Mention the words Edgar Rentería and walk-off together and there is one image that comes to mind for baseball fans in South Florida.
Renteria’s first walk-off hit, however, came on this day 25 years ago. Renteria came through with a walk-off single to lead the Florida Marlins past the Cincinnati Reds, 6-5.
The Marlins had rallied from a three-run deficit as the contest headed to the bottom of the ninth at Joe Robbie Stadium on Aug. 25, 1996.
Joe Orsulak singled off Cincinnati closer Lee Smith to start the inning, but catcher Rob Natal followed by hitting into a double play.
Florida responded with a ground-rule double from Jesús Tavarez and a walk to Luis Castillo. With two on and two out, Renteria came to the plate.
After taking the first pitch for a ball, Renteria pulled Smith’s offering through the left side of the infield. Tavarez scored standing up to give the Marlins the walk-off victory.
The Marlins plated two runs in the first as Luis Castillo scored on a wild pitch before Devon White came through with an RBI single. Cincinnati took its first lead in the third on a grand slam by Willie Greene off Florida starter Kurt Miller. The Reds added a run in the fifth on Bret Boone’s RBI single.
Down 5-2, the Marlins opened the sixth inning with back-to-back home runs from Greg Colbrunn and Jeff Conine off Cincinnati starter Mike Remlinger. Rentería scored the tying run on a Hector Carrasco wild pitch in the eighth.
In three years with the Marlins, Rentería came through with some pretty big walk-off hits with the most memorable securing victory in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. The very first one came on this day a quarter-century ago.