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25-year Marliniversary: Fish break scoreless tie with 5 runs in 10th to top Padres

Revisiting Marlins history from April 9, 1996.

Gary Sheffield

The 1996 Major League Baseball season was just nine days old and the Florida Marlins had already gone to extra innings in a scoreless game twice. Both of those contests resulted in wins.

The second of those came on this day 25 years ago. The Marlins ultimately broke through with five runs in the 10th to top the San Diego Padres, 5-2.

For nine innings on April 9, 1996, Florida’s Al Leiter and a trio of San Diego hurlers traded zeroes. Leiter allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out eight. In the top of the 10th inning, however, the Marlins broke through off reliever Willie Blair with the help of some miscues.

Blair had allowed a hit during a scoreless ninth, but catcher Charles Johnson worked an eight-pitch walk to start the 10th for the Marlins. With a runner on base, Kurt Abbott bunted for Florida, but San Diego catcher Brad Ausmus’ throwing error put two on. San Diego seemed to have caught a break when Jesús Tavarez struck out attempting to bunt, but that was the last out Blair would record.

Following a walk to Quilvio Veras to load the bases, Devon White broke the 0-0 tie with a two-run single. Former San Diego star Gary Sheffield was intentionally walked to load the bases and Blair’s night was done as the Padres went to Bryce Florie.

With the bases now loaded, Florie struggled to find the strike zone as he walked Jeff Conine on five pitches to score the third Florida run. Florie was able to strike out Terry Pendleton looking, but the Marlins added two more runs on an RBI single by Greg Colbrunn that was booted by former Gold Glove winner Rickey Henderson.

Down 5-0, the Padres attempted to make things interesting in the bottom of the 10th. Against Robb Nen, San Diego scored two-out runs on back-to-back doubles by Jody Reed and Scott Livingstone. A four-pitch walk to Henderson brought the tying run to the plate, but Nen was able to get Steve Finley out to end the contest.

The five runs in the 10th was enough to earn Leiter the win. Fernando Valenzuela allowed just three hits and three walks in 5 13 innings for San Diego before relief efforts from Scott Sanders and Blair kept the Marlins scoreless.

With the win, the Marlins improved to 3-5 on the young season with two wins coming in contests where no runs were scored in regulation. The second of those came on this day a quarter-century ago.