The last time the Florida Marlins had this many walk-off home runs, they ended up winning the World Series.
While it may be considered too early and somewhat far-fetched to consider them title contenders this season, the Marlins might just be happy winning consecutive games for the first time Saturday in the middle game of their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Marlins (2-2) have won both of their games in 2008 on walk-off homers. They haven’t had that many in a single season since hitting four in 2003, the last time they won the World Series.
Mike Jacobs delivered the latest one Friday, hitting a leadoff homer in the ninth off Franquelis Osoria to give Florida a 5-4 come-from-behind win. It was also Jacobs’ first homer and RBI of the season and capped a 3-for-5 performance after he went 1-for-11 in the first three contests.
“Everything kind of stops for a second,” Jacobs said of his first career walk-off. “It’s a moment you’re feeling that you’re never going to forget. It’s one of those things that gets everybody excited and pumped up.”
Robert Andino clinched the Marlins’ first win on Tuesday, hitting a pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the 10th of a 5-4 victory over New York. However, the following night Florida lost 13-0 to the Mets.
The Marlins hope Mark Hendrickson (0-1, 10.80 ERA) can build on the momentum created by Jacobs’ shot and rebound from losing his team debut.
The 6-foot-9 left-hander, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million free-agent contract in January, was tagged for six runs - all in the fourth inning - and seven hits in five innings of a 7-2 loss to New York in Monday’s season-opener.
Hendrickson’s poor fourth inning saw him give up four of the runs with two outs.
“That’s where the frustration lies,” Hendrickson told the team’s official Web site. “I didn’t do that. For the most part, I wish I could have taken that inning back because it changed the complexion of the game. That’s one thing you’ve got to learn.”
Hendrickson, who spent 1996-2000 playing in the NBA, is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh, but he hasn’t faced them since June 12, 2005, with Toronto.
Hanley Ramirez is off to a torrid start, hitting .462 (6-for-13) through four games. The shortstop went 3-for-5 on Friday to improve his batting average to .426 in 15 games against Pittsburgh.
The Pirates will counter with Paul Maholm (10-15, 5.02 last season), who is making his season debut after being scratched from his originally scheduled start on Thursday due to back stiffness.
The left-hander wasn’t very effective on the road in 2007, posting a 4-8 mark with a 6.14 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .328 with 15 homers. However, he was solid in winning his last start at Dolphin Stadium on June 26, limiting the Marlins to two runs and three hits with five strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-2 victory.
Doumit went 3-for-4 with a solo home run Friday, improving to 8-for-15 (.533) in three games. The catcher hit .274 with nine homers and 32 RBIs last season as injuries limited him to 83 games.