Padres rally to trip up Marlins despite Ichiro's feat
By AJ Cassavell and Joe Frisaro
SAN DIEGO -- Ichiro Suzuki's two-out double in the ninth gave him 4,257 career professional hits -- counting those accrued in Japan -- one more than MLB's hit king, Pete Rose. But the Padres staged a hit parade of their own to spoil the Marlins' party Wednesday afternoon.
The Friars grabbed the lead with a fifth-inning rally in which they used four consecutive two-out hits to score three times. Derek Norris' two-strike, two-run single was the critical blow, putting the Padres on top for good in a 6-3 victory over the Marlins at Petco Park.
Ichiro, who finished 2-for-5, opened the game with an infield single to tie Rose, and the next two Marlins followed suit. But Padres starter Luis Perdomo -- filling in for an ailing Andrew Cashner -- escaped that jam by allowing just Ichiro to score, and he settled down after that. Perdomo allowed three runs over six frames, while recording 10 groundouts en route to his first win as a starter.
"He's got some of the best hitters in the game beating him into the ground," said Padres manager Andy Green. "We couldn't have asked for him to take a bigger step forward at this point in time. His last few outings have been outstanding."
With the victory, the Padres snapped a four-game skid and ended a series with a win for the first time since beating the Cubs twice in a doubleheader on May 11. On the season, they're just 2-20 in series finales.
"If you ask me, I'll take the first two out of the series and lose the last one, keep the streak going," Green quipped.
The Marlins capped their road trip at 4-5, taking two of three at San Diego.
"Frustrating today, because we get an early lead," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Then we were able to jump back up, and then, at that point, we can't hold them off. And we don't score. You've got to get a little greedy. You talk about winning the series, but when you have two games in your pocket, then you've got to get greedy and try to get the third. This is disappointing. It ends up making our road trip 4-5 instead of 5-4."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ichiro reaches milestone: Every Ichiro at-bat is a chance to witness history. Two pitches into the game, the 42-year-old slapped a swinging bunt single. The infield hit, on a 93-mph fastball, raised Ichiro's combined hit total to 4,256 (counting nine seasons in Japan).
Then he delivered a sharp double to right in the ninth to reach 4,257. Ichiro now has 2,979 big league hits -- 21 shy of 3,000. MLB doesn't recognize combined numbers. So Ichiro's achievement isn't an official record. But the single to lead off the game did factor into Miami taking an early lead. He scored on Christian Yelich's RBI single.
"I hope that one day, a player maybe like Derek Jeter ... obviously, he's already retired. ... But somebody like a Derek Jeter would challenge Mr. Rose's record and be able to pass it," Ichiro said through his interpreter. "Somebody that played the game the right way. Somebody of his caliber [Jeter]. A superstar would pass his record. That's kind of how I feel about that." More >
Up and out:Melvin Upton Jr. tied the game in the bottom of the second when he smacked a Justin Nicolino fastball to the deepest part of the park. The ball landed in "the Beach" section in right-center field and left Upton's bat at 104 mph, according to Statcast™. Upton finished a triple shy of the cycle, scoring twice and driving in a pair.
"I'm starting to see the ball better," Upton said. "I've been working on some things, and it's starting to come around."
Added Green: "It was just a matter of time for a good player to get hot again."
No shutdown inning for Nicolino: The lack of a shutdown inning in the fourth loomed large for Nicolino. After Miami claimed a 3-1 lead in the top of the frame, Nicolino surrendered a run in the bottom of the inning on Ryan Schimpf's sacrifice fly, allowing the Padres to close to within a run. San Diego them claimed the lead for good in the fifth, scoring three runs -- all with two outs -- off Nicolino, who lasted just 4 2/3 innings. In his last seven starts, the lefty has a 6.44 ERA.
"I just made bad pitches," Nicolino said. "I didn't bear down when I needed to. The offense kept putting up runs for me there. I couldn't get a shutdown inning."
The arrow flies again:Fernando Rodney has yet to allow an earned run this year, and with a scoreless ninth on Wednesday -- for his 13th save -- Rodney increased that streak to 23 1/3 frames. He allowed an Adeiny Hechavarria single and Ichiro's double before getting Martin Prado to fly out to right and end the threat. Randy Jones owns the Padres' record for most innings without an earned run to start a season, with 26 in 1975.
"If somebody were to pass Mr. Rose's record, playing all of their games in Japan, that would be even harder to do, or more amazing, for the fact that they play less games there. To be able to get that many hits would just be unbelievable." -- Ichiro, on the challenges of a player in Japan reaching 4,256 hits
"You wish it wasn't in a situation where it was going to stress us out. It had to be in the ninth inning. But he's special. There's people in your life that you're privileged to have competed against, put on the same field. You tell everybody -- your children, your children's children -- you played against Ichiro, and then you got to manage against him. Those things are special. He's as good as there is. He deserves more time and attention today for what he accomplished. But we wanted to win a baseball game." -- Green on Ichiro's 4,257th hit
Looking to get himself into scoring position for the top of the Padres' order, pinch-hitter Christian Bethancourt singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth before taking off for second base. Bethancourt was thrown out by Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, and after a review that lasted just 47 seconds, the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Off on Thursday, the Marlins will open a four-game series with the Rockies on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Lefty Adam Conley (3-4, 4.13 ERA) goes in place of Jose Fernandez, who is being skipped one start as part of his innings plan. Jon Gray (4-2, 4.70) starts for the Rockies.
Padres: The Friars will play host to the Nationals on Thursday night, with Erik Johnson -- one of the two players acquired in the James Shields trade -- set for his Petco Park debut. Tanner Roark gets the ball for Washington, with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m. PT.