DENVER (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki nearly got his 3,000th hit and Giancarlo Stanton hit a record-long home run. It should have been a night to celebrate for the Miami Marlins, but the Colorado Rockies’ relentless offense spoiled the party.
Suzuki grounded out in his first try at 3,000 hits and the Marlins, despite a 504-foot home run by Stanton, lost to the Colorado Rockies 12-6 on Saturday night.
Charlie Blackmon homered among his four hits and drove in four runs for the Rockies, who moved within three games of the Marlins and St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot on a night when history was nearly made.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a game where I’ve seen 3,000 hits,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “It’s a big deal.”
It didn’t seem like Suzuki would have a chance after the Rockies took a 12-3 lead in the seventh, but he had a pinch-hit infield single to lead off the eighth inning for No. 2,999, just beating the throw by Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado. Suzuki stayed in the game to play right field.
“When I threw it I thought I had him, but like I said, he’s too fast,” Arenado said. “That’s why he’s so good.”
In the ninth, with many in the crowd at Coors Field standing, Suzuki hit a comebacker to Scott Oberg. The 6-foot-2 pitcher reached high to get the ball before it went up the middle and, after dropping the transfer, quickly gathered it to barely throw out Suzuki.
“I was trying to turn a double play on that, but once I bobbled it, I was just trying to get the out at first base,” Oberg said. “What he’s done in his career has been an outstanding accomplishment. He’s been an inspiration to a lot of players.”
The 42-year-old Japanese star will become the 30th player in major league history to reach 3,000 with his next hit.
“You put him in the game when we did there’s a little thought that he might get two (at-bats),” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “Once he gets that first one, as that inning gets extended, you know he’s going to get another AB. The guys were excited to have a chance to see it.”
Rookie David Dahl had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and Daniel Descalso drove in three runs for Colorado, which is 15-7 since the All-Star break.
Stanton’s 23rd homer was the longest in the major leagues this season and the longest in Coors Field history. Suzuki batted for the All-Star Home Run Derby champion in the eighth.
Stanton, who flew out on a 3-0 pitch in the third, connected in the fifth on an 89 mph changeup from Chad Bettis (10-6), sending a drive into the seats in left-center field for a 3-2 lead.
“I wasn’t happy with my 3-0 swing,” Stanton said. “It was a good swing but not the type of attack you should have with that so I said if he throws me that again I’m going to do what I should have done 3-0 and he did.”
Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza held the record for the longest homer at Coors, hitting a 496-footer in 1997 when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This was the second time Stanton crushed a ball in Denver. He hit a home run 494 feet in 2012.
“It put us in a good place but didn’t seem to work out,” Stanton said.
Andrew Cashner (4-8) retired 10 straight after Dahl’s leadoff triple in the second, but faltered in Colorado’s seven-run sixth. The Rockies got five straight hits and a walk off the righty to take a 7-2 lead, and they tagged reliever Mike Dunn for three more runs.
The Rockies sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, which ended with reliever Nefi Ogando striking out Carlos Gonzalez with the bases loaded.
“We want to play out front and our offense is helping us do that,” Weiss said. “At the same time we’re getting good starting pitching. We got a long way to go. We got a lot more games to win, but it’s been nice seeing our guys fight their way back in the mix here.”
Dahl’s streak is the second longest by a Rockies rookie to begin a career. Juan Pierre reached 16 in 2000. … Gonzalez also had two hits to reach 17 straight games. His is the longest current streak in the majors.
The Marlins will send LHP Adam Conley (7-6, 3.41) against Colorado’s Jon Gray (8-4, 3.77) on Sunday.
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