Marlins bid likely farewell to Girardi, beat Phils in 11

MIAMI (AP) -- The Florida Marlins kept manager Joe Girardi around

for a couple of extra innings Sunday. Whether he'll still be with

them next season remains doubtful.

Overachieving Florida concluded its surprising season by beating

Philadelphia 3-2 in 11 innings. It was likely the last game with

the Marlins for Girardi, who is expected to be fired because of a

rocky relationship with owner Jeffrey Loria and general manager

Larry Beinfest.

The Marlins poured out of their dugout with glee when Jason Wood

hit a bases-loaded, one-out infield single to score the winning

run. Girardi joined the celebration, exchanging hugs with his


"It's emotional," he said. "I'm an emotional guy."

Girardi said he hasn't been advised of his status. He's

scheduled to meet Tuesday with Beinfest, who declined to comment on

Girardi's future.

The Marlins lost 13 of their final 18 games to finish 78-84 --

their first losing season since 2002, but better than anticipated

for a team that has baseball's lowest payroll, played 22 rookies

and started 11-31.

"It's a special group of kids," Girardi said. "They

accomplished a lot, and it was fun to watch, and fun to be a part

of it."

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel's status is also uncertain.

His team, eliminated Saturday from the NL wild-card race, finished


"I think I deserve to keep this job forever," Manuel said. "I

think this is a good job for me."

Said general manager Pat Gillick: "Right now, he's our manager

in 2007."

With balmy weather, a festive crowd and plentiful lineup

changes, the season's final game was reminiscent of spring

training. The Phils used 18 players, the Marlins 22.

Florida starter Dontrelle Willis threw only 19 pitches before

leaving as a precaution with a sore left triceps. Dan Uggla hit his

27th homer, but teammate Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-2 and fell short

in his bid for the NL batting title.

The Phillies' Chase Utley doubled in the seventh for his 203rd

hit of the season when left fielder Chris Aguila lost the ball in

the sun. Ryan Howard followed with a single for his 149th RBI to

make the score 2-all.

Howard also walked, struck out, was hit by a pitch and lifted a

430-foot flyout to the warning track in center. He failed to hit a

home run in his final 32 at-bats and finished at 58 homers, a team

record and the most in the major leagues.

"The individual accomplishments will definitely hit me

sometime, when I get a chance to sit back and think about it,"

Howard said.

Uggla homered in the sixth to set a Marlins rookie record and

extend his major league record for the most home runs by a rookie

second baseman. He received a curtain call at the end of the inning

from an announced crowd of 36,768, second-largest of the season for

the Marlins, although the actual turnout was less than 25,000.

Philadelphia starter Brett Myers gave up two runs in six

innings. Matt Herges (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings, and Fabio Castro (0-1) was the loser.

Wood's game-winner was a sharp grounder that shortstop Danny Sandoval failed to glove. The Marlins mobbed Wood, a 36-year-old

journeyman who has spent most of his career in the minor leagues.

"I looked up and there was a swarm of Marlins coming at me,"

he said. "It was the greatest feeling I've had in baseball."

Cabrera trailed NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez of Pittsburgh

by three points at the start of the day, struck out in both of his

at-bats and finished at .339. Sanchez hit .344.

Girardi batted Cabrera leadoff for the first time in his career,

planning to give him as many at-bats as possible, but the Marlins

slugger took himself out of the game after Sanchez singled in his

first two trips against Cincinnati to pad his lead.

"It's frustrating. I wanted to win the batting title," Cabrera

said. "When I went 0-for-2, I was down. Sanchez went 2-for-2 and I

said, 'I'm done. I'm going to watch my guys play and enjoy the


Savoring the victory in the finale, Cabrera said he hopes

Girardi returns next season. That was the clubhouse consensus.

"He brings confidence, he brings everything for us," Cabrera

said. "We'd love to have him back."

Game notes
SS Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-2, and his lifetime average

against Willis fell to .188 (9-for-48). ... LF Cody Ross went

0-for-2 to finish 3-for-35 (.086) against the Phillies.