Greatest Moments in Marlins History: #5 Pudge’s Play at the Plate


July 14, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Florida Marlins former catcher Ivan Rodriguez waves to the crowd as he is honored during a ceremony before a game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. It looks like we are in the home stretch of our countdown. We have finally made it to the top 5; and we are going to start our top 5 with a moment that would end a series. For moment 5 we go back to October 4, 2003 and game 4 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. The play? Ivan Rodriguez’s play at the plate in the 9th inning that gave the Marlins the win and the series.

After losing the first game in San Francisco the Marlins would go on to win the next 2 games and would go into game 4 one win away from the NLCS. In front of 65,000 plus screaming fans the Marlins were ready to punch their ticket to the NLCS. Rookie sensation (I just can’t seem to get away from that phrase this countdown) Dontrelle Willis was on the mound for the Marlins. The Giants struck first with a sac fly in the 2nd, but the Marlins answered back that inning with a run scored on a throwing error. The next inning the Marlins added two runs to take a 3-1 lead. Miguel Cabrera would add 2 more runs in the 4th to give the Marlins a 5-1 lead. Looks like the Marlins are going to the NLCS!

In the 6th inning Willis started coming undone. He gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, and only got 1 out before being pulled. With the Giants down 5-4, J.T. Snow tied the game up that same inning with a single. This game was tied until the bottom of the 8th, when Miggy singled in 2 runs again. We head to the 9th inning with the Marlins in the lead 7-5.

Ugueth Urbina comes up to the mound (I swear Urbina is better then what I’ve had of him on this countdown). To start the inning he gives up a double and Snow makes him pay for it by scoring that runner on a single. The score is now 7-6. Urbina calms down a bit and gets the next batter out swinging at strike 3. Out two comes from fly out to right field. The Marlins need just one more out to head to the NLCS! The next batter is hit by a pitch which moves the tying run to 2nd and while he becomes the lead runner on 1st. Urbina takes a deep breath and waits for the next batter. In he steps and Urbina let the ball rip… it’s hit to left field… J.T. comes running home all the way from second… Jeff Conine picks up the ball and throws to Pudge. Pudge gets the ball and… gets leveled… but he still has the ball! Out number 3! The Marlins are going to the NLCS! The Marlins are going to the NLCS!  What a way to end the game!

That’s how you start a top 5 list. Join me tomorrow as we take one last look at the 2003 season.