Sword Fish Draw First Blood

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 16, 2007

New York Yankees Logo Florida Marlins Logo NEW YORK, NY. — The Florida Marlins showed why they belong in the World Series.

The Marlins jumped off to an early lead in the top of the first behind the speedy Juan Pierre, as he led his team to a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series. The Marlins lead the series 1-0.

Juan Pierre (2-3, 2 RBI) led off with an infield bunt in the top of the first. Luis Castillo’s blooper single to right off David Wells brought Pierre to third, which led to Ivan Rodreiquez’ RBI pop-up to left field. Marlins led 1-0.

“The bunt left the field open for me, Pierre said. “I can’t see pitchers as comfortable when we’re on base.” Pierre, who set a franchise record for stolen bases this season, led the majors with 65 stolen bases.

In the top of the fifth, Pierre’s two-RBI single to left proved to be the icing on the cake, as the Marlins led 3-1. Bernie Williams hit a solo-homer to right field for the Yankees in the top of the sixth, but that’s as close as the Yankees would get.

Williams tied Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle’s a major league record for most post-season home runs with 18.

For the Marlins, starting pitcher Brad Penny, lasted 5.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, 3 Ks. Penny also had a huge pick off Nick Johnson at third base in the bottom of the third.

But Marlins starting pitcher, Dontrelle Willis’ performance out of the bullpen stole the show. Through 2.1 innings, Willis held the Yanks to just 2 hits and stuck out 2.

“I’m very excited,” Willis said. “Wanted to pitch and show my skills at Yankee Stadium. It’s big for us. These Yankee hitters are aggressive and they didn’t miss much. I tried to keep the ball down.”

The Yankees had one final chance to win in the bottom of the ninth, but Marlins closer Urbina Ugueth earned his third post-season save as he struck out Alfonso Soriano on a 3-2 change up inside, and forced Nick Johnson to pop-out with runners on first and second.

The Marlins have won their last five road games in the post-season.

The first time the Marlins went to the World Series in their franchise history in 1997, three of their decisive four victories against the Cleveland Indians were comebacks. This post-season, they rallied to defeat the San Francisco Giants, and late last week, they trailed the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the series. The Marlins stuck together winning three in a row, including an eight-run, eighth-inning in Game 6, before finishing the Cubs 9-6 in Game 7 to advance to the World Series.

With the Marlins, who never lost a playoff series (5-0) ahead of the Yankees, let’s see if their speed and defense can win them another championship.