Moises Alou spent just one season as a member of the Florida Marlins, but he made the most of it. One of the club’s postseason heroes, Alou led the Marlins with 23 home runs and 115 RBIs in 1997 while batting .292.
His first walk-off base hit as a member of the club came on this day 25 years ago. His two-run single in the ninth inning rallied the Marlins past the Houston Astros, 6-5.
Florida trailed 5-4 as it came to bat in the bottom of the ninth at Pro Player Stadium on Aug. 5, 1997. The task for the Marlins was tall as Houston closer and hard-throwing lefty Billy Wagner came to the mound to try to close it out.
Wagner entered the contest with an ERA below two, but fell into immediate trouble. After walking Edgar Rentería on a 3-2 pitch, Wagner allowed a single to Gary Sheffield to put two on. Bobby Bonilla flied out to shallow center, but Wagner followed that with a walk to Jeff Conine.
With the bases loaded and one out, Alou stepped to the plate needing only a flyball to tie the game. With a 1-2 count, Wagner hung a breaking ball and Alou was able to line it to right for a hit. Derek Bell didn’t make a throw as Rentería and Sheffield came around to score and give Florida the walk-off win.
The scoring started in the second inning as each team put up two-spots. Tim Bogar’s two-run double for Houston was followed by back-to-back RBI singles from Jim Eisenreich and Renteria in the bottom of the frame.
Florida took its first lead in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run from Charles Johnson. On a 4-for-5 night with three runs scored, Ricky Gutierrez led off the top of the fourth with a solo home run. Houston drew even on an RBI single from Tim Bogar in the fifth before going ahead on an RBI groundout from Craig Biggio in the eighth.
Throughout his lone season with the Marlins, Alou came up with numerous big hits, including a walk-off single in the National League Division Series and three home runs in the World Series. The following offseason, Alou would actually be traded to Houston where he played four seasons and made two All-Star Game appearances. It was the Astros whose heart he broke with a walk-off hit on this day a quarter-century ago.