Overachieving Florida concluded its surprising season by beating
Philadelphia 3-2 in 11 innings. It was likely the last game with
the Marlins for Girardi, who is expected to be fired because of a
rocky relationship with owner Jeffrey Loria and general manager
The Marlins poured out of their dugout with glee when Jason Wood
hit a bases-loaded, one-out infield single to score the winning
run. Girardi joined the celebration, exchanging hugs with his
"It's emotional," he said. "I'm an emotional guy."
Girardi said he hasn't been advised of his status. He's
scheduled to meet Tuesday with Beinfest, who declined to comment on
The Marlins lost 13 of their final 18 games to finish 78-84 --
their first losing season since 2002, but better than anticipated
for a team that has baseball's lowest payroll, played 22 rookies
and started 11-31.
"It's a special group of kids," Girardi said. "They
accomplished a lot, and it was fun to watch, and fun to be a part
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel's status is also uncertain.
His team, eliminated Saturday from the NL wild-card race, finished
"I think I deserve to keep this job forever," Manuel said. "I
think this is a good job for me."
Said general manager Pat Gillick: "Right now, he's our manager
With balmy weather, a festive crowd and plentiful lineup
changes, the season's final game was reminiscent of spring
training. The Phils used 18 players, the Marlins 22.
Florida starter Dontrelle Willis threw only 19 pitches before
leaving as a precaution with a sore left triceps. Dan Uggla hit his
27th homer, but teammate Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-2 and fell short
in his bid for the NL batting title.
The Phillies' Chase Utley doubled in the seventh for his 203rd
hit of the season when left fielder Chris Aguila lost the ball in
the sun. Ryan Howard followed with a single for his 149th RBI to
make the score 2-all.
Howard also walked, struck out, was hit by a pitch and lifted a
430-foot flyout to the warning track in center. He failed to hit a
home run in his final 32 at-bats and finished at 58 homers, a team
record and the most in the major leagues.
"The individual accomplishments will definitely hit me
sometime, when I get a chance to sit back and think about it,"
Uggla homered in the sixth to set a Marlins rookie record and
extend his major league record for the most home runs by a rookie
second baseman. He received a curtain call at the end of the inning
from an announced crowd of 36,768, second-largest of the season for
the Marlins, although the actual turnout was less than 25,000.
Wood's game-winner was a sharp grounder that shortstop Danny Sandoval failed to glove. The Marlins mobbed Wood, a 36-year-old
journeyman who has spent most of his career in the minor leagues.
"I looked up and there was a swarm of Marlins coming at me,"
he said. "It was the greatest feeling I've had in baseball."
Cabrera trailed NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez of Pittsburgh
by three points at the start of the day, struck out in both of his
at-bats and finished at .339. Sanchez hit .344.
Girardi batted Cabrera leadoff for the first time in his career,
planning to give him as many at-bats as possible, but the Marlins
slugger took himself out of the game after Sanchez singled in his
first two trips against Cincinnati to pad his lead.
"It's frustrating. I wanted to win the batting title," Cabrera
said. "When I went 0-for-2, I was down. Sanchez went 2-for-2 and I
said, 'I'm done. I'm going to watch my guys play and enjoy the
Savoring the victory in the finale, Cabrera said he hopes
Girardi returns next season. That was the clubhouse consensus.
"He brings confidence, he brings everything for us," Cabrera
said. "We'd love to have him back."