ATLANTA (AP) -- When the ball scooted between the legs of left
fielder Josh Willingham, the Florida Marlins could see their
playoff chances rolling away, too.
Marcus Giles hit an RBI single and another runner scored on
Willingham's error, capping a five-run rally in the 10th inning
that lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Marlins 8-7 Sunday.
Atlanta rallied for five runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap an unlikely 8-7 triumph against the Marlins. It was the first time in franchise history that the Braves had won a game in which they trailed by four-or-more runs during extra innings -- and keep in mind, the Braves have played in the National League since the year of its founding, 1876!
Since 1981, there have been only two other games in which the winning team rebounded from a deficit of at least four runs in the 10th inning or later. On April 21, 1991, the Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-12 responding to Chicago's five 11th-inning runs with six of their own. Monday is the second anniversary of the other such game (Sept. 18, 2004), when the White Sox posted a 9-8, 12-inning walk-off win against the Tigers, after each team scored four runs in the 10th inning.
"Our worst loss of the year," Marlins manager Joe Girardi
said.After Florida scored four times in the top of the 10th for a 7-3
lead, errors by shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Willingham gave
Atlanta the win."It's a helpless feeling. I can't describe it," Willingham
said.It was a demoralizing defeat for the young Marlins, who are four
games behind Los Angeles in the wild-card race. Florida lost for
the fourth time in five games.With one out in the Atlanta 10th, Brian McCann doubled off Joe
Borowski (3-3) and took third on a single by Jeff Francoeur. Matt
Diaz followed with a two-run double and took third on a bloop
single by Willy Aybar.Pinch-hitter Bryan Pena then reached when Ramirez failed to hold
onto a forceout throw, scoring Diaz to make it 7-6. Giles followed
with his one-out single that got past Willingham, scoring Aybar and
Pena."I was charging to make a strong throw at home and throw him
(Aybar) out. He's the tying run," said Willingham. "I don't know.
I must have taken my eye off the ball. To have the game won and
lose it, it hurts pretty bad."Borowski, who has converted 34 of 41 saves this season, wasn't
saying much."You saw it. I'm not saying anything. I still don't know what
happened," he said.Kevin Barry (1-1) got one out for the win."It felt like it was a movie. "There's no way this is
happening. It was like something you see in American Legion ball,"
Braves starter Tim Hudson said of the fateful inning."You just don't want to be the guy that stops the rally," said
Giles. "It was unbelievable. It was like being a kid again."Ramirez hit a two-out, two-run double and Dan Uggla followed
with his 26th homer for the Marlins in the 10th.Miguel Olivo hit a two-run homer -- his 15th -- in the eighth off
reliever Tyler Yates that gave the Marlins a 3-3 tie.Edgar Renteria put the Braves ahead 3-1 in the seventh with a
two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded against Matt Herges.Hudson pitched seven innings and allowed one run and three hits.
He walked none and struck out five.Florida scored in the third when Olivo doubled, took third on a
sacrifice and hustled home on a sacrifice fly to short right field
by Ramirez.Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco went six innings and gave up one
run and three hits. The only run he allowed came on Francoeur's
25th home run.Nolasco pitched out of a first-and-third jam with no outs in the
sixth. The rookie struck out Adam LaRoche, got Andruw Jones on a
foul pop and retired McCann on a fly ball.
Uggla's home run was Florida's 167th of the season,
breaking the record of 166 set in 2001. ... RF Francoeur made a
one-handed catch of Nolasco's sixth-inning foul fly while running
at full tilt. Francoeur hit the wall at waist level and toppled
into the stands. He was helped back onto the field and bent over
for about a minute with his hands on his knees, but remained in the
game. He made a running catch of Uggla's fly for the last out of