ST. LOUIS (AP) John Lackey’s only disappointment, and it was mild, was getting lifted two outs shy of a complete game.
The 36-year-old right-hander wasn’t surprised to see manager Mike Matheny after allowing a one-out hit in the ninth inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 6-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night. Although he’s successfully lobbied in the past, he just gave up the ball.
”He kind of told me I was going hitter to hitter. You can’t do that every time; it’s not as effective the next time,” Lackey said with a laugh.
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Lackey gave the Cardinals an unexpected bonus with two hits and an RBI. He entered a career .091 hitter and this was his third career two-hit game.
”I think both of them were just first-pitch fastballs down and away,” loser Brad Hand said. ”He put good swings on them.”
Mark Reynolds’ three-run home run on a 3-0 pitch in the sixth put the first-place Cardinals ahead by four and Randal Grichuk hit his 15th homer in the first. Rookie Stephen Piscotty had three hits and scored twice, helping the Cardinals win their eighth out of 10.
Lackey (10-7) allowed two runs on nine hits in 8 1-3 innings to reach double figures in victories for the 12th time in 13 seasons – the exception being 2012, which was lost to injury. He has been especially good at home, going 8-3 with a 1.91 ERA.
Hand (2-3) allowed six runs on 11 hits in six innings, keeping it close until the sixth.
”I wasn’t trying to lay one in for him just to get a strike, but to make a quality pitch down” Hand said of the Reynolds at-bat. ”It just got a little bit too much of the plate.”
Lackey balked home a run in the second but got it back in the bottom half with a two-out broken-bat single for his second RBI of the season. He then added a single in the fourth.
Justin Bour ended a 30-game homer drought for the Marlins, who are 0-5 against St. Louis this season and will try to avoid a three-game sweep on Sunday.
The Cardinals are now a season-high 34 games above .500 and improved their home record to 44-17.
Hand worked seven innings of two-hit ball at Atlanta in his last start and had allowed one run in 11 innings his first two starts since rejoining the rotation.
Ichiro Suzuki singled in the first for his 4,192nd career hit in the major leagues and Japan, unofficially passing Ty Cobb’s total that ranks second in history. The 41-year-old Suzuki also singled in the third and has 2,915 major league hits and 1,278 hits in nine seasons for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan.
Suzuki got a standing ovation from a sellout crowd and responded by doffing his helmet and bowing.
”That’s such a great thing to see and be a part of,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. ”He certainly deserved that moment.”
If Suzuki’s hit total is downgraded by some, there’s nothing he can do about it.
”I think that’s for people to decide and for people to talk about and decide for themselves,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. ”There’s really nothing I can do.”
Marlins: Christian Yelich (knee bruise) was placed on the 15-day DL. Marcell Ozuna was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans and batted fifth, singling his first trip.
David Phelps (4-8, 4.35) is 3 1-3 innings shy of his career high of 113 with the Yankees last year and starts on 10 days’ rest. The Cardinals are 18-3 when Carlos Martinez (12-4) gets the nod.
The Cardinals inducted Bob Forsch, Curt Flood, George Kissell and Ted Simmons into the team’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony earlier in the day. All but Simmons, now a scout for the Marlins, were inducted posthumously. ”They do it up right and it’s real,” Simmons said. ”They want fans and the inductees to know that this is a big deal and when those inductees go in, put that jacket on, you realize what’s happening. This is not small potatoes.”