Unlike some other sports, baseball’s version of “overtime” isn’t sudden death. Still, the team that scores first in extra innings wins the game more often than not.
That wasn’t the case on this day 15 years ago for the Florida Marlins. Down to their last out, the Marlins pushed across two runs in the bottom of the 13th inning to stun the Atlanta Braves, 6-5, on the evening of June 29, 2005.
The Marlins trailed 4-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth, but plated two runs against Atlanta closer Chris Reitsma. After Damion Easley lined out, the Marlins pieced together four straight singles. Miguel Cabrera’s RBI infield single to score Juan Pierre was followed by Carlos Delgado’s RBI single to score Luis Castillo and even the contest. Reitsma would get out of the inning with no further damage, but Florida had new life.
Despite the blown save, things looked promising for Atlanta after Andruw Jones’ solo home run to lead off the 13th inning put the Braves back in front, 5-4. Marlins reliever John Riedling allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases before striking out pitcher Jorge Vasquez to avoid any further damage.
Vasquez was in line to be the winning pitcher, but was pulled after giving up a single to Castillo to open the bottom of the 13th. Adam Bernero was called on to try to save the contest for the Braves. Cabrera singled to put the winning run on base, but Bernero settled in to get Delgado and pinch hitter Matt Treanor to fly out to left.
With two outs and two on, it was up to Paul Lo Duca. As Delgado had in the ninth, Lo Duca came through in the clutch. On a 3-2 pitch, Lo Duca rolled a ground ball up the middle and into center field for the tying RBI single.
With still two on and two out, Juan Encarnación took the first Bernero pitch to right field for a line-drive single. Right fielder Ryan Langerhans was unable to throw Cabrera out at the plate as Florida celebrated a walk-off victory.
Despite allowing the go-ahead homer in the 13th, Riedling earned the win for the Marlins. Offensively, Florida pounded out 17 hits. Castillo tallied four knocks while Cabrera, Lo Duca and Encarnacion all had three hits. The teams combined to leave 28 men on base.
The four-hour and 43-minute contest would serve as the longest game that the Marlins played all season in 2005. The fact that they emerged victorious made it all worth it. It happened on this day 15 years ago.