After a dismal June during the 2011 season, the Florida Marlins had found some momentum late during the first week of July. On this day 10 years ago, they used a huge ninth inning to keep that momentum going.
For eight innings at Wrigley Field on July 14, 2011, the Marlins had no answer for the Chicago Cubs’ pitching staff. When the contest ended, the Marlins were on the right side of a 6-3 final score.
Behind seven shutout innings from Chicago starter Matt Garza and a perfect eighth from Sean Marshall, the Cubs went to the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead. The Cubs turned to closer Carlos Marmol, who had allowed an earned run just once in his previous 14 appearances.
When he left that night at Wrigley Field, he had given up five without recording an out. Marmol did so despite allowing just one hit.
Through 13 pitches, Marmol had issued three walks and thrown just one strike. With the bases loaded and nobody out, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs came to the plate.
After an eight-pitch at-bat, Dobbs prevailed in the matchup. On a 2-2 pitch, Dobbs laced a double down the right field line. After two runs scored, a throwing error by second baseman Darwin Barney on the relay allowed a third to score as the Marlins took their first lead of the night, 3-2.
Marmol’s night was done, but the Marlins weren’t.
After Kerry Wood walked Florida’s Omar Infante to load the bases, Gaby Sanchez doubled the lead with a sacrifice fly. Hanley Ramírez followed with an RBI single to make it 5-2. After a groundout and intentional walk, Mike Cameron capped the scoring for Florida with an RBI single.
Down 6-2, the Cubs started the bottom of the ninth against Juan Carlos Oviedo—then known as Leo Nunez—with back-to-back singles. After Tony Campana scored on a wild pitch, Oviedo settled in to retire the next three batters, including the final two on strikeouts.
Prior to the ninth, a solo home run by Marlon Byrd in the second inning and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch in the seventh accounted for all the scoring.
The six-run ninth would give Florida its sixth straight win. That would be the longest winning streak of the season for the Marlins in 2011. It was capped with a big ninth inning that came on this day a decade ago.