New Hero For The Marlins
Gonzalez Hit A Walkoff Homerun In The 12th Inning
Gonzalez Hit A Walkoff Homerun In The 12th Inning

Posted Oct 23, 2003


Nobody saw that coming, did they? The Yankees rallied in the ninth inning against Florida closer Ugueth Urbina to tie the game and force extra innings. The two bullpens matched zeros in the tenth and eleventh, but Alex Gonzalez’ homerun just inside the foul pole in left field off of Jeff Weaver in the twelfth gave the Marlins a 4-3 win. The shot left the Yankees stunned and the World Series tied at two games apiece.

Weaver came out of the pen in the eleventh, making his first appearance of the postseason, and retired the side in order. He wasn’t so lucky in the next inning as Gonzalez fouled off two 3-2 pitches before sending one over the wall in right field.

The Yankees squandered their best opportunity to take the lead when they loaded the bases with just one out against Chad Fox. Braden Looper relieved Fox and struck out Aaron Boone for the second out and got John Flaherty to pop out to third base to end the threat.

New York was only in it because of Florida’s closer. Starter Carl Pavano kept the Bombers out of the game for most of it, allowing just a run in the second on a sacrifice fly. But once he was out of the game, all bets were off.

Urbina started the ninth, with a 3-1 lead, by getting Jason Giambi to fly out. Bernie Williams then singled to right center – part of a 4/6 performance for the centerfielder – and then moved to second on Hideki Matsui’s walk. Jorge Posada hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners with two outs for pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra.

Sierra fouled off two outside, full-count fastballs before drilling one that was left out over the plate into the right-field corner. Both Williams and pinch runner David Dellucci scored to tie the game.

Florida scored all three of their runs in the first inning off of Roger Clemens, whose final major-league start was overshadowed by the extra-inning excitement. Clemens lost his edge after retiring the first two Marlins and allowed a two-run homerun to Miguel Cabrera to give the home team a 2-0 lead. The Rocket then served up three straight singles to bring another run home before getting Gonzalez to fly out to right field.

Clemens settled down from there and held the Marlins scoreless for the rest of his time pitching. The 20-year veteran, who is retiring after this season, even notched his first postseason hit leading off the fifth in the form of a little flare over the shortstop’s head.

The Rocket went out in style by striking out Luis Castillo to end his evening and, in all probability, his career. The right-hander allowed three runs on eight hits through seven innings of work. He struck out five batters but couldn’t get the Yankees that all-important win.

Pavano wasn’t amazing, but he got the job done. Despite allowing seven hits – including five just in the second and third innings – he allowed just one run over eight innings and struck out four batters. Looper (2-0) was credited with the victory by pitching 1 2/3 innings of one-hit ball.

Weaver (0-1) took the loss for the Yankees despite pitching reasonably well. He only thre 16 pitches, but 11 were strikes. Jose Contreras was brilliant out of the bullpen, striking out four batters in just two innings of work. He worked around a leadoff walk to Juan Pierre in the tenth by striking out Ivan Rodriguez and Cabrera to end the inning with Pierre stranded at second.

Meanwhile, the Marlins have a new hero to celebrate as they prepare for game five – which will be on Thursday at 8:24 pm. The game will feature a rematch of the game-one pitchers. David Wells (2-2, 2.76) will start for the Yankees against Florida’s Brad Penny (3-1, 6.64).

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