Rallying from five runs down to win in Major League Baseball is rare, but far from unprecedented. Rallying from five down and winning by 10? Now, that’s hard to do.
On this day 25 years ago however, the Florida Marlins did just that. The Marlins set a then club record with 24 hits in a 15-5 victory over the Houston Astros at Joe Robbie Stadium on July 15, 1996.
Early on, it looked like it might be a long afternoon for the Marlins as Houston tagged Florida starting pitcher Pat Rapp in each of the first three innings. With the help of a two-run double from Sean Berry and a home run from Orlando Miller, the Astros led 5-0 entering the bottom of the third.
Houston, however, never scored again. The Marlins didn’t stop scoring.
Florida got back in the game in the bottom of the third with four runs. Joe Orsulak capped the big inning with a two-run single to make it 5-4. In the fourth, an RBI groundout from Gary Sheffield drew the Marlins even.
They were just getting started.
In the fifth inning, pinch hitter Alex Arias came through with an RBI single to score Terry Pendleton and give the Marlins their first lead. A throwing error from Houston right fielder Derek Bell allowed Florida’s Charles Johnson to score a second run as the Marlins’ lead grew to 7-5 after five innings.
The Marlins would score three runs in each of the next two frames. In the sixth, RBI singles from Devon White and Johnson bookended an RBI single from Pendleton. An inning later, Pendleton came through with an RBI single after Edgar Rentería hit a two-run home run earlier in the frame.
In the bottom of the eight, the Marlins capped the scoring with two more runs. Jesús Tavarez and White each had RBI singles in the inning.
When all was said and done, seven different Marlins had multi-hit games. Sheffield and Pendleton each had four hits in the victory. At the top of the order, Quilvio Veras and Rentería each had three hits and three runs. White drove in a game-high three runs. On the mound, Donn Pall worked two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.
The club record 24 hits would last for seven years before the Marlins pounded out 25 hits in a 20-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on July 1, 2003. The victory over Houston, however, serves as the only time in franchise history that the Marlins won by at least 10 runs after trailing by at least five. It came on this day a quarter-century ago.