10/12/2003 7:59 PM ET
NLCS Game 5: Game balls
The Marlins had not lost three consecutive home games since June, and they kept that streak alive with an inspired Game 5 win on Sunday. We award up to five "Harry Carays" to the best and worst of the home-bound Cubs, and fish for the still-swimming Marlins.
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Five fish: Whale of a performance
Four fish: Starfish
Three fish: Happy as a clam
Two fish: Nice minnow
One fish: Sorry, Charlie
Josh Beckett: With his club against a wall, Beckett broke through with a near-perfect performance and finished with a two-hitter. He struck out 11 and did not allow a hit until Alex Gonzalez blooped a fifth-inning single. Hey Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, Beckett might be just as good.
Beckett vs. Sammy Sosa: It was the fourth inning, and the game's most exciting at-bat started with a Beckett fastball that buzzed Sosa high and tight and prompted the Cubs slugger to take one big step toward the pitcher's mount. How did Beckett respond? Only with a series of pitches that included blazing fastballs or 98, 98, 99 and 100 mph and ended with a changeup that froze Sosa for a called strike three. The best part came after the game, when Beckett called Sammy's reaction "ignorant." Intimidated? We think not.
Mike Lowell: Miguel Cabrera's surprising play confined Lowell to the bench at the start of the series, and Lowell had only one hit in the series -- a game-winning home run in Game 1 -- entering his second start of the series Sunday. Maybe this was a statement; Lowell singled to spark a bases-loaded rally in the fourth inning that ultimately fizzled, then cracked a two-run home run to break a scoreless tie in the fifth.
Small ball: The Marlins took a break from their get 'em on, move 'em over, drive 'em in mentality and went straight for the long ball, riding a trio of home runs to a Game 5 win. One of them, of course, came off the white (hot) ash of catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who has 14 RBIs in 10 postseason games.
Five Harry Carays: Holy Cow!
Four Harry Carays: Like a long fly ball onto Waveland
Three Harry Carays: Careful -- Cubs fans are fickle
Two Harry Caray: Stuck in traffic on Lakeshore Dr.
One Harry Caray: Throw it back!
Carlos Zambrano: He was not perfect, but he kept his on-his-sleeves emotions in check for the most part and gave the Cubs a chance. He worked five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks, but showed a knack for working out of some tough jams in the early going. If the Cubs make it to the World Series, don't count on this youngster to get rattled.
The first inning: Holy Cow! The Cubs failed to score in the first for the first time all series after outscoring the Marlins, 11-0, in the first inning of Games 1-4.
Sammy Sosa: Four inning, no score, Josh Becket and Carlos Zambrano locked in what looks to be a low-scoring game. And you believe Beckett would not just throw at you, but would go right at your head? Come on. Think about that 0-for-4 and give us some highlights at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.
Cubs bullpen: Three relievers, three innings, three hits. Too bad two of them were Marlins home runs. Dave Veres and Mike Remlinger did not do much to inspire confidence from manager Dusty Baker, who has already shown a tendency to avoid his bullpen at all costs, often at the expense of his young starters' pitch counts.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.