10/11/2003 12:37 AM ET
Cubs, Marlins put on another show
MIAMI -- All you Cubs and Marlins, have you finished throwing haymakers at each other yet? Can we please catch our breath?
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
The National League Championship Series continued as an EKG stress test Friday night/Saturday morning, when the lads turned Game 3 into another show- and heart-stopper.
By the time Doug Glanville's 11th-inning triple broke the last tie and Mike Remlinger hammered shut Chicago's 5-4 win, the sellout crowd was waving in emotional surrender the white handkerchiefs it was given entering Pro Player Stadium.
The Cubs can now savor a 2-games-to-1 lead for a few hours, until they do it all over again Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cubs righty Matt Clement will duel charismatic Florida lefty Dontrelle Willis -- 19 months after they were traded for each other.
Nice of Clement and Willis to bring their own angle. Because the teams have exhausted all the other storylines, only three games into this best-of-seven theater.
If you believe that Mark Prior and Friday starter Kerry Wood drive the Cubs' engine, and that it's a tossup with anyone else on the mound, winning Game 3 was crucial for them.
It was the only way they could assure getting to Prior & Wood back-to-back for Games 6 and 7, if both are needed, back in Chicago. Now the Cubs have been placed into scramble mode.
This NLCS began four days ago as a match between the Cubs' 95-year hunger and the Marlins' 11-year gorge of postseason success, and between Billy the Marlin and the Curse of Billy Goat.
It has evolved into a brawl between two teams which simply don't concede final outs.
This game unfolded in an atmosphere totally different from the first two. The scene shifted from claustrophobic Wrigley Field, where 39,000 left no elbow room, to spacious Pro Player Stadium, where you could go all night without running into any of 65,000.
The changed atmosphere extended into the batter's box. The only ones to whom Pro Player's confines are friendly are pitchers. The first two games churned out 32 runs, 50 hits and 13 homers. For hitters, Game 3 was a beggar's banquet for most of Wood's and Mark Redman's time on the mound.
Then a 2-1 grinder blossomed in the bottom of the seventh into another 2003 spectacular, the teams swapping blows to a finish that left 65,115 drained.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.