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Marlins manage to upstage Rocket
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10/23/2003 12:48 AM ET 
Marlins manage to upstage Rocket
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Alex Gonzalez gave the Marlins a dramatic victory in the 12th inning. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
  • Own the Rocket's final start

    MIAMI -- This time, the game went to the bullpens and somehow the Marlins came out on top.

    When Alex Gonzalez lined a homer off Jeff Weaver just over the left-field fence to end a dramatic Game 4 of the World Series, the Marlins won a war of attrition that ironically only became a pitched battle of wills when their closer blew the save opportunity.

    After Ugueth Urbina gave up the lead in the ninth to send the game into extra innings, his relief cohorts Chad Fox and Braden Looper came through with huge, clutch performances to keep the Marlins afloat long enough for them to stage their one-swing rally.

    The Marlins were so close to the unenviable position of being down 3-1 to the Yankees in the World Series. Now they're all even and hosting Game 5 with yet another of their 2003 miracle moments still fresh in their minds.

    For most of the evening, this game was about Roger Clemens' final start, matched against a young and talented Marlins team. All due respect to the retiring elder statesman, but you had to chalk two up for the whippersnappers.

      Rocket's final ride
    When Roger Clemens took the mound in Game 4, it was his 26th start in the playoffs, seventh in the World Series and 632nd of his career. In the biggest stage in baseball, it most likely was his last.
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    Young stud Miguel Cabrera won a first-inning battle with a two-run homer and Carl Pavano won the matchup with eight brilliant innings. With those two battles won, the Marlins looked like they were going to send The Rocket off with a loss and send the World Series hanging in the balance.

    But then came Urbina vs. Ruben Sierra, a matchup that turned the tables on the Marlins and turned the momentum toward the Yankees.

    With Game 1 starters Brad Penny of Florida and David Wells of New York meeting up for a second time, it's anybody's Series at this point. And that's a good thing.

    It took a lot to upstage The Rocket leading up to his final bow, which included an emotional curtain call from the South Florida faithful.

    But Gonzalez and the resilient Marlins managed to do it in the end.

    John Schlegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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