10/07/2003 11:04 PM ET
Marlins prevail in night of extras
Lowell's homer caps a night of big hitting for both teams
CHICAGO -- Brad Penny and Mark Prior will go to the mound for Wednesday night's Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at their own risk.
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Theories that this will be a pitching-dominated NLCS kept flying over and into the ivy on a balmy -- yes, balmy -- Wrigley Field night in Tuesday's opener.
Only one game into it, this is already an extra-base and extra-inning special NLCS. By the fourth inning of the Marlins' numbing, 9-8, 11th-inning victory over the Cubs, the cleanest spot in Wrigley Field was the first base bag, where no hitter appeared inclined to stop.
The game's first 10 hits went for extra bases, including an NLCS-record four triples and four homers -- three of them in the Marlins' third.
The teams wound up with a Championship Series-record 17 extra-base hits, seven of them home runs.
None bigger than the last of them -- Mike Lowell's pinch shot off left-hander Mark Guthrie to lead off the 11th.
Ivan Rodriguez -- who else? -- began the scoring with a three-run homer and kept the Marlins' hopes alive with a ninth-inning, two-run single. Florida needed more Pudge heroics because it couldn't afford going a game down into the back-to-back crosshairs of Prior and Kerry Wood.
And the Marlins closed the deal when Lowell, displaced from the starting lineup by Miguel Cabrera, went bleachers.
Jack McKeon's Marlins aren't just blowing cigar smoke in putting their destiny against "Dustiny," as the inevitability of Dusty Baker managing the overdue Cubs into a World Series is popularly called around here.
While maintaining their daredevil postseason trend, the Marlins reinvent new ways of doing it. After snatching the NLDS by clawing out three comeback wins over the Giants, the Marlins wiped out a 4-0 Chicago lead with that three-homer salvo.
In the entire four-game NLDS, Florida had only two homers. Rodriguez, Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion went one better in a four-batter stretch in the third.
This is as good a time as any to amend the prevailing theme of this series. Which, of course, is the Cubs' historical postseason minefield that has kept them out of the World Series for 57 years. The Marlins have never lost a postseason series, and now have one leg up on making it 5-for-5.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.