Two of Major League Baseball’s newest franchises, the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays have met more than 130 times. The Rays have had the upper hand in the all-time series, but the biggest comeback in the instate rivalry belongs to the Marlins.
That comeback came on this day 15 years ago as the then Florida Marlins erased a six-run deficit with 12 unanswered runs to stun the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Dolphin Stadium, 14-8.
The Marlins were on the short end of an 8-2 score as the contest hit the midway point on June 8, 2007. They would score 12 runs over the next three innings to turn the six-run hole into a six-run lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jeremy Hermida’s grand slam drew Florida to within two at 8-6. In the sixth, the Marlins scored three times to go ahead for good – all with two outs.
After Hanley Ramirez’s RBI single cut the lead to one, Miguel Cabrera drove him home with the game-tying double. Three straights walks, including a bases-loaded pass to Aaron Boone, put the Marlins in front for the first time, 9-8.
The Devil Rays loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but Taylor Tankersley was able to get Carlos Pena to line out to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, the inability to throw strikes again haunted the Tampa Bay pitching staff.
After the Devil Rays walked the bases loaded, a Cabrera single doubled the Florida lead to 10-8. Josh Willingham followed with a bases-clearing triple. Following a walk to Hermida and Boone being hit by a pitch, the bases were full of Marlins again. Matt Treanor struck out, but Alfredo Amezaga came through with an RBI infield single to cap the scoring.
Armando Benitez threw two perfect innings of relief to thwart any hopes that Tampa Bay may have had of a comeback. Justin Miller worked a scoreless sixth to pick up the win.
From the fifth inning on, the Devil Rays managed just one hit. Half of Tampa Bay’s runs came in the first inning. Delmon Young had a two-run single in the frame while Ty Wigginton and Brendan Harris each added RBI doubles.
After Dan Uggla’s two-run single put the Marlins on the board in the bottom of the second, Tampa Bay answered with three runs in the top of the third with Harris coming up with a two-run single. A lead-off home run by Wigginton to start the fourth completed the scoring for the Devils Rays.
Ramirez finished with four hits and three runs scored in the victory. In addition to the three-run triple, Willingham added three hits and two runs scored. Cabrera also scored twice. Wigginton and Young each had three hits for Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay would win the next two games to take the three-game set, but the Marlins won the season series, 4-2. It wouldn’t have been the case without the biggest comeback in the history of the rivalry. That took place on this day 15 years ago.