Ichiro Suzuki continued his hot streak on Thursday night and singled in the go-ahead run in a wild seventh as the Marlins finally beat the Minnesota Twins 10-3 at Target Field.
The Marlins, who had lost four of five coming in, salvaged the series finale after the Twins, despite having the worst record in the American League, won the first two.
The Marlins now head to Arizona to visit the Diamondbacks on Friday night.
Miami hadn’t scored a run in the seventh inning or later in eight of its previous 13 games, but that wasn’t a problem on Thursday.
Ichiro got things going with an RBI single with one out, scoring J.T. Realmuto to snap a 2-2 tie.
The Marlins then went crazy, ending the inning with a season-high seven runs, highlighted by big hits from Martin Prado, Adeiny Hechavarria, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna — as well as a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Chris Johnson, which made it 9-2.
“You never know when it starts, so it was good to be able to add on tonight,’’ Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We talked about pretty much the whole series not being able to add on. Obviously, tonight we were able to add on a lot, so that made it easier for us.
“I was able to use guys out of the pen that, to continue to give guys days off and be able to do what we wanted to do out of there.”
Miami sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning and scored five of its runs with one out.
After Giancarlo Stanton struck out for the fourth time, Johnson came up and hit one into the right-field seats.
“Guys put good at-bats together, and we found the holes in big situations,” Yelich said. “We were able to put the game away right there. It was good to get one here and hopefully carry that momentum into Arizona, have a good series there.”
The Marlins led 2-0 going into the sixth as starter Tom Koehler was strong, not allowing his first hit until the fourth.
With two outs in the sixth, that was still the only baserunner he had allowed before giving up consecutive singles. Minnesota then tied it when Robbie Grossman doubled off the wall in right.
After putting Joe Mauer on intentionally, Koehler got out of the jam by getting Trevor Plouffe to ground out to second.
Ahead 9-2, Koehler didn’t come out for the seventh, with Adam Dunn replacing him.
“It was nice, but we had the lead and unfortunately I gave up two runs back there in the sixth,” Koehler said. “To have the guys respond and put up a nice crooked number there really picked me up. That was huge. I felt good, made some pitches in the sixth, and they did a good job putting good swings on them and hitting them where they ain’t. Then Grossman gets the double.
“I would have loved to get out of the sixth unscathed to see what could have happened, but we needed this game. Any way we got the win was fine.”
Miami took its initial lead in the first when Ichiro scored on a double by Ozuna.
In the second, Hechavarria singled in Realmuto to make it 2-0.
The Marlins’ final run of the night came in the eighth when Prado scored on a single by Ozuna.
Minnesota scored a run in a sloppy ninth after closer A.J. Ramos came in and was replaced by Brian Ellington with the bases loaded and one out. Ellington ended it by getting Juan Centeno to ground into a double play.
With the Marlins moving back into a National League park and the designated hitter left behind in Minnesota, Mattingly has a decision to make as Ichiro is considered Miami’s fourth outfielder.
So who sits Friday in Phoenix?
Mattingly hinted Thursday it might just be Ichiro despite his seven hits in the Minnesota series.
“I think they found out last year he ended up playing 150-some games and really struggled down the stretch,” Mattingly said.
“We’re going to keep him sharp and use him the way we’ve been using him. He’s been great for us, and we’re not going to force him into a different role all of a sudden.”
Although Stanton had two hits Wednesday, he struck out while representing the tying run to end the game.
Stanton’s batting average also dropped below .200 again Thursday after he went 0 for 5.
In the eighth, with runners on first and second and one out, Stanton grounded into a double play to end the inning and put him at .197.
“The last at-bat was good,” Mattingly said. “We win, so we don’t have to worry about that.”