10/04/2003 5:49 PM ET
Marlins-Giants Game 4 awards
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, cable cars, in honor of San Francisco, and fish, in honor of those scrappy Marlins -- for performances in this year's National League Division Series.
The last time the Marlins were in the playoffs, they won the World Series. Don't look now, but Florida has the momentum, the pitching and the inspired play of the man they call Pudge.
Five cable cars: Splash hit!
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
Four cable cars: Golden (as in that bridge)
Three cable cars: San Francisco treat
Two cable cars: Uphill climb
One cable car: Stuck in Alcatraz
Edgardo Alfonzo: The Giants' third baseman kept his club in the game both at the plate and in the field. He hit a two-run double in the sixth, when the Giants rallied for four runs, and scored on J.T. Snow's hot smash to short to tie the game. Alfonzo also starred in the field, pulling down a line drive in the second, when the Marlins had two on, to save a run. Then, in the third, after the Marlins had scored twice, Alfonzo made two plays on ground balls, the second of which started a double play to end the inning and limit the damage.
J.T. Snow: Snow went 3-for-4 on the day and drove in two runs, including a run in the ninth to pull the Giants within one. But he didn't quite have the legs to beat the throw after Jeffrey Hammonds' single and score the run that would have tied the game.
Yorvit Torrealba: What has been a major strength of the Giants for the last few seasons has been their defense. But it let them down in this series -- specifically, on one big play in Game 4. With Ivan Rodriguez on second, Miguel Cabrera singled to right, and Jose Cruz Jr. put the ball on the money for Torrealba. But the catcher could not hang on, and Rodriguez scored. Torrealba then made his bigger mistake -- he didn't immediately track the ball that had been knocked loose, allowing Derrek Lee to score all the way from first base with what proved to be the decisive run.
Jerome Williams: With Jason Schmidt unable to go on three days' rest, Giants manager Felipe Alou handed the ball to Williams. The young right-hander faced just 13 batters, pitching into the third inning while allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. The Giants rallied once but fell short the second time.
Five fish: Whale of a performance
Four fish: Starfish
Three fish: Happy as a clam
Two fish: Nice minnow
One fish: Sorry, Charlie
Pudge: Ivan Rodriguez was our man in Miami for the Marlins, turning in a 2-for-4 performance with a double, RBI and two runs scored. But it was his second run and his final putout that turned the tide for the Fish. On Cabrera's game-winning single to right, Pudge rounded third and set his sites on Torrealba at the plate. Cruz came up with the ball and made a strong throw to the plate, but Rodriguez was having none of it, planting an elbow on Torrealba's glove to knock away the ball. Pudge and Lee, running the whole way, scored. Then in the ninth, with two down and Snow heading toward the plate, Rodriguez took the throw from Conine and applied the tag for the last out of the Marlins 7-6 thriller.
Miguel Cabrera: The 20-year-old third baseman delivered the biggest hit of his career on Saturday, a two-run single to right off Felix Rodriguez that broke a 5-5 tie and sent his club to the National League Championship Series. Cabrera went 4-for-5 In Game 4, with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. He also made a nice catch on a foul pop off the bat of Barry Bonds to retire the Giants slugger in the top of the first.
Dontrelle Willis: The left-handed sensation, who made a strong push for Rookie of the Year honors during the regular season, appeared to be control of Game 4. After allowing a sac fly to Torrealba in the second, Willis retired 10 in a row. He also contributed at the plate, getting three hits, including a triple, to become the first pitcher to get three hits in a postseason game since Orel Hershiser did so in 1988. But he ran out of gas in the sixth as the Giants pecked away to tie the game. Still, Willis provided his club with five strong innings.
Jeff Conine: Two things that Conine did right on the last play of the game helped his club reach the NLCS. As Hammonds' bloop single began to die in left field, Conine recognized the flight of the ball, and did not try to dive or make the great play. He kept himself in position to field the ball and make a good throw to the plate, which he did.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.