2003 National League Championship Series

2003 National League Championship Series

Infobox LCS

year = 2003
champion = Florida Marlins (4)
champion_manager = Jack McKeon
champion_games = 91-71, .562, GB: 10
runnerup = Chicago Cubs (3)
runnerup_manager = Dusty Baker
runnerup_games = 88-74, .543, GA: 1
date = October 7October 15
MVP = Iván Rodríguez (Florida)
television = FOX
announcers = Thom Brennaman, Steve Lyons and Al Leiter
radio_network = ESPN Radio
umpires = Jerry Crawford (Games 1, 3-7), Chuck Meriwether, Fieldin Culbreth, Larry Vanover (Game 2), Mike Everitt, Larry Poncino, Mike Reilly
LDS1 = Chicago Cubs over Atlanta Braves (3-2)
LDS2 = Florida Marlins over San Francisco Giants (3-1)
The by|2003 National League Championship Series was a Major League Baseball playoff series played from October 7 to October 15 to determine the champion of the National League, between the Central Division champion Chicago Cubs and the wild-card qualifying Florida Marlins. The Cubs, by virtue of being a division winner, had the home field advantage. The Marlins would go on to win the series in seven games, advancing to the World Series against the New York Yankees.

The series is widely known for a fan interference incident in the eighth inning of Game 6.


The two teams were victorious in the NL Division Series (NLDS), with the Cubs defeating the Eastern Division champion Atlanta Braves 3 games to 2, and the Marlins defeating the Western Division champion San Francisco Giants 3 games to 1.

The series is most remembered for events that unfolded in the top of the eighth inning of Game 6. Coming into the game, the Cubs had taken 2 out of the 3 games in Miami, with the final two games at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Cubs also had their best two pitchers, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, slated to start the final two games. With the Cubs leading 3-0 and just five outs away from their first World Series since 1945, Steve Bartman, a fan, reached for a foul ball hit by Luis Castillo off Prior, preventing Cub outfielder Moisés Alou from catching it. Castillo proceeded to walk and Prior and the Cubs never recovered from the incident. Aided by Castillo's walk and later an error by Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez on a potential double-play grounder, the Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning and won the game 8-3. The Marlins went on to win Game 7 and then to defeat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Chicago manager Dusty Baker, who won the NL pennant in 2002 with the San Francisco Giants, fell short in his bid to become the first manager ever to take different teams to the World Series in consecutive years.


Florida Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs

Florida wins the series, 4-3

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 7, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IllinoisLinescore
WP=Ugueth Urbina (1-0)|LP=Mark Guthrie (0-1)|SV=Braden Looper (1)
RoadHR=I. Rodríguez (1), M. Cabrera (1), J. Encarnacion (1), M. Lowell (1)|HomeHR=S. Sosa (1), M. Alou (1), A. González (1)|

The Marlins took Game 1 of the series, coming back from an early 4-0 deficit. They scored 5 runs in the third on 3 home runs from Juan Encarnacion, rookie Miguel Cabrera, and Ivan "Pudge" Rodríguez. In the 6th inning, down 6-4, the Cubs tied the game on an Alex S. Gonzalez home run off Josh Beckett. The game remained tied until the 9th where the Marlins took a 2 run lead. With 2 outs and one on in the bottom of the 9th, Sammy Sosa hit his first postseason home run off Ugueth Urbina to tie the game and send the game into extra innings. In the top of the 11th, pinch-hitter Mike Lowell hit a solo home run off Mark Guthrie that ultimately proved to be the game winner.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IllinoisLinescore
WP=Mark Prior (1-0)|LP=Brad Penny (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Derrek Lee (1), Miguel Cabrera (2)|HomeHR=Sammy Sosa (2), Aramis Ramírez (1), Alex González 2 (3)|

Game 3

Friday, October 10, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, FloridaLinescore
WP=Joe Borowski (1-0)|LP=Michael Tejera (0-1)|SV=Mike Remlinger (1)
RoadHR=Randall Simon (1)|HomeHR=|

Game 4

Saturday, October 11, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, FloridaLinescore
WP=Matt Clement (1-0)|LP=Dontrelle Willis (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=Aramis Ramírez 2 (3)|HomeHR=|

Game 5

Sunday, October 12, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, FloridaLinescore
WP=Josh Beckett (1-0)|LP=Carlos Zambrano (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Iván Rodríguez (2), Mike Lowell (2), Jeff Conine (1)|

Game 6

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IllinoisLinescore
WP=Chad Fox (1-0)|LP=Mark Prior (1-1)|SV=|

The Cubs held a 3-0 lead going into the top of the eighth inning in Game 6 and, after Mike Mordecai hit a high pop fly to left field for the first out of the inning, had only two outs left in the inning—leaving the team a mere 5 outs away from their first World Series berth since 1945.

Prior had retired the last eight hitters and had allowed only three hits up to that point. Center fielder Juan Pierre (who was later traded to the Cubs) then hit a double off Prior to get to second base.

On the eight pitch of his at bat, Luis Castillo hit a high foul ball toward the left field wall. Cubs left fielder Moisés Alou (a former Marlin) headed toward the stands to catch the ball for the potential second out. As Alou reached for the ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman, along with others near the area, did the same. The ball bounced off Bartman's hand and into the stands. Though the Cubs pleaded for a call of fan interference, the umpire ruled that the ball had left the field of play and was therefore up for grabs.

As a result, Castillo remained an active batter at home plate. On the next pitch, Prior walked Castillo with a wild pitch that got away from catcher Paul Bako, also allowing Pierre to advance to third base.

Next, Iván Rodríguez hit an 0-2 pitch hard into left field, singling and scoring Pierre. Miguel Cabrera then hit a ground ball toward Cubs shortstop Alex S. Gonzalez that could have ended the inning on a double play. Gonzalez, who led all NL shortstops in fielding percentage, closed his glove too early and the ball landed in the dirt, allowing Cabrera to get on base, loading the bases. On the next pitch, Derrek Lee (a future Cubs All-Star) drilled a double into left field, scoring Castillo and Rodríguez to tie the game at 3-3.

Prior was then taken out of the game and replaced by Kyle Farnsworth, who intentionally walked Mike Lowell to load the bases. Jeff Conine then hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the second out of the inning, allowing Cabrera to score from third and the other runners to each advance one base. This gave the Marlins their first lead of the night. Farnsworth intentionally walked Todd Hollandsworth (another future Cub) to once again load the bases.

The Marlins now having batted around the order, Farnsworth faced Mike Mordecai, who was looking to make up for his earlier out. This time, Mordecai prevailed, hitting a bases-clearing double to left-center field, allowing Lee, Lowell and Hollandsworth to score and making it a 7-3 Marlins lead.

Farnsworth was then taken out of the game and replaced by Mike Remlinger, who gave up a single to Pierre to score Mordecai from second base. Finally, Luis Castillo hit a high pop fly ball to shallow right field for the third out.

The Marlins' lead held, forcing a final Game 7.

Game 7

Wednesday, October 15, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IllinoisLinescore
WP=Brad Penny (1-1)|LP=Kerry Wood (0-1)|SV=Ugueth Urbina (1)
RoadHR=Miguel Cabrera (3)|HomeHR=Moisés Alou (2), Kerry Wood (1), Troy O'Leary (1)|

The Marlins got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the 1st inning against Cubs pitching ace Kerry Wood, who hadn't lost at Wrigley Field in nearly 6 weeks. The Cubs responded by tying the ball game 3-3 in the 2nd inning, which featured a two-run home run by Wood. Moisés Alou's two-run home run the following inning put Chicago up 5-3, but the lead wouldn't last. In the 5th inning, Florida capitalized on a pair of walks and scored three runs to go on top 6-5, a lead they would not relinquish. The Marlins added a run in the 6th and two more in the 7th to expand their lead to 9-5. Cubs pinch-hitter Troy O'Leary hit a home run the bottom of the 7th, making the score 9-6. After the Cubs were retired in order in the 8th inning, Florida closer Ugueth Urbina hit Aramis Ramirez with a pitch to lead off the 9th inning and proceeded to retire the following three batters, giving the Marlins their second National League Pennant in their 10-year existence.

Composite Box

2003 NLCS (4-3): Florida Marlins over Chicago CubsLinescore
Road=Florida Marlins
Home=Chicago Cubs
H1=12|H2=7|H3=7|H4=1|H5=3|H6=4|H7=3|H8=2|H9=2|H10=0|H11=1|HR=42|HH=65|HE=4Total Attendance: 354,503 Average Attendance: 50,643|

Quotes of the Series

*cquote|"HAMMERED INTO LEFT-FIELD WE ARE TIED!!" - Thom Brennaman on Sammy Sosa's game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1.

*cquote|"...Again in the air down the left field line, Alou...reaching into the stands and couldn't get it and is livid with a fan." - Thom Brennaman, the foul ball that may have prevented the 2nd out in the 8th inning of Game 6.

*cquote|"Again to repeat, Prior's gotten the best of him tonight...HAMMERED DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE AND THE GAME WILL BE TIED UP! Scoring is Castillo, scoring is Rodríguez...it's a 3-3 game as the frustration ends for Derrek Lee!" – Thom Brennaman calling Lee's game-tying double in the eighth inning of Game 6.

*cquote|"That ball hammered into left-center field...on the run Alou, on the run is Lofton, and it's off the ivy! Three runs will score on a double by Mordecai! A seven-run Florida eighth-inning and this crowd at Wrigley Field stunned in disbelief!" – Brennaman on Mordecai's bases-loaded double in the eighth inning of Game 6.

*cquote|"In the air, left-center field...Kerry Wood plays longball!" – Brennaman on Kerry Wood's home run in Game 7.

*cquote|"In the air left field, and the Florida Marlins have come back from three games to one down to win the National League Pennant! The Florida Marlins for the second time are going to the World Series! What an amazing story!" – Brennaman calling the final out of the series.


External links

* [http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B10140CHN2003.htm Box score and play-by-play of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS]

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