Ichiro Suzuki continued his assault on the record books when, playing in place of injured outfielder Christian Yelich, he recorded four hits on Saturday. He added two more on Sunday to give him 2,956.
“That’s why I’m here,” Ichiro said Sunday. “I’m always trying to be the best fourth outfielder I can, and I got that opportunity [Saturday].”
At 42 years and 212 days, Ichiro on Saturday became only the seventh player his age or older to register four or more hits in a game. The others: Pete Rose, Sam Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, Rickey Henderson, Honus Wagner and Carlton Fisk.
Ichiro was back in the leadoff spot on Sunday when Yelich missed his second game in a row with back spasms. At least he had advance notice in order to prepare, which he prefers. On Saturday, he didn’t find out he would be starting until the last moment.
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“He always loves [having] early notice,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I’m thinking now, after that late notice, maybe the way to go with him is to surprise him on game day.”
Replied Ichiro, with a laugh: “There are some jokes that are funny, and sometimes the people that tell the jokes, they have to be funny, and [Mattingly] is not one of those guys. But he’s trying to be funny.”
As for Yelich, who has dealt with back injury issues in the past, he said Sunday he felt “so-so” and that he’s frustrated more than anything else.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Yelich said. “It’s day to day.”
It wasn’t by accident that A.J. Ramos was able to get the Nationals’ Jayson Werth to bounce a grounder to third on Saturday in what turned into a pivotal double play in the Marlins’ 3-2 victory.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth, and the Marlins clinging to a one-run lead, Ramos said he was hoping to get Werth to hit the ball to the left side of the infield.
“I was trying to get a ball to that side,” said Ramos, who could not have drawn it up any better. “A lot of times, when you go away from Werth, he’s good at keeping the bat in the zone and pushing it somewhere else. So I wanted to throw something in on him. That’s why I threw a changeup there and it worked out.”
Martin Prado fielded Werth’s grounder, stepped on third, and threw home for a tag play on the second out. Ramos then retired Jose Lobaton to end the game.
Ramos has now converted 22 saves in a row dating to Sept. 8, 2015.
▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-2, 4.22 ERA) vs. Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (1-3, 5.09), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-4, 4.71) vs. Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-2, 3.81), 12:10 p.m., Marlins Park.