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Marlins in playoff contention

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Marlins in playoff contention


By Juan C. Rodriguez

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted August 29 2006, 11:03 PM EDT



ST. LOUIS -- In a span of three eighth inning at-bats Tuesday, the Marlins established two more rookie records. In a span of nine games, the Marlins established themselves as playoff contenders.


Making their first and only visit to St. Louis, the Marlins found the new Busch Stadium a more than adequate venue to complete another record run. Tuesday's 9-1 romp of the National League Central-leading Cardinals extended the Marlins' winning streak to nine games, matching a franchise mark they equaled earlier this season.


The victory brought them to within a game of .500 for the first time since April 5, when they were 1-2. It also left them within two games of the wild card pace.


Already up 6-1 with rookie Scott Olsen cruising toward his 11th win, the Marlins made some offensive history in the eighth. Dan Uggla crushed a 1-0 Jorge Sosa pitch 449 feet into "Big Mac Land." His 21st homer and second in two days was the longest ever at Busch Stadium and gave him a share of a Marlins' rookie record.


Uggla, who went 3 for 4 with four RBI, now has 79 RBI to equal Jeff Conine's 1993 mark.


Two batters later, Josh Willingham hit a 1-1 Sosa offering over the right-field wall, giving him 20 and making the Marlins the first National League team ever with a pair of 20-homer hitting rookies.


Olsen could have made due with seven fewer runs. In arguably his best outing of the season, Olsen held the Cardinals to a run on three hits through eight innings. He served up a game-tying leadoff homer to Preston Wilson in the first, then retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced.


Olsen induced double play balls after the other two singles he allowed in the sixth and eighth innings. The Marlins turned four during a nine-inning game in which the Cardinals tied a major league record by not leaving a man on base. They also didn't have so much as one at-bat with runners in scoring position.


The Marlins blitzed struggling Cardinals starter Mark Mulder, hanging five runs on him during a 1 2/3-inning outing. Mulder, who has not won a game since June 15 at Pittsburgh, was coming off a three-inning, nine-run loss to the Mets. That was his first outing since a prolonged disabled list stint with a left shoulder impingement.


Mulder was nowhere near the guy who has the third-most wins (94) since 2001 behind Randy Johnson (98) and Curt Schilling (96). The Marlins took advantage.


After initiating the scoring on Wes Helms' first-inning, RBI-single, the Marlins batted around in the second. They scored four two-out runs, the last two on another Helms' base hit with the bases loaded.


Hanley Ramirez and Uggla also knocked in runs, Ramirez with his franchise rookie record ninth triple. Alex Gonzalez set the previous standard with eight in 1999.

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This is all it takes to get some people to take notice and attend some games...


We ALWAYS double attendance in September when we're in the race. Why would this be different?



Sounds good to me.


In 2003 we were getting 30,000 a night during week nights towards the end of the season. If we keep it up we should see the same. Especially since most of our remaining home games are against teams that are in the wild card hunt and the mets.

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