ST. LOUIS (AP) — The road crowd gave Ichiro Suzuki a standing ovation when he came to the plate and another nice round of applause after he singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning for his 2,991st hit.
As much as shaving the countdown to nine, it ended up really helping the Miami Marlins, too.
“He’s been amazing for us all year,” manager Don Mattingly said of the 42-year-old Suzuki, who scored the tying run in a 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night. “I thought the fans were amazing right there, respectful.”
Miguel Rojas drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth for the Marlins, who have won four straight, coming from behind in the last three. Then he paid tribute to Suzuki.
“It’s been an honor, man,” Rojas said. “The last couple of years having the opportunity to be with Ichiro has been huge because everything he’s doing on the field is historic.”
Tommy Pham had two of the Cardinals’ four homers and drove in four runs. Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk also connected for St. Louis, which hit two each off Wei-Yin Chen and reliever David Phelps but had three defensive miscues.
“It’s just tough to be on this side of the equation when you had a good night like I did,” Pham said. Of his curtain call after a three-run shot in the fourth, he said, “It’s horrible now.”
Manager Mike Matheny noted a number of “non-plays” and added, “It seemed like whenever we had one it hurt us.”
The hit was the first since July 4 for Suzuki. He’s had just seven pinch-hit appearances and one start this month with the Marlins, who have a steady outfield rotation of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton.
“You know if he was playing every day, every day, every day, you know it wouldn’t be long, but in our situation you don’t know quite how long that’s going to take,” Mattingly said. “So, I don’t think anybody’s getting too crazy over it right now.”
Suzuki did not speak to reporters after the game.
The Cardinals blew leads of 4-1 and 6-5 to fall to 19-27 at home. They were 55-26 at home last year, tied for best in the majors.
Matt Holliday, getting his sixth start at first base, couldn’t handle a long hop on a potential double play ball in the fourth inning that led to a run. Reliever Kevin Siegrist made an errant pickoff throw on Suzuki for an error and Grichuk came in and couldn’t retreat in time to harness Ozuna’s double in the ninth that led to the winning run.
Chen has surrendered 19 homers, among the league leaders. Phelps had given up just two in 46 innings.
Fernando Rodney (1-2) worked a scoreless eighth and A.J. Ramos finished for his 28th save in 29 chances.
Seung Hwan Oh (2-1), the Cardinals’ stand-in closer, lost on his 34th birthday.
Suzuki singled off Siegrist with one out in the eighth and scored on Martin Prado’s two-out hit off Jonathan Broxton.
Marlins: 1B Justin Boer (ankle) is eligible to come off the DL on Monday but is still experiencing soreness and Mattingly said, “progressing, but not ready yet.”
Cardinals: 1B-OF Brandon Moss (ankle) is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday but is still in a walking boot.
The umpiring crew worked a man short after plate ump Chad Fairchild took a foul off his right forearm in the bottom of the first. Jim Joyce went from first base to home.
Long-time Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon worked the booth on his 77th birthday.
Marlins: Tom Koehler is 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (8-5, 4.49) is 50-28 with a 3.05 ERA for his career after the break. He is 2-0 his last two outings, allowing one run in 14 innings.
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