10/25/2003 9:50 PM ET
Slump no more: Castillo gets big hit
Second baseman drives in game-winning run
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By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
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NEW YORK -- With Marlins right-hander Josh Beckett and Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte locked in a classic pitchers' duel in Game 6 of the World Series, something had to give.
And something did: Luis Castillo's postseason slump.
After falling behind 0-2 to Pettitte with two outs in the top of the fifth and runners at first and second, Castillo -- 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the postseason to that point -- drilled an opposite-field single into right to give Beckett the only run he would need in a 2-0 victory that clinched Florida's second World Series title in seven years.
Castillo entered the game batting .143 with no RBIs in the World Series and 0-for-12 against left-handed pitching, but he said he never lost confidence in his ability to produce.
"Baseball is highs and lows," he explained from under a champagne shower in the Marlins clubhouse. "I was pretty low at times in this Series, but every game, every at-bat is another chance.
"And look at me now. This is the highest of highs for me."
He wasn't the only hero on the play, though. It took a brilliant slide by Alex Gonzalez, who started the rally with a two-out single up the middle.
Juan Pierre followed Gonzalez's single with another, and when Yankees right fielder Karim Garcia delivered a strike to catcher Jorge Posada after scooping up Castillo's single, Gonzalez looked dead at home.
But Posada was a touch up the first-base line when receiving the throw, and with a slide wide to the right, Gonzalez eluded a sweeping tag and reached over it for a sweeping tag of his own across the plate.
"If he blocks the plate, I'm probably out," Gonzalez admitted. "But he left it open, and it gave me an opportunity to do something. It was a good slide for sure."
Ivan Rodriguez, who was on deck and had the best view of the slide, couldn't have agreed more.
"I thought he was going to be out," Rodriguez said, "but as I was yelling, 'Get down, get down,' I could see that [Posada] was off the plate a little, and Alex made an incredible play to get his hand over the tag. It was so smart, and that's the kind of player Alex is."
Castillo said he expected to have an RBI as soon as he hit the ball, and when he saw how difficult it turned out to be, his thoughts turned from self-satisfaction to appreciation.
"I didn't think it would be that close," Castillo said, "and when I did, I was like, 'Wow, man.' What he did was as good as what I did. That was impressive."
Mychael Urban is a
national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major
League Baseball or its clubs.