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It's Long, Strange Triple as Cubs Win

Glanville's grounder in the 11th inning rolls to the wall and drives in Lofton for a 5-4 victory.

October 11, 2003|Peter Schmuck | Baltimore Sun

MIAMI — The Chicago Cubs rode the talented arm of Kerry Wood to a crossroads in the National League championship series Friday night. Then they went the last mile without him.

Wood pitched well in Game 3, but not well enough to win. The Cubs had to work overtime to score a 5-4 victory over the Florida Marlins before a sellout crowd of 65,115 at Pro Player Stadium.

Pinch-hitter Doug Glanville drove a triple through the left side of the infield in the 11th inning and Kenny Lofton raced around from first base to score the go-ahead run that would put the Cubs up, two games to one, in the best-of-seven playoff series.

In the end, the Cubs beat the Marlins at their own game, using Lofton's speed to open up the infield for the game-winning hit. Lofton broke for second on the 2-1 pitch from Florida reliever Braden Looper and fill-in shortstop Mike Mordecai had to break for second. Glanville drove the ball right through the gap and it also skipped past a diving Jeff Conine in left field.

In the end, it was the bench jockeys and the bullpen that carried the Cubs home in their first championship series game on the road.

Reliever Mike Remlinger was the last man standing, working a scoreless 11th to save the win for Cub closer Joe Borowski. The last out was made by Florida's Luis Castillo, who tried to advance to third on a ground ball to third baseman Aramis Ramirez and was tagged out after a rundown.

It never would have gotten that far if pinch-hitter Tom Goodwin hadn't tripled with one out in the eighth and Cub first baseman Randall Simon had not followed with a dramatic, game-turning home run off Marlin reliever Chad Fox.

Maybe in this Cub-crazed postseason, there is even redemption for a convicted sausage-basher, but the Marlins tied the score on a run-scoring pinch single by Todd Hollandsworth in the eighth inning.

"This game boiled down to pinch-hitters," said Cub Manager Dusty Baker. "Goody had that triple and Randall homered and then we got the triple by Glanville, but they got some clutch hits from their bench."

Wood pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs and seven hits, which might have been adequate if Marlin starter Mark Redman had not battled him pitch for pitch into the seventh. Redman also went 6 2/3 and allowed two runs and eight hits, but never was in line for the victory.

There always is extra emphasis placed on the odd-numbered games in the playoffs and World Series, and there is logic to support it -- especially in a series that's even after two games.

The Marlins could not afford to lose Friday night, because it put them in the position of having to win the last two games at Pro Player Stadium and still defeat either Wood or Mark Prior at Wrigley Field to reach the World Series.

The Cubs could not afford to lose because they depend so heavily on Wood and Prior, who have accounted for each of the club's postseason victories so far, and a Marlin victory would create the possibility that the Cubs could lose the series without either of them pitching again.

There's a long way to go, but there's no doubt that the Cubs took a giant step toward the National League pennant.

"I guess we'll have to find out," said Glanville, who was one for nine lifetime against Looper when he went to the plate, "but winning the first game of the series on the road is a great thing for momentum. I think it's big because, at worst, we will be able to take the series back to Chicago. We feel good about our chances."

Marlin Manager Jack McKeon attempted to minimize the importance of the loss, but it was a tough sell.

"I thought this was a seven-game series," he said.

"Reading all the articles this morning, I didn't know if we should show up tonight, but I thought we did a pretty good job. We got a few breaks and we had a few opportunities that we didn't cash in, but we were down a game to the Giants [in the division series] and won. I think we're capable of winning three games in a row."

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