It’s not uncommon for a big inning to decide a baseball game. When that big inning comes in extras, it’s almost a death sentence for the opposing team.
On this day 25 years ago, the Florida Marlins pushed across a then-franchise record six runs in an extra inning. Thanks to a mighty rally in the 12th, they ran away from the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, 9-3.
The Marlins appeared to be in good shape in the late innings on Sept. 10, 1996. An RBI double by Jeff Conine and an RBI fielder’s choice from Alex Arías broke a 1-1 tie and gave Florida a two-run lead heading to the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately for the Marlins, that would be short-lived.
After a solo home run by New York’s Alex Ochoa cut the lead in half in the eighth, a costly error in center field by Florida’s Devon White in the bottom of the ninth on a Matt Franco single allowed Lance Johnson to score the tying run. Marlins’ closer Robb Nen was able to get the game to extras.
The Marlins were unable to score in the 10th or 11th innings, but Jay Powell worked perfect bottom halves in each. In the top of the 12th, the offense rose.
With Doug Henry in to pitch for the Mets, the Marlins went ahead for good on the first pitch of the inning as Edgar Rentería’s home run to left gave Florida a 4-3 lead. Following a walk, single and flyout, Jerry Brooks came through with a two-run triple to push the advantage to three, but the Marlins weren’t done.
Arías followed the triple with an RBI double to chase Henry and advanced to third with a groundout from Charles Johnson. After a walk to Jesús Tavarez and a stolen base, Kurt Abbott capped the scoring with a two-run single. Felix Heredia worked a scoreless 12th to seal the 9-3 win for the Marlins.
Prior to the eighth, all the offense had come early in the contest. In the first inning, a Conine sacrifice fly scored Rentería, who finished with four hits, to give Florida a 1-0 lead. The Mets drew even in the bottom of the second on Tim Bogar’s RBI groundout.
The six runs in extra innings would serve as a club record for nearly six years before the Marlins pushed across seven in a win over the Kansas City Royals in June 2002. It happened at Shea Stadium on this day a quarter-century ago.