and we are on moment 18 today. The NLCS started in the Marlins’ favor by them winning game 1, but they would go on to lose the next 3 and the Cubs were just one game away from the World Series. We all know what happened, the Cubs collapsed, Steve Bartman was blamed, and the Cubs are still waiting to the break the curse of a billy goat. The Marlins, however, may never have gotten to game 7 is it wasn’t for moment 18: Josh Beckett’s complete game shutout in Game 5 of the 2003 NLCS.
The Marlins entered game 5 with their backs against the wall. They were down 3-1 in the series. Up to that point only the 1996 Braves had ever comeback to win the NLCS down 3-1. Could the Marlins be the second team? First they had to win game 5 and on the mound for them was Beckett. Coming off a game 1 No Decision, he was poised and ready to start the comeback. Beckett started the comeback very well in the 1st inning, going 1-2-3. To start off the 2nd inning Beckett struck out former Marlin Moises Alou, but then walked the next batter. There goes the perfect game. He would get the next 2 batters out to end the inning.
In the 3rd and 4th inning Beckett would go 1-2-3 in both innings. In the 5th inning Beckett got the first two batters out, but give up a hit the other batter, the other Alex Gonzalez. There goes the no hitter. Next batter up? Yup, you guessed it, he was out to end the inning. At this point the Marlins haven’t scored a run but that would all change in the bottom of the 5th when Mike Lowell sent a ball into the stands with Miguel Cabrera on to take a 2-0 lead (spoiler- we might see another Lowell NLCS home run on this list). Beckett would go 1-2-3 in the 6th and give up his 2nd hit of the game in the 7th but still no one would score. Ivan Rodriguez would add some insurance in the 7th with a blast of his own. The Marlins were in control.
Into the 8th Beckett once again went 1-2-3 and was helped in the bottom of the inning with a Jeff Conine solo shot to make it 4-0. On to the 9th inning and out comes Beckett once again. His pitch count is at 106, he has walked 1 batter, struck out 11, and has only given up 2 hits with no runs. What was he going to do in the 9th? Easy, he went 1-2-3! The Marlins win 4-0 and head to Chicago down only 3-2!
This would be the beginning of the end for the Cubs in 2003. Join me tomorrow as we bring up… The Streak! No, not Joe DiMaggio, the Marlins streak!