10/11/2003 1:59 AM ET
Not enough of that Marlins magic
Club rallies twice from deficits, but comes up short
MIAMI -- Officially, the streak is still alive for the Florida Marlins. Their last eight postseason victories dating back to 1997 have been in come-from-behind fashion, and perhaps that streak will grow to nine when they meet the Chicago Cubs again in Game 4 of the National League Championships Series Saturday night at Pro Player Stadium.
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Of course, having that kind of track record just makes it harder for the Marlins and their fans to accept what happened in their 5-4, 11-inning loss in Game 3. This is a team that expects to win games like that, and this was a night in front of 65,115 fans that was just made for history to repeat itself. No one here counted on Doug Glanville.
"The Cubs reminded me of us," said Marlins first baseman Derrek Lee, dressing at his locker at 1:30 a.m. in South Florida, trying to shake off the memory of his ninth-inning flyout to center that left men at the corners. "We've come back to win a lot of these, and this time they didn't let it happen."
The Marlins' last three victories of the 1997 World Series against Cleveland had been comebacks. Their three consecutive victories of this year's NL Division Series against the Giants had been comebacks. They had come from behind to win the opener of this NLCS Tuesday at Wrigley Field. So when Florida came back to tie this one at 4-4 in the eighth on Todd Hollandsworth's pinch-hit single, it was almost surprising to see this team miss a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 series lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Juan Pierre led off with a perfect bunt single, and was sacrificed to second by Luis Castillo. Pudge Rodriguez was intentionally walked. Then Cubs closer Joe Borowski clamped down, retiring Lee and then Mike Mordecai on a pair of flyouts to center. Glanville beat them the next inning, and there was no magic this time for Florida.
One person surprised was Tony Perez, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He is the Marlins' special assistant to the president -- as well as a veteran of postseason thrillers such as Game 6 of the 1975 World Series -- and he has been with this club through that streak of come-from-behind victories. "These guys don't give up," he said. "They fall behind and come back. They do it all the time. We had chances to win this one. Fans, everybody here expects it now."
Because the streak is technically still alive, it is worth revisiting here:
Game 1 of 2003 NLCS at Chicago. The Marlins allowed four runs in the first, took a 5-4 lead in the third, and won the game in the 11th on Mike Lowell's pinch-homer.
Game 4 of 2003 NLDS vs. San Francisco. Trailed, 1-0, before coming back to win, 7-6. Ivan Rodriguez scored the go-ahead run in the eighth by jarring the ball loose from the catcher at home -- and then he held onto the ball in the ninth when J.T. Snow tried to jar it loose from him.
Game 3 of 2003 NLDS vs. San Francisco. Florida trailed, 3-2, before scoring twice in the 11th. Rodriguez drove in all four of Florida's runs.
Game 2 of 2003 NLDS at San Francisco. The Marlins had lost Game 1 and were on the brink of disaster in this series, but they went on to win, 9-5.
Game 7 of 1997 World Series vs. Cleveland. The Indians jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the decisive game at Pro Player, but the Marlins rallied to tie it and won the championship when Edgar Renteria singled to score Craig Counsell.
Game 5 of 1997 World Series at Cleveland. Moises Alou hit a three-run homer in a four-run sixth, helping Florida overcome a 4-2 deficit. Three Cleveland runs in the bottom of the ninth were not enough, as the Marlins won, 8-7.
Game 3 of 1997 World Series at Cleveland. In one of the best finishes to a Marlin game ever, Florida overcame a 7-3 deficit to tie the score, and then in the top of the ninth scored seven runs. The Marlins withstood four runs in the bottom of the inning for a 14-11 victory.
Game 1 of 1997 World Series vs. Cleveland. Alou and Charles Johnson hit back-to-back jacks in a four-run fourth inning, after the Indians opened the series with a run off Livan Hernandez in the first inning. Florida went on to win, 7-4.
Jeff Conine has been around for it all, a leader on that 1997 club and a returning player for this Marlins team. Conine was unable to stop Glanville's ball that skidded past him for that game-winning triple in the 11th, and he was in anything but a jovial mood afterward to discuss the nature of this loss.
"I don't know if you expect to keep coming back and winning these," he said, "but there's no quitting on this team. Now you come back the next day. That's all you can do."
Mark Newman is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.