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Cabrera’s Homer Lifts Marlins in Debut

June 21, 2003

Miguel Cabrera, playing in his first major league game, hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning Friday night to give the Florida Marlins a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Cabrera became just the third player since 1900 to hit a game-ending home run in his major league debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Josh Bard did it for Cleveland last season and Billy Parker connected for California in 1971.

“I feel great,” Cabrera said, remnants of a celebratory shaving-cream pie still showing in his hair and ears. “I feel excited. My first day in the big leagues, my first hit’s a home run, it’s good.”

Three other games also ended with home runs.

Randall Simon connected in the 15th inning to lift Pittsburgh over Cleveland 5-4 and Rondell White hit a grand slam in the ninth to rally San Diego past Seattle 5-3 in interleague play.

In the only NL game, Alex Cintron homered in the ninth to send Arizona over Cincinnati 6-5.

In other interleague games, it was New York Yankees 5, New York Mets 0; Chicago White Sox 12, Chicago Cubs 3; Oakland 5, San Francisco 3; Los Angeles 5, Anaheim 2; Kansas City 10, St. Louis 4; Atlanta 6, Baltimore 3; Houston 12, Texas 3; Toronto 8, Montreal 4; Milwaukee 3, Minnesota 2 in 10 innings; and Detroit 7, Colorado 5.

Boston at Philadelphia was rained out.

Considered the Marlins’ top prospect, Cabrera primarily played third base in the minors – but Florida already has All-Star Mike Lowell at the hot corner.

So Cabrera began working in the outfield at Double-A Carolina and the Marlins called him up Thursday night, giving him the starting job in left for the foreseeable future.

The 20-year-old Venezuelan was hitting .365 with 10 homers and 59 RBIs in 68 games at Carolina when he was promoted.

“This kid is maybe going to pick us up offensively,” manager Jack McKeon said. “This is what we’ve been looking for, a little spark on the offensive side. This guy’s a threat now.”

Cabrera was 0-for-4 before his homer to center off Al Levine (2-5). He grounded out to end the ninth, stranding two runners and sending a large portion of the announced crowd of 12,515 heading for the exits.

Those who remained cheered long and loud after his homer.

“It’s so gratifying to see this kid come in here and do that,” McKeon said. “This kid wasn’t fazed at all. He had good poise all night long.”

Armando Almanza (4-4) pitched a scoreless 11th for the win.

Pirates 5, Indians 4, 15 innings

Simon homered over the center-field fence leading off the 15th as Pittsburgh beat Cleveland.

The game was delayed by rain for two hours, and about 400 fans were left at PNC Park when Simon homered at 1:37 a.m. EDT.

Padres 5, Mariners 3

White hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth to lift San Diego over visiting Seattle.

White capped a five-run rally by connecting on a 2-2 slider from Jeff Nelson. The Mariners have the best record in the majors and the Padres have the second-worst mark.

Diamondbacks 6, Reds 5

Cintron hit a solo homer as Arizona scored twice in the ninth to beat Cincinnati for the 12th straight time.

Tony Womack, who homered and doubled earlier, drew a leadoff walk from Scott Williamson in the ninth, took third on a pickoff throw and scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Cintron then homered.

Yankees 5, Mets 0

Andy Pettitte pitched seven scoreless innings, and Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter hit consecutive homers as the Yankees beat the Mets in the opener of the Subway Series.

Jason Giambi also homered before a sellout crowd of 55,386 at Shea Stadium.

Athletics 5, Giants 3

Miguel Tejada hit a two-run homer and Oakland opened the Bay Bridge Series with its season-best seventh straight victory before a sellout crowd of 47,074 at the Coliseum.

Barry Bonds hit his 633rd career home run and 20th of the season for San Francisco. He went 1-for-4 in the 2,500th game of his career.

Dodgers 5, Angels 2

Shawn Green, Brian Jordan, Ron Coomer and David Ross homered as Los Angeles beat Anaheim at Dodger Stadium.

All four shots came against Jarrod Washburn, and they gave Hideo Nomo plenty of support.

Braves 6, Orioles 3

Robert Fick hit his second grand slam of the season and Greg Maddux pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning as Atlanta won at Turner Field.

Fick drove in five runs, matching his career high.

Baltimore’s Melvin Mora, the leading hitter in the American League at .361, left after being hit on the right hand with a pitch in the first. He was listed as day-to-day.

White Sox 12, Cubs 3

Miguel Olivo hit a grand slam, highlighting a six-run first inning as the White Sox routed the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

It was the most lopsided game since the Chicago rivals began interleague play in 1997.

Sammy Sosa, in his first home game since serving a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat, was mostly cheered when introduced. There were noticeable boos, however.

Royals 10, Cardinals 4

Jose Lima earned his first major league victory since last August as Kansas City won at St. Louis.

Lima gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings in his second start since being promoted from Triple-A Omaha. His last win in the majors came with Detroit last Aug. 19 – he was released the next month and started this season with Newark in the independent Atlantic League.

Astros 12, Rangers 3

Craig Biggio had four hits and Adam Everett homered as visiting Houston sent Texas to its fifth straight loss.

Alex Rodriguez homered for the Rangers, who have dropped 17 of 19 – their worst stretch since also going 2-17 from Aug. 5-25, 1973. A-Rod played a day after being hit in the face by a throw in Oakland.

Blue Jays 8, Expos 4

Vernon Wells, Frank Catalanotto, Orlando Hudson and Greg Myers homered as Toronto won their fourth in a row.

Cory Lidle allowed three hits in seven innings and joined Roy Halladay as the majors’ first pair of 10-game winners.

Endy Chavez hit an inside-the-park home run for Montreal, which returned home after a 22-game, 25-day trip.

Brewers 3, Twins 2, 10 innings

Royce Clayton scored on a wild pitch by reliever Juan Rincon with one out in the 10th, lifting Milwaukee over Minnesota at Miller Park.

Tigers 7, Rockies 5

Eric Munson, Bobby Higginson and Kevin Witt homered as Detroit ended a four-game losing streak.

Mike Maroth (2-11) beat Colorado at Coors Field.




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