One of baseball’s youngest teams, the Florida Marlins were learning how to win in the mid-2000s. The Marlins possessed a promising young core and rarely went down without a fight.
In the rubber game of a three-game set that took place on this day 15 years ago, the Marlins got their second walk-off win of the series. They did so with their first walk-off home run of the season—a three-run blast from Josh Willingham—to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-0.
For eight and a half innings at Dolphin Stadium on May 10, 2007, neither team was able to crack the scoreboard. Against starter Derek Lowe, that finally changed.
Lowe had worked a perfect eighth for the Dodgers on just 10 pitches. To start the bottom of the ninth, he issued a walk to Hanley Ramirez.
With the winning run on base, Dan Uggla hit a weak grounder to third base, but Wilson Betemit was unable to make the play and two were on. Lowe was able to get Miguel Cabrera to ground out to first for the first out, but with two runners in scoring position, the Dodgers had a decision to make.
Rather than load the bases and create a force-out at the plate, Los Angeles decided to move the infield in and pitch to Willingham. On the first pitch he saw from Lowe, Willingham ended the contest with a blast that easily cleared the wall in left field.
The blast served as the Marlins’ only hit of the inning and just the fifth of the game. Juan Pierre, a 2003 World Series hero with the Marlins, recorded two of the three hits for the Dodgers.
To counter Lowe, Sergio Mitre worked eight shutout innings for Florida. Taylor Tankersley picked up the win after throwing a scoreless ninth. Despite being stellar for eight innings, Lowe took the loss.
In more than a decade in Major League Baseball, Willingham would hit 195 home runs, including five walk-off shots. Three came as a member of the Florida Marlins, and the only one of those to break a scoreless tie came on this day 15 years ago.