Marlins defeat Giants
3 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Sep. 30||SF 2||FLA 0|
|2||Oct. 1||FLA 9||SF 5|
|3||Oct. 3||FLA 4||SF 3|
|4||Oct. 4||FLA 7||SF 6|
Managers: McKeon, Jack, FL; Alou, Felipe, SF
Path to the NLDS: Florida (91-71) won the NL Wild Card; San Francisco (100-61) won the NL West by 15.5 games
Because the Marlins were in the same division as the Braves, which posted the NL's best record again, Jack McKeon's NL Wild Card winners opened the postseason at San Francisco against the defending NL champions.
It meant facing a Barry Bonds-led club that was intent on getting over the hump, following the 2002 Giants' loss to the Angels in seven games at the World Series.
McKeon decided right away that other players besides Bonds would have to beat the Marlins. The 18th-year outfielder, on his way to a sixth of seven NL MVP Awards, would be 2-for-9 in this series -- with eight base on balls. Notably, San Francisco hit no home runs in this series.
Jason Schmidt opened the series by throwing a three-hit shutout at Pac Bell Park. He won a pitcher's duel with Josh Beckett, who would go on to be the star pitcher of the postseason.
The Giants blew a 4-1 lead and lost Game 2, 9-5, and the series moved to Miami. Ivan Rodriguez drove in each run in a 4-3 Marlins victory, and that included a two-run homer in the first and then the two-run walk-off single in the 11th after San Francisco had taken a lead in the top of the inning.
Pudge remained the key focal point in this series. In Game 4, with the Marlins up, 7-6, and J.T. Snow on second with two out, Jeffrey Hammonds singled to left. Jeff Conine short-hopped the ball, fired a one-hopper to the plate, and Rodriguez took the full force of a bruising collision with Snow. Rodriguez did two backward somersaults and then thrust the ball upward, showing he had held on.
Bonds, who was in the hole when Hammonds hit, had played his 48th and final postseason game. His last official plate appearance was an intentional walk.
The Marlins, who had won a World Series in 1997 as the NL Wild Card, had a chance to do it again. Now they just had to beat the Cubs, who would have home-field advantage and brilliant pitching.