Although the Florida Marlins finished 5.5 games out in the National League Wild Card race, the 2008 season was one to remember. That year, the Marlins proved they were never out of game and were among the league’s leaders with 11 walk-off wins.
On this day 15 years ago, however, the Marlins started their comeback a little bit early. Florida scored five runs in the eighth to rally past the New York Mets, 7-3.
An RBI groundout from New York infielder Fernando Tatís had just broken a 2-2 tie as the Marlins came to bat in the bottom of the eighth at Dolphin Stadium on July 28, 2008. As the Mets turned to right-hander Joe Smith, the Marlins turned into an offensive juggernaut.
Smith faced just two hitters but left with a blown save and ultimately, the loss. After Josh Willingham doubled to open the inning, Dan Uggla singled him home to tie the game at 3. Scott Schoeneweis tried to quiet the Florida bats but did not fare much better.
Against Schoeneweis, the Marlins put together three more hits in a row. Following a single from Wes Helms that put runners on the corners, Cody Ross’ RBI single put the Marlins ahead for good, 4-3. A bunt single from catcher John Baker then loaded the bases.
Despite five straight hits, Schoeneweis had a chance to get out of the jam with just a one-run deficit after getting Alfredo Amezaga to line out and Hanley Ramírez to strike out. Ahead in the count to Robert Andino, Schoeneweis then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Helms to score. On the very next pitch, Andino doubled to center, pushing home two more runs to double the lead to 7-3.
It was the Mets who got the scoring started with two runs in the second on an RBI triple from Tatis and an RBI single from Damion Easley. Baker’s solo home run off John Maine to lead off the bottom of the fifth got the Marlins on the scoreboard. Florida tied the game on an RBI single from Ross the following inning.
As the trade deadline approached, the victory served as a big one for the Marlins, who moved to within a game of the Mets in the National League East. The victory came courtesy of a big eighth inning and on this day 15 years ago.
Photo by Joe Rimkus Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Mike Ferguson is a contributor for Fish on First, who covers Miami Marlins history. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson