Miami Marlins Beat Yankees to Clinch 1st Playoff Berth Since 2003

Miami Marlins Beat Yankees to Clinch 1st Playoff Berth Since 2003

Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly’s team earned a playoff berth at Yankee Stadium.

The Miami Marlins ended the National League’s longest active postseason drought Friday, clinching a spot in the 2020 playoffs with a 4-3 extra-innings win over the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

It’s the third playoff berth in Marlins franchise history and first since 2003 when they beat the Yankees to win the World Series. The Marlins also won it all during their only other postseason appearance in 1997.

Jesus Aguilar’s 10th-inning sacrifice fly plated the run that sent Miami to the playoffs. Brandon Kintzler then got AL batting leader DJ LeMahieu to ground into a bases-loaded double play to start the Marlins’ celebration in the Bronx.

Miami, which lost an NL-worst 105 games in 2019, secured a playoff berth after a wild summer. The team suffered a COVID-19 outbreak on the first weekend of the season that caused 18 Marlins players to miss time.

“I can’t contain the tears, because it’s a lot of grind, a lot of passion,” shortstop Miguel Rojas said, according to The Associated Press. “It wasn’t just the virus. Last year we lost 100 games. But we came out this year with the hope everything was going to be better.

“When we had the outbreak, the guys who got an opportunity to help the organization – thank you for everything you did.”

The clinch also comes on the fourth anniversary of the death of former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. Mattingly, who managed Fernandez in 2016, was emotional when remembering the pitcher moments after his team’s win.

The win ensured that the Phillies – who are no longer in a playoff spot – won’t be able to catch the Marlins for second place in the NL East, meaning Miami will finish with no lower than the No. 6 seed.

Miami also won’t finish the season with a losing record for only the seventh time in team history. A win in one of the Marlins’ final two contests would give the franchise its first winning season since 2009.

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