Marlins reel in wild card

Posted: September 27, 2003

With rainy weather, apathetic fans, unsettled ownership and losing records, the Florida Marlins provided comic relief in recent seasons. Look who's laughing now.

The surprising Marlins beat the visiting New York Mets, 4-3, last night to clinch the National League wild card, their first playoff berth since winning the 1997 World Series. They will face the NL West champion Giants in a best-of-five series beginning Tuesday in San Francisco.

"We're happy to get in, but this is just the beginning," said Derrek Lee, who drove in two runs. "We want to go deep in the playoffs."

Leadoff batter Juan Pierre, a catalyst all season, filled that role again in the clinching victory. He stole two bases to set a team record with 64, singled three times to reach a career high with 203 hits and played a part in Florida's first three runs.

In other NL games:

* At Houston, Richie Sexson hit his 44th and 45th homers as Milwaukee beat the Astros, 12-5. Houston failed to capitalize on a Cubs rainout and fell a half-game behind Chicago in the Central.

* At San Francisco, Barry Bonds hit his 45th homer and Rich Aurilia hit a three-run shot as the Giants routed Los Angeles, 10-1.

* At Cincinnati, Brad Wilkerson homered as Montreal beat the Reds, 5-1.

* At San Diego, Adam Eaton (9-12) scattered four hits in seven innings as the Padres blanked Colorado, 5-0.

* At Phoenix, Shea Hillenbrand's leadoff homer ignited a three-run sixth as Arizona held off St. Louis, 7-6.

* At Chicago, the Cubs' game against Pittsburgh was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader today. The decision outraged fans who were told they must exchange tickets for cash or tickets next season.

In American League games:

* At New York, rookie Jorge De Paula took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first major league start, but the Yankees were denied their 100th win as Baltimore won, 3-2, in 10 innings in the nightcap of a doubleheader. Jorge Posada hit his 30th homer to tie Yogi Berra's club record for a catcher as the Yankees won, 11-2, in the first game.

* At St. Petersburg, Fla., Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer as Boston beat Tampa Bay, 7-2.

* At Toronto, Jason Stanford (1-3) pitched six scoreless innings for his first major league win as Cleveland beat the Blue Jays, 2-1.

* At Detroit, Michael Cuddyer homered inthe 11th and Minnesota won, 5-4, putting the Tigers one defeat from tying the modern-day record for losses, 120, set by the 1962 New York Mets.

* At Kansas City, Jose Valentin hit a grand slam as the White Sox routed the Royals, 11-2.

* At Anaheim, Tim Salmon's eighth-inning single broke a tie and the Angels beat Texas, 5-3.

* At Seattle, Mike Cameron homered as the Mariners beat Oakland, 9-3. The A's loss gives the Yankees homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.


* White Sox manager Jerry Manuel was told he will be replaced after the season, according to newspaper reports in Chicago. Speculation is brewing that former manager Tony La Russa will not return next season to St. Louis and will come back to Chicago.

* Florida third baseman Mike Lowell (broken hand) received medical clearance to rejoin the lineup and could play tomorrow.

* Minnesota third-base coach Al Newman was released from a Chicago hospital, 16 days after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. *

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