He may be 42 years old. But Ichiro Suzuki continues to get it done.
Suzuki delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single in the sixth that put the Marlins ahead, and Miami opened a nine-game home stand on Tuesday with a 7-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“He’s been doing that his whole career,” said Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. “He came through with a huge hit, and that was the difference in the game. That’s why he’s going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Suzuki now has 2,947 hits for his career, leaving him 53 shy of 3,000. He is hitting .333 this season.
The Marlins, who overcame a 4-1 deficit with four runs in the sixth, have now won eight of their past nine games and moved too one game over .500 (13-12).
The Marlins grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first after J.T. Realmuto, batting in the leadoff spot for what he said was the first time in his life, doubled to start the game and scored on Yelich’s ground ball.
But the Diamondbacks came up with two runs in the second and two more in the sixth on Wellington Castillo’s two-run homer off Justin Nicolino.
Nicolino’s second start since his promotion from Triple-A didn’t go as well as his first. Nicolino gave up four runs over six innings. He failed to strike out a batter and issued three walks to go with seven hits allowed.
But he still emerged with the win to improve to 2-0.
That’s because the Marlins erupted for four runs in the sixth.
Marcell Ozuna blasted a two-run homer and, after the Marlins loaded the bases when Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch, Suzuki stepped in and ripped a single into left-center that put the Marlins on top.
The pitch to Dietrich appeared to strike the knob of his bat. The home plate umpire ruled the ball hit his wrist. Dietrich grabbed his right elbow as if to indicate that’s where the ball struck him.
After looking at replays, officials could find no convincing evidence to overturn the call. That set up Ichiro’s at bat, and the veteran delivered with the go-ahead hit.
Yelich added a solo home run in the seventh, and the Marlins tacked on one more run in the eighth on Realmuto’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly that missed being a grand slam by several feet.
“I haven’t hit too many home runs here at home, so you’ve got to enjoy the ones that you do,” Yelich said of his home run, which struck the facing of the upper deck in right. “ I think that’s only my fourth career homer at home, so I don’t have a whole lot of experience hitting homers here at Marlins Park.”
Once again, the Marlins received strong bullpen help from a trio of relievers: Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos.
The three pitchers held the Diamondbacks scoreless over the final three innings. Phelps struck out the side in the eighth and Ramos worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his eighth save.
“We really believe we’re in every game, and we’ve been able to pull a couple out in the late innings,” Yelich said.
But the Marlins might have suffered a setback when Justin Bour dislocated his left pinky while sliding into second base in the eighth. Bour said X-rays did not indicate a fracture, but that the injury would be re-evaluated on Wednesday.