Marlins, Blue Jays Play 17 Innings
Jun. 09, 1998
MIAMI (AP) _ There will be no pennant race for the Florida Marlins this year, so they'll settle for winning a marathon.
Solid relief pitching and an umpire's shaky call helped Florida end an 11-game losing streak in the franchise's longest game, a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays that lasted 17 innings.
Todd Dunwoody scored the winning run on Todd Zeile's single at 12:12 a.m. Tuesday, five hours and five minutes after the first of 478 pitches was thrown. By the finish, a crowd of 17,414 had dwindled to about 300.
It equaled the longest game in the majors this season and was the longest interleague game ever.
``We haven't been very good, so we gave them two for the price of one,'' Marlins manager Jim Leyland said.
The victory left Leyland in an unusually good mood for a guy who had gum surgery scheduled at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Florida's first victory since May 24 was the painkiller he needed.
The Marlins (18-44) remained 26 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East but managed to snap a losing streak that matched the longest in club history.
At the suggestion of second baseman Craig Counsell, the Marlins wore black socks for the first time, and they claimed the fashion switch changed their luck.
``I don't care if they go barefoot, as long as they win,'' Leyland said.
The Marlins got lucky and won in the 17th. Toronto appeared to take a 4-3 lead when Felipe Crespo scored from first base on a two-out hit by Carlos Delgado, but the Marlins appealed, claiming that Crespo had missed third.
Third-base umpire Brian Gorman said Crespo touched third, but plate umpire Tom Hallion overruled his colleague and called the runner out, ending the inning with the score still 3-3.
``We needed a break, and we got it,'' Marlins left fielder Cliff Floyd said.
TV replays showed that Crespo touched the inside of third base.
``This really stinks,'' he fumed. ``I definitely touched the bag. It's a shame the outcome of the game was dictated by that.''
Blue Jays manager Tim Johnson and third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez also said Hallion made the wrong ruling.
``The replay showed he touched the bag,'' Johnson said. ``I thought it was obvious.''
If the run had counted, the marathon might still be going. As it was, the game was the longest in the Marlins' six-year history and matched the longest in Toronto's 22 seasons.
There was more quantity than quality, with 16 strikeouts by each side, 27 runners left of base, no homers and only three extra-base hits in 119 at-bats. The Marlins' first three batters scored, and their next run came in the 17th.
Some 41 players saw action, including seven pitchers for each team. By the end, the Blue Jays' pitcher was batting first and their center fielder ninth.
Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez pinch-hit for the first time in his career in the 14th. He struck out.
Florida catcher Gregg Zaun had a bad week in one night, going 0-for-7. Delgado needed eight trips to the plate to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games in the 17th.
Toronto was blanked over the final eight innings, even though the Marlins have the worst bullpen east of Seattle. The Blue Jays shut out Florida for 15 consecutive innings but still lost.
Dunwoody finally provided an ending. He led off the 17th with a 400-foot double against Erik Hanson (0-3), then came around to score easily on Zeile's one-out single.
``One thing I was concentrating on,'' Dunwoody said, ``was to make sure I touched third.''