Over his four-plus years with the Florida Marlins, Cody Ross hit 80 home runs as a member of the franchise. Somehow, however, all his shots seemed to be memorable or significant.
That was certainly the case on this day 15 years ago. Ross’ walk-off homer capped a three-run inning, lifting the Marlins to an 8-7 comeback win over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Marlins had led for a good portion of the contest at Dolphin Stadium on June 7, 2008. Florida had a 4-0 lead through five innings before the Reds tied things up with four unearned runs in the sixth inning. The Marlins went back in front on Ross’ RBI single in the seventh, but a solo home run by Adam Dunn and RBI singles from Jerry Hairston and Jay Bruce gave Cincinnati a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning.
That score remained as the Reds turned to Francisco Cordero to work the bottom of the ninth. Cordero was one out from victory as Ross came to the plate.
Jorge Cantu doubled to open the frame. After a groundout and a walk to Dan Uggla, Luis Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly cut the lead to 7-6, but it also accounted for the second out.
With one on and two out, Cordero got ahead of Ross with a first-pitch strike. His second pitch was left too high in the strike zone.
Ross was to take a letter-high fastball to the right-centerfield gap. It cleared the wall with room to spare for a walk-off two-run home run. The victory evened the three-game series and served as the Marlins’ fifth walk-off win of the season.
Florida opened the scoring in the second with an RBI double from Gonzalez and an RBI single from starting pitcher Scott Olsen. Gonzalez extended the lead to 3-0 with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth off Bronson Arroyo. Cantu came through with a solo shot of his own in the fifth.
Ross and Gonzalez each finished with three RBIs in the win. Cantu recorded three hits for Florida. Burke Badenhop worked a scoreless ninth to earn the victory for the Marlins.
Over 12 total years in Major League Baseball, Ross would hit 132 career home runs, including three walk-off homers. Two came as a member of the Florida Marlins. The first came against one of his former teams on this day 15 years ago.
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