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25-year Marliniversary: Luis Castillo records first career hit, walk-off in win over Mets

Luis Castillo

It’s been more than 15 years since second baseman Luis Castillo appeared in a game for the Florida Marlins, but he still holds the club record for hits and by a fairly significant margin.

In nearly a decade in South Florida, Castillo tallied 1,273 hits in a Marlin uniform. The first of those came on this day 25 years ago. So did the second and that one served as the walk-off winner in a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets.

After going 0-for-3 the day prior, Castillo was appearing in just his second big-league game on Aug. 9, 1996 at Joe Robbie Stadium. Castillo’s bunt was unsuccessful in his first at-bat that day, but his first career hit would come on a swinging bunt back to pitcher Robert Person in the fourth.

Person misfired on his late throw to first, which allowed Castillo to take second. After advancing to third on an Edgar Rentería single, Castillo came around to score the first run of the game and his career on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Conine.

The Mets drew even on a solo home run by Alvaro Espinoza off Mark Hutton to lead off the sixth. After grounding out in each of his next two at-bats, Castillo had the chance to be the hero in the 10th.

With the contest tied 1-1, pinch hitter Alex Arias walked to start the bottom of the 10th against Mets’ reliever Doug Henry. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Henry intentionally walked Joe Orsulak to get to Castillo.

At that point, Castillo had yet to hit a ball out of the infield. After falling behind in the count 1-2, he finally would.

Castillo was able to take Henry’s pitch back up the middle and into center field. Arias came around to score the winning run on what would serve as Castillo’s first career RBI.

In addition to the 1,273 hits for the Marlins, Castillo would twice lead the league in stolen bases. Castillo was a .293 hitter during his time with Florida and made three All-Star appearances and capped his Marlins’ career with three straight Gold Gloves. His first career hit and more importantly, his first career RBI, came on this day a quarter-century ago.