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25-year Marliniversary: Marlins hit two homers in ninth to tie before beating Astros in 13

A Marlins memory from this day in 1997.

Kurt Abbott #7 of the Florida Marlins runs to first base during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on August 1, 1994 at Wrigley Field Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

For the 1997 Florida Marlins, there was no shortage of memorable moments. That included the ones that took place on this day 25 years ago.

In the longest game that the Marlins played that season, it took two home runs in the ninth inning and an RBI single in the 13th inning to prevail. Those culminated in a thrilling 9-8 comeback victory over the Houston Astros.

The Marlins were on the short end of an 8-6 score as the contest shifted to the ninth inning on May 3, 1997. John Hudek came on to pitch for Houston. The Astros’ lead was blown after just 11 pitches.

On the first pitch of the inning, Gregg Zaun lined one over the right-field wall to cut the two-run lead in half. After Hudek forced Edgar Rentería to fly out, Kurt Abbott hammered a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field to knot the contest at 8-8.

After a four-pitch walk to Gary Sheffield, Hudek’s night was done. For the next three and a half innings, the bullpens traded zeroes.

Houston’s Billy Wagner and Tom Martin and Florida’s Robb Nen and Dennis Cook all did their jobs as the contest shifted to the 12th inning. Against lefty Felix Heredia, the Astros were on the verge of victory in the bottom of the frame.

Singles by Brad Ausmus and Tim Bogar put runners on the corners with one out, but Heredia was able to get Ray Montgomery to pop out before striking out Craig Biggio on a 3-2 pitch. In the 13th, it was a two-out rally that would put the Marlins ahead for good.

After Houston’s Ramon García retired Zaun and Rentería, Abbott and Sheffield collected back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. García was able to get ahead in the count to Moises Alou 0-2, but Alou was able to single off a diving Sean Berry for an RBI infield single.

Down 9-8 in the bottom of the 13th, the Astros refused to go quietly. A lead-off double by James Mouton chased Heredia, but Jay Powell was there to slam the door for the Marlins.

Following a sacrifice fly by Jeff Bagwell, Powell intentionally walked Derek Bell to put runners on the corners with one out. On a 1-1 pitch, Powell got Berry to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Before the 13th, the Astros never trailed. From the bottom of the first through the second, the teams traded three-spots. Ultimately, Houston led 6-3 after two innings.

Florida drew even in the top of the fourth with RBI hits from Jim Eisenreich and John Cangelosi and a sacrifice fly from Rentería. Houston regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Biggio. A sacrifice bunt laid down by Tim Bogar in the sixth pushed the lead to two and capped the scoring for the Astros.

Despite the loss, Houston finished with 17 hits. Biggio, Mouton and Bogar each had three hits while Bagwell, Berry and Ausmus each had two. It’s only one off the all-time record for most hits by a Marlins opponent in a losing effort (via Stathead).

Abbott, Sheffield and Alou all had two hits for the Marlins.

Houston would win the National League Central while Florida went on to win the World Series in 1997. The Marlins never played more innings that season than they did in a thrilling 9-8 win on this day a quarter-century ago.