Groundhog Day: Forgettable game tops Marlins' do-over list

In 2003 title season, club suffered 25-8 loss, which included pitcher hit in head, 14-run first

Groundhog Day: Forgettable game tops Marlins' do-over list

MIAMI -- Ultimately, it all worked out for the 2003 Marlins. They overcame a managerial change, rose from 10 games under .500 and pulled off a stunning World Series upset over the Yankees.

Although their year ended with a champagne celebration, it also produced a historical low. That came on June 27 at Fenway Park, when the Red Sox gave the Marlins a 25-8 beatdown. If not for the team's resolve, infield coach Perry Hill says that game could have derailed a championship season.

In recognition of Groundhog Day, MLB.com is looking back at moments worthy of a do-over. If Hill could have one, it would have been that day in Boston.

The 25 runs allowed remain the most in club history.

How bad was it? Boston scored 14 runs in the first inning. In that frame, Johnny Damon had a triple, a double and a single, meaning the Red Sox leadoff man was a home run shy of the cycle -- in the first inning alone.

The game also included a terrifying moment when reliever Kevin Olsen was struck in the side of the head by a line drive. Overall, it was a night to forget.

"By mid-May, we were [10] games under .500," recalls Hill, currently Miami's first-base/infield coach. "By mid-June, we fought back to like .500, and we were feeling really good about ourselves. We go into Boston with a lot of momentum, because we had just won the previous night before in New York."

McKeon on 2003 championship team

The Marlins did have momentum at the time. They had won six of seven, and improved to 40-40 after beating the Mets at Shea Stadium.

In the series opener at Boston, the Marlins stepped into an ambush. They did actually take the lead in the first inning, scoring a run. From there, it became a monumental blowout.

"We go in and we score a run in the first inning against the Red Sox, and before you know it, it's 10 runs before we got an out," Hill said. "And we give up 14 runs in the first inning, and Johnny Damon almost hit for the cycle in the first inning."

The Marlins still were able to recover, pick up the pieces and put together a championship season.

For one night at Fenway Park, however, they played a game they'd rather forget.

"I'd like to do that game over," Hill said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.