Bobby Bonilla spent a little more than one full season as a member of the Florida Marlins. Bonilla famously hit the last home run of the 1997 season—a solo blast to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 7 of the World Series.
Bonilla’s first home run of the 1998 season served as a game-winner for the Marlins. On this day 25 years ago, his 10th-inning blast lifted Florida to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies.
After a dismal 1-11 start, the Marlins arrived at Coors Field on April 27, 1998, as winners in seven of their previous 12 games. Known as a hitters’ park, pitching dominated until the latter parts of the contest.
Florida trailed 2-1 through seven before Bonilla’s RBI single tied the game in the eighth. Dante Bichette answered with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning to put Colorado back in front. In the ninth, both teams were down to their last out but came through with clutch hits.
In the top of the ninth, the Marlins took their first lead on Mark Kotsay’s clutch two-out, two-run single off Jerry Dipoto. In the bottom of the frame, pinch hitter John Vander Wal singled off Jay Powell to tie the game 4-4 and force extra innings.
To start the 10th, the Rockies turned to Curt Leskanic. Leading off was Bonilla.
The year prior, Bonilla had come through with a walk-off grand slam against Colorado on a 3-2 pitch at Pro Player Stadium. With the scene shifted to Colorado, Bonilla came up big again as he lifted Leskanic’s payoff pitch over the right-field wall for the no-doubt go-ahead blast.
Leskanic was able to work around two walks to avoid further damage but that proved to be too little, too late. Antonio Alfonseca worked a perfect 10th to pick up his first career save. World Series heroes from the year prior, Bonilla and Craig Counsell would each finish with three hits in the victory.
Bonilla would homer 21 times in 181 games as a member of the Marlins. His final homer on the road as a member of the club was a game-winning blast in the 10th inning at Coors Field. It came on this day a quarter-century ago.