As many recall, the Florida Marlins’ 1997 season ended in walk-off fashion. Edgar Renteria’s single in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the World Series pushed the Marlins past the Cleveland Indians for their first title.
That postseason, however, also began with a pair of walk-off victories for Florida. The second came on this day 25 years ago. Moises Alou’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth pushed Florida past the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, 7-6.
The Marlins were looking to take a commanding 2-0 series lead as they arrived at Pro Player Stadium on Oct. 1, 1997. Florida had rallied the day before to win 2-1 on Renteria’s walk-off single. Game 2 would feature much more offense.
Things looked good for the Marlins as the contest shifted to the top of the ninth. Florida turned to closer Robb Nen with a 6-5 lead, but two errors in the inning would allow San Francisco to draw even.
Darryl Hamilton, who reached on an error to open the inning, scored the tying run after a throwing error on Florida second baseman Craig Counsell as he tried to turn the game-ending double play. Nen would get out of the frame without further damage, but the Giants had new life.
As was the case the day before, the Marlins won the game in the bottom of the ninth and with San Francisco closer Roberto Hernandez on the mound. Facing Hernandez, Gary Sheffield singled to start the bottom of the inning. Sheffield proceeded to steal second and Bobby Bonilla walked to set the stage for Alou.
On a 1-1 pitch, Alou stayed back and lined Hernandez’s pitch up the middle. With Sheffield rounding third, Dante Powell came up throwing from centerfield. His throw hit the mound and Sheffield scored easily to give the Marlins a commanding 2-0 series lead.
After combining for just three runs in the Game 1, that’s what the teams accounted for in the first inning of Game 2. Mark Lewis singled home the first run for San Francisco, but Bonilla answered for Florida with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning to put Florida on top.
The Giants scored a run in each of the first four innings, which included on a solo blast from Brian Johnson in the second. After four, however, Florida led 5-4.
Following a sacrifice fly from Barry Bonds in the top of the third to put San Francisco up 3-2, Bonilla singled home the tying run in the bottom of the inning. Stan Javier put the Giants back in front with an RBI single in the fourth before Alex Arias tied it with a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the frame. Florida regained the lead when Kurt Abbott grounded into a double play with the bases loaded.
Sheffield’s solo home run in the sixth extended the lead to two before Bonds’ RBI double in the top of the seventh cut the deficit back to one. Javier finished with four hits to lead the Giants while Lewis added three knocks. Sheffield and Bonilla each had three hits for the Marlins.
The Marlins would go on to sweep the best-of-five series back in San Francisco en route to a world championship. Their final walk-off win of that postseason before Game 7 of the World Series came on this day a quarter-century ago.