10/22/2003 12:28 AM ET
WS Score Tracker: Game 3
BOT 1st: FLA 1, NYY 0: The Marlins were hoping to get off to a fast start in their first home game of the World Series, and few players can accomplish that better than Florida's fleet-footed leadoff man Juan Pierre. As it had in their Game 1 victory, Pierre's speed paid early dividends for the Marlins. The Marlin-blue streak kicked off the first frame with a blooper into shallow right-center field against Yankees starter Mike Mussina. New York's right fielder Karim Garcia got a late break on the ball, which wound up falling in just out of the range of sliding center fielder Bernie Williams. Pierre's pedals turned what would have been a single for most into a critical leadoff double. When Luis Castillo struck out swinging after failing to get a sacrifice bunt down and Ivan Rodriguez lifted a shallow fly out to right, Pierre's taking of two bases proved increasingly important. Even with two outs, the Yankees were paying Pierre some extra attention. When right-handed hitter Miguel Cabrera came to the plate, the Yankees had second baseman Alfonso Soriano shaded toward the bag in an attempt to keep the runner close. The Marlins 20-year-old cleanup man looked more like a 20-year veteran when he took advantage of the defensive alignment, going the opposite way to roll an RBI single through the hole on the right side to give Florida the game's first run.
By Todd Lorenz / MLB.com
TOP 4th: FLA 1, NYY 1: After rolling through the first three innings, Florida starter Josh Beckett appeared poised for a repeat performance of his two-hit shutout against the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLCS. He fanned Soriano for the second time to retire his 10th straight batter, but Derek Jeter tagged Beckett's second offering into the left-field corner for a stand-up double. Beckett then walked Jason Giambi on a full-count pitch and got Williams to hit an infield fly for the second out. However, he plunked Hideki Matsui with a 1-2 pitch to load the bases before Jorge Posada drew an eight-pitch walk to push across the game-tying run. Already upset with home plate umpire Gary Darling's full-count calls leading to walks, Beckett managed to settle down and get Garcia to hit into an inning-ending groundout.
BOT 6th: FLA 1, NYY 1: Following a 39-minute rain delay with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Marlins had their best chance to break the game open in their first full return to the plate. Rodriguez started the threat with a one-out double off the wall in left-center. Cabrera kept the same approach that brought home the Marlins run in the first, lining an opposite-field single to right against Mussina. Marlins third base coach Ozzie Guillen played it safe by originally stopping Rodriguez, and it was too late to send him home when he saw Garcia fumble the ball. Mussina took full advantage on the next play when he caught Rodriguez in a rundown between third and home on a comebacker off the bat of Derrek Lee for the second out before escaping the inning by striking out Mike Lowell.
TOP 8th: NYY 2, FLA 1: Florida's failure to get Rodriguez home cost the team dearly in the eighth. Beckett fanned Soriano for the third time to lead off the inning, but Jeter ended his night by slapping an opposite-field double down the right-field line for his third hit of the evening. Marlins manager Jack McKeon elected to employ the services of rookie right-hander Dontrelle Willis, who promptly issued a five-pitch walk to Jason Giambi. Jeter moved to third when Bernie Williams flew out to Pierre in center field for the second out of the inning. That brought up Matsui, who extended his postseason hitting streak to six games with a tiebreaking RBI single to left field. Willis was obviously shaken and exited after walking Jorge Posada on four consecutive pitches. Right-hander Chad Fox kept the Marlins in the game by striking out pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra with the bases loaded.
TOP 9th: NYY 6, FLA 1: The Florida bullpen couldn't do the same in the ninth. ALCS Game 7 hero Aaron Boone ripped Fox's second pitch into the left-field bleachers to give the New York bullpen a bit of a cushion. After a Nick Johnson groundout and a walk to Soriano, Braden Looper took over for Fox but didn't have any better luck. Looper plunked Jeter before getting David Dellucci to fly out, but Williams turned the Yankees' slight cushion into an imsurmountable lead by drilling a three-run homer over the center-field fence. Williams set a pair of records with the dinger. He became the all-time postseason home run and RBI leader with 19 and 65, respectively. While appreciated, the runs weren't really needed because ALCS MVP Mariano Rivera, who had come on in the eighth, notched another two-inning postseason save to give New York a 2-1 series lead.
Todd Lorenz is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.