Marlins rack up the hits to take series from Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki was floored by the consistent, appreciative reception from a packed road crowd, which cheered him every chance it got.

He was touched, too, by actions of St. Louis Cardinals players who gave him plenty of time to gather it in all weekend.

Catcher Yadier Molina set the tone on Friday night when Suzuki was announced as a pinch hitter. Pitcher Adam Wainwright walked away from the rubber before another pinch-hit at-bat on Saturday. And before a rare start as the leadoff man in the series finale Sunday, he got a nice round of applause.

The 42-year-old showed them he has plenty left in the tank, too.

Marlins 6, Cardinals 3

Suzuki doubled, singled twice and had another hit taken away on a replay challenge, leaving him six shy of 3,000 in the Miami Marlins’ 6-3 victory.

"These are three games that I’ll probably never forget," he said through a translator. "I don’t think I could have experienced something like this unless it was here in St. Louis," adding of the Cardinals stars, "It was hard to look at them as the enemy."

Suzuki made just his second start this month with All-Star Marcell Ozuna getting a day off. He’s been largely reduced to pinch hitting behind a set outfield, and singled in that role on Friday.

He’ll be back to a bench role on Monday in Philadelphia, with no complaints.

"I think Ich is taking a lot of pressure off of everyone, just because he talks about playing till he’s 50," manager Don Mattingly said. "So, he should be able to get, what is it, seven more hits in the next seven years?"

Suzuki also walked, scored a run and came up just short on his bid to beat out an infield hit. All of that in wilting, 93-degree heat for a player who’d been 3 for 11 in July.

Ichiro Suzuki joins 3,000 hit club

"I guess me being close to 3,000, the fans reacted that way and treated me this way, it was just an amazing experience," Suzuki said.

Giancarlo Stanton’s second double of the game drove in the go-ahead run in a two-run seventh against Jonathan Broxton (1-2).

Christian Yelich had two hits and three RBIs and Jeff Mathis bunted home a hit for Miami, which took two of three for just its second series win the last seven years in St. Louis.

Matt Holliday batted cleanup for the first time this season and had three of the Cardinals’ four hits, including his 16th homer. But St. Louis struck out 15 times, including four by Randal Grichuk and three by Tommy Pham.

Kyle Barraclough (5-2) had three strikeouts in 1 2-3 perfect relief innings and A.J. Ramos earned his 29th save in 30 chances. The bullpen worked 3 2-3 scoreless innings after finishing with two spotless frames in a 5-0 loss Saturday.

"Great pitching, great hitting, great defense," Ramos said. "We’ve been doing that all year, so if we continue that I think we’ll be fine."

The Marlins have won five of six overall and are seven games above .500, matching their high water mark of the season.

"It’s obviously more fun to play," Ramos said. "We’re never really out of a game, we keep pushing and pushing."

Marlins starter Adam Conley matched his career high with nine strikeouts, giving up two earned runs in 5 1-3 innings. He didn’t mind the heat, saying he pitched in those conditions "it seemed like every day game in Mobile, Alabama, in the Southern League."

"I try to put everything on an even playing field," Conley said. "Nobody out there was comfortable."

Michael Wacha needed 101 pitches to get 12 outs for St. Louis and gave up three runs on seven hits. Four innings matched his shortest outing of the season.

"They were definitely grinding out some at-bats, for sure," Wacha said.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Jose Fernandez (11-4, 2.52) works the opener of a four-game series at Philadelphia.

Cardinals: Mike Leake (6-7, 4.14) had a season-high 10 strikeouts his last time out at Milwaukee.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: 1B Justin Bour (ankle) could rejoin the team next weekend.

Cardinals: 1B-OF Brandon Moss (ankle) is making slow progress and is still in a walking boot.

LONG BALL

The Cardinals have homered in eight straight games but are just 4-4 in that stretch.