Ichiro gets 3,019th hit, first pinch-hit homer

Ichiro gets 3,019th hit, first pinch-hit homer

MIAMI -- Chalk up another first for Ichiro Suzuki.

The 42-year-old, who joined MLB's vaunted 3,000-hit club in August, achieved something Tuesday night he had never done before -- he belted a pinch-hit home run. The two-run blast in the eighth inning gave the Marlins hope in a game they eventually lost, 4-3, to the Phillies at Marlins Park.

The drive to right field also was Ichiro's first home run of the season, and it was career hit No. 3,019, placing him one shy of Rafael Palmeiro (3,020) for 26th place in MLB history.

"Ich's home run, obviously, gets us back in it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It gives us a little bit of life. So that was obviously big for us."

The Marlins trailed, 4-1, when Adeiny Hechavarria led off the eighth inning with a double off Hector Neris. Ichiro batted for reliever A.J. Ramos. On a 2-1 pitch, Ichiro deposited the ball over the wall in right and into the Marlins' bullpen. According to Statcast™, the home run landed a projected 369 feet away, with an exit velocity of 97 mph.

Ichiro's primary role as a fourth outfielder has been to be a late-inning pinch-hit option, because he hits both left- and right-handed pitching. What he has repeatedly given the Marlins is a quality at-bat. But until Tuesday, he hadn't displayed any home run power.

As a pinch-hitter this season, Ichiro is now hitting .265 (13-for-49) with one home run and five RBIs. In his career as a pinch-hitter, the legendary outfielder is 34-for-133 (.256). In that role, he's also drawn seven walks and was hit by a pitch.

Ichiro, batting .295 on the season, remained in the game, playing right field. He had one more at-bat in the ninth inning, which gave him an opportunity to match Palmeiro on the all-time hits list. But with runners on first and second, he lined out to left field against closer Jeanmar Gomez.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.