The Miami Marlins haven’t had a winning season since they were the Florida Marlins in 2009. That season, the Fish finished 85-77 with 11 of those victories coming in walk-off fashion, including one on this day a decade ago.
It was the rubber game of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 2, 2009 at Land Shark Stadium as the Marlins came to the plate down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Cubs had won 9-8 in 10 innings the night before and had just grabbed the lead in the top half of the inning on a solo home run by Jake Fox. In to close the game for the Cubs was a familiar face to Marlins hitters in right-hander Kevin Gregg. Gregg had saved 29 games for Florida the year prior and had an active streak of 10 straight opportunities converted. He got off to a nice start late on that early August afternoon by getting eventual National League batting champion Hanley Ramirez to pop up to third base.
Fortunately for the Marlin bats, that would be the final out of the game and the final at-bat that didn’t result in a home run. With one out, Gregg fell behind 3-1 in the count to Florida second baseman Dan Uggla and on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Uggla blasted a slider into the left-field stands to even the game, 2-2.
Up next for Florida was outfielder Cody Ross. Ross had homered in his previous at-bat to knot the contest at a run apiece in the bottom of the seventh inning. On the first pitch Ross saw from Gregg in the ninth—a fastball —Ross followed Uggla’s blast with one of his own to give the Marlins a thrilling 3-2 walk-off victory.
Uggla and Ross going yard on consecutive pitches marked the first time a team had walked off with back-to-back homers since the Cincinnati Reds did so in the 2005 season opener against the New York Mets.
Brendan Donnelly wound up picking up the win for the Marlins despite allowing the go-ahead home run in the top of the inning.
Both starting pitchers had solid afternoons, but did not factor in the decision. Ricky Nolaso allowed just a run and struck out eight in seven innings of work for the Marlins. Ryan Dempster, the Chicago starter and former Marlins All-Star, yielded just three hits in six shutout innings. Ross and Chris Coghlan each had two of the seven hits for the Marlins. Ryan Theriot had three of the Cubs’ six hits.
The Marlins went just 3-4 against the Cubs in 2009, but all three victories came in their final at-bat. The last and most memorable of those came on this day one decade ago.