During his six seasons with the Florida Marlins, Derrek Lee had a flare for the dramatic hit and the dramatic home run.
One of those came 20 years ago when the Marlins and New York Mets opened a three-game series at Pro Player Stadium on July 3, 2000. Lee’s two-run walk-off shot broke a scoreless tie and lifted the Marlins to a 2-0 victory.
Starting pitchers Jesús Sánchez and Bobby J. Jones were each outstanding for their respective teams. Sánchez worked eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits and four walks while striking out four. Jones allowed four hits while striking out five in six shutout innings for the Mets.
In the bottom of the ninth, Florida was able to get to the Mets bullpen. With the contest scoreless, Turk Wendell was called upon to try to get the game to extra innings. Things started smoothly for Wendell, who got Preston Wilson swinging to begin the inning. With one out, Mike Lowell’s sharp single to left put the winning run on base.
That brought Lee to the plate.
On the third pitch from Wendell, Lee took a slider to the deepest part of the ballpark and over the center field wall for a two-run shot. It was the Marlins’ third walk-off home run of the season and the first hit by someone other than Cliff Floyd.
Lee had two of the six hits for the Marlins. Lefty Armando Almanza retired both batters he faced to earn the win for Florida. The Mets finished with just four hits, but left 10 men on base.
In a contest that saw 17 runs the next day, the Marlins clinched the series with a 9-8 victory. The Mets won the finale to avoid the sweep.
Over six seasons with the Marlins, Lee had a number of big hits, but only one walk-off home run. Lee finished with three walk-off homers for his career. The first of those happened on this day two decades ago.