Castros sinks Dodgers in 13th, gives Marlins wild-card leadPosted: Tuesday August 12, 2003 11:46 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 13, 2003 4:20 AM
The backup catcher hit a two-out home run in the 13th inning to cap a seesaw marathon, and Florida beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4.
The Marlins came from behind three times to win and moved one-half game ahead of Philadelphia. The Phillies lost to Milwaukee 6-3.
"It feels great," manager Jack McKeon said. "When you have nights like this, you feel very good."
Los Angeles fell 3 1/2 games behind the Marlins and lost to them for the first time in five meetings this season.
"It's a disappointing game to have to lose, but it was a hell of a game," manager Jim Tracy said. "It was a game with two clubs who obviously know what's at stake."
Castro, the Marlins' third catcher of the game, hit his third homer in only his 41st at-bat this season.
"I'm happy I had a chance to win the game," he said. "This team is for each other 100 percent. Everybody was clapping for me, and I'm happy for that too."
His homer came on a 2-0 split-finger fastball from Paul Shuey (4-4).
"This stings as bad as any one I've ever had," Shuey said. "I hung it, and he hit it."
Florida overcame three plays at the plate that went the Dodgers' way, including a call that led to catcher Ivan Rodriguez's third ejection in two weeks.
The Florida bullpen retired 16 Dodgers in a row and allowed no hits over the final six innings.
"Our relievers stopped them completely," McKeon said. "They were lights out."
Jeromy Burnitz hit his 23rd homer for Los Angeles.
"Any time you play a long game, it's a tougher game to lose," Burnitz said.
Rodriguez's replacement, Mike Redmond, was out trying to score from first on a double in the bottom of the inning. Los Angeles' Robin Ventura scored from third when he beat a throw home on a groundout in the fourth.
The Dodgers' Eric Gagne pitched two hitless innings. He had retired 25 consecutive batters over eight appearances before he walked Juan Encarnacion on four pitches leading off the 11th. Following a strikeout, Encarnacion advanced to second on a groundout, but he was stranded when Alex Gonzalez struck out.
Florida starter Josh Beckett allowed nine hits and four runs in six innings. Los Angeles scored in three innings after he retired the first two batters.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Beckett retired pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade and Dave Roberts. They had runners at first and second with one out in the seventh, but Ugueth Urbina struck out Adrian Beltre and Burnitz.
The Dodgers' Hideo Nomo allowed eight hits and four runs in five innings and remained 0-6 lifetime in Miami.
Lo Duca scored from first base on Green's fifth-inning double, leading to Rodriguez's ejection. Gonzalez's relay throw home beat the runner. Rodriguez blocked the plate as he caught the throw and made the tag, but umpire Hunter Wendelstedt ruled Lo Duca safe.
"I saw him juggle the ball," Lo Duca said. "I think that's what Hunter saw."
TV replays appeared to show the runner was out. Rodriguez threw his mask, screamed a profanity and was ejected.
After his last ejection, Rodriguez pledged to keep his mouth shut the rest of the season. He said he has been thrown out only one other time in his 13-year career.
Notes: The Dontrelle factor: Attendance was 12,025. The teams drew 20,288 despite threatening weather when Dontrelle Willis pitched Monday. ... Dodgers RHP Guillermo Mota pitched a perfect sixth and seventh, striking out four. He has retired 19 batters in a row and has pitched 13 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings. ... Marlins 1B Derrek Lee, who missed four consecutive games with a sore right shoulder, was a defensive replacement in the ninth inning.