Chad Fox failed to protect an eighth-inning lead, Braden Looper
gave up a run-scoring triple in the 11th and the Marlins lost to
the Chicago Cubs 5-4 in Game 3 of the NL championship series Friday
The bullpen failure came after crafty left-hander Mark Redman
gave the Marlins their best performance by a starting pitcher in
the series. Despite being bumped at first base in a play that
briefly left him dizzy two pitches into the game, Redman lasted 6
2-3 innings and departed trailing the Cubs and Wood only 3-2.
"It's frustrating," Looper said. "Anytime you have the lead,
no matter who it's against, you want to get the game home."
The Marlins, who have been behind in all seven of their
postseason games, this time came back twice. But now they trail the
best-of-seven series 2-1 and need a strong showing by rookie
Dontrelle Willis in Game 4 on Saturday against Matt Clement.
"It's unfortunate we lost, but we're not going to dwell on
it," Fox said. "We're going to play four more of these games."
But the bullpen shared in the blame.
Fox, a key contributor during the Marlins' late-season surge,
pitched out of a jam in the seventh and began the eighth with a 3-2
He gave up a 390-foot triple to pinch-hitter Tom Goodwin with
one out. The next pitch was a hanging slider, and Randall Simon
pulled it over the right-field wall -- only the second homer allowed
by Fox in 26 appearances for Florida this season.
"There are going to be bumps in the road," Fox said. "You're
going to take your lumps. Tonight I took mine."
The Marlins made it 4-all on pinch-hitter Todd Hollandsworth's
two-out RBI single in the eighth. Ugueth Urbina then retired six
straight Cubs, four on strikeouts, and punctuated the end of the
ninth and 10th with pumps of his fist.
To start the 11th, Marlins manager Jack McKeon called on Michael
Tejera, who earned notoriety in Game 2 by throwing the first
postseason pitch of his career into the dugout. He retired the
first batter, but Kenny Lofton singled, and Looper came on.
The right-hander's late-season struggles cost him the closer's
job in September, and he again had a rough time. On a hit-and-run,
pinch-hitter Doug Glanville pulled a liner through the area vacated
by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. The ball was hit so hard that a diving
Jeff Conine was unable to cut it off in left field, and Glanville
kept running for a triple as Lofton scored the run that gave the
Cubs the victory.
"It was a perfect hit-and-run," Looper said. "You've got to
tip your hat to them."
The defeat stung in part because of the way Florida hung tough
against Wood. Miguel Cabrera spun several steps toward third base
to avoid a head-high inside fastball. Conine's knees buckled on a
changeup. But the Marlins also reached the right-hander for seven
hits and three runs, including two in the seventh to take the lead.
"From what I read, it looked like we didn't have a chance,"
McKeon said. "But this is the major leagues, and some nights
anybody can hit anybody."
McKeon tried Cabrera at a new position for the second
consecutive game. This time it was right field, where the rookie
moved in a seventh-inning double switch that allowed third baseman
Mike Lowell to enter the game.
Lowell walked in the seventh and later scored. But he flied out
in his final two at-bats.
The game ended on a strange play. Luis Castillo reached second
with two outs in the 11th, but when Derrek Lee hit a grounder to
third, Castillo unwisely tried to advance. Aramis Ramirez bobbled
the ball, then grabbed it and got Castillo in a rundown. Castillo
was called for running out of the bases.
"We couldn't get that last big hit," Florida's Juan Pierre
Redman gave up a run in each of the first two innings, then
settled down and kept the Marlins close against Wood.
The left-hander was shaken up covering first base in the first
inning. Leadoff batter Lofton pulled a two-hopper toward first, and
as he crossed the base, his left shoulder hit Redman's jaw.
Redman spun to the ground and was slow to rise.
"I was dizzy," he said. "I didn't know what happened or how I
got hit. I just had to get my bearings back."
Two batters later he gave up an RBI single to Sammy Sosa. The
liner off the scoreboard probably would have been a home run at
Two walks got Redman in trouble in the second, and Wood hit a
sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Redman retired Mark Grudzielanek on a
flyout with the bases loaded to end the inning, then shut out the
Cubs over the next 4 2/3 innings.