The Florida Marlins’ first trip to the postseason featured several high-intensity moments and critical innings. On this day 25 years ago, that inning proved to be the sixth.
The Marlins pushed across four runs in the frame to go in front for good in a 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. That ultimately gave Florida a 2-1 series lead.
The Braves had just regained the lead on a sacrifice fly by catcher Javier Lopez as Florida came to bat in the bottom of the sixth at Pro Player Stadium on Oct. 10, 1997. Facing a former Cy Young winner in John Smoltz, a Gary Sheffield solo home run in the fourth had accounted for all the Florida offense as the Marlins trailed 2-1.
A one-out double by Edgar Renteria and a walk to Sheffield put two on for the Marlins. After Bobby Bonilla flied out, it was up to Darren Daulton to draw Florida even.
A midseason acquisition, Daulton was playing in the postseason for just the second time. As a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993, Daulton had a two-run double early on in Game 6 of the NLCS that ultimately put Philadelphia ahead for good in a series-clinching win over Atlanta. On a 2-0 pitch from Smoltz, Daulton was again a thorn as he hammer the game-tying double to right field.
With the contest even and two runners in scoring position, Devon White was walked to load the bases. Catcher Charles Johnson unloaded them on the sixth pitch of the ensuing at-bat with a three-run double to give the Marlins a 5-2 lead.
Livan Hernandez, Dennis Cook and Robb Nen combined to allow just one hit over the next three innings. Hernandez earned the win while Nen picked up the save. At the plate, Sheffield had two of the eight hits and scored two of the five runs for the Marlins.
The Marlins went on to win the NLCS in six games before ultimately beating the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win the World Series. It was a former Philadelphia catcher and a Gold Glove winning Florida catcher who provided the big hits in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the NLCS. They did so on this day a quarter-century ago.