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Ichiro Suzuki records 3,000th hit as Miami Marlins outslug Colorado Rockies

By
Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
Teammates congratulate Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki after his seventh inning triple put him at 3,000 hits at Coors Field in Denver on August 7, 2016. Ichiro becomes the 30th player in Major League history to record 3,000hits. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI
Teammates congratulate Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki after his seventh inning triple put him at 3,000 hits at Coors Field in Denver on August 7, 2016. Ichiro becomes the 30th player in Major League history to record 3,000hits. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

DENVER -- The pursuit of history had become a bit of a slog for Ichiro Suziki but ended with a triple Sunday.

It was the 3,000th hit of his major league career and came as the Miami Marlins roughed up Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray and then held on for a 10-7 win in the rubber game of their series.

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After three forgettable at-bats, Suzuki tripled off the out-of-town scoreboard in right field to become the 30th major league player to reach 3,000 hits. Suzuki's triple came against left-hander Chris Rusin.

Making his first start since July 29, Suzuki struck out on his first at-bat and grounded out on the next two. He was behind in the count on each at-bat before taking advantage of a 2-1 count by driving Rusin's 86 mph cutter off the scoreboard to become just the second player in major league history to triple for hit No. 3,000. The other is Minnesota Twins star Paul Molitor, who tripled at Kansas City on Sept. 16, 1996.

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"Obviously I wanted to see it go over the fence," Suzuki said through a translator. "But after I heard that Paul Molitor was the other person to do it, I was glad it didn't go over. I have a special relationship with him and having something like this that is the same thing he accomplished, makes it more special."

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Suzuki's teammates poured out of the dugout to celebrate the moment. The Rockies' players stood and applauded at the dugout rail while players on the field moved toward first base to let Suzuki and his teammates bask in the moment.

Before play resumed, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado reached out to Suzuki, who made light of the fact that he didn't have quite enough power to put the ball in the seats.

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"I said, 'Congratulations,'" Arenado said. "He was pretty funny. He's like, 'Aw, no juice, no juice.' I was like, 'It was a great swing, man.'"

At 42 years, 290 days, Ichiro is the second-oldest player to reach 3,000 hits. He wandered through a stretch of 11 hitless at-bats before getting hit No. 2,999 on Saturday, and as the Marlins' fourth outfielder has mostly had to contend with the challenge of pinch-hitting recently while pursuing history and completing a climb that began April 2, 2001, with his first major league hit, a single against Oakland's T.J. Mathews.

"When I first got my hit as a big leaguer, I was happy for myself," Suzuki said. "Today when I got my 3,000th hit, I was more happy for the people around me and for the people that have supported me and have cheered me on. I really felt that today."

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Rusin had no qualms about giving up Suzuki's historic hit, but wished he had stayed at third rather than scored to give the Mariners a 9-6 lead.

"I remember watching him growing up as a kid," Rusin said. "I never thought sitting on the couch in high school, I'd be the guy to give up his 3,000th hit. It's just crazy to be a part of."

Before Suzuki's memorable hit, the Mariners tore into Gray (8-5). He left after yielding a two-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton on his 82nd and final pitch in the four-run fourth that boosted the Marlins' lead to 8-1. Gray, who won his past three starts, allowed a career-high tying 10 hits and a career-high eight runs in 3 2/3 innings.

The Marlins jumped on Gray for four runs and five hits in the first on their way to building a seven-run lead. Christian Yelich, who had three RBI, doubled home two runs, and with two outs, Jeff Mathis, who also had three RBI, hit a two-run double.

"There's nothing that went right today, Gray said. "I didn't pitch at all. I didn't command anything. The slider wasn't there. I pretty much lost us the game and lost us the series."

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Charlie Blackmon singled home a run in the third, and the Rockies added two runs in the fourth against Adam Conley (8-6). Arenado led off the inning with a home run. Cristhian Adames hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice.

Arenado, who entered the game 6-for-37 with one homer and four RBIs in his past 10 games, belted a three-run homer in the fifth, his 29th of the season and the 99th of his career, trimming Miami's lead to 8-6.

"It stinks when you lose, when you have a game like that," Arenado said. "But it's nice to hit the ball hard. I feel like I haven't been able to do that as much as I would like lately."

Fernando Rodney, the fifth Marlins' pitcher, worked the ninth to earn his 18th save this season and first with the Marlins.

NOTES: Rockies OF Gerardo Parra was reinstated and in the lineup for the first time since June 14 when he suffered a high-ankle sprain. ... Rockies RF Carlos Gonzalez was given a planned day off following a night game. He's also dealing a sore left ankle, which he sprained Wednesday. ... Rockies INF Rafael Ynoa was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. He had been recalled Tuesday when SS Trevor Story went on the disabled list with a season-ending thumb injury. Ynoa went 0-for-5 in three games. ... Marlins RHP Nefi Ogando was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans and LHP Hunter Cervenka was added to the roster after being acquired Saturday from Atlanta He made his Marlins debut and pitched a scoreless sixth. Ogando did not record a decision with a 5.68 ERA in five games for the Marlins. ... Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon on Saturday became the first leadoff hitter in franchise history to have at least four RBIs and four hits, which included a triple and home run. The last leadoff hitter to do that was Philadelphia OF Shane Victorino on April 14, 2010.

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