August 21, 2014

DENVER -- Ichiro Suzuki made a cameo appearance Friday night, a three-pitch at-bat as a pinch-hitter that was preceded by a successful strategic move by Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss and ended with a strikeout, leaving Ichiro at 2,998 hits,

Manager Don Mattingly has not said when Ichiro might next start. Unlike Friday, the Rockies are starting right-handed pitchers on Saturday night (Chad Bettis) and Sunday afternoon (Jon Gray).

Mattingly sent Ichiro up to pinch hit with one out in the seventh Friday and right-hander Scott Oberg on the mound. Weiss countered with left-hander Boone Logan, who had limited left-handed hitters to an average of .135 (10-for-74) with 26 strikeouts.

Ichiro took a first-pitch strike, fouled off the third and took the third for strike three. Since his last hit July 28, Ichiro is 0-for-11 in seven games that include one start and he is 8-for-35 (.229) since the All-Star break.

In a pregame interview with the Marlins' beat writers, Ichiro admitted this slow climb to 3,000 hits has been unlike anything he has experienced in a professional career that began in 1992.

"I feel pressure every time I get up to the plate," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "But there are different types of pressure. This is a different type of pressure. This experience, I'll never be able to get this experience again. The fans that cheer me on, I feel obviously I want to get a hit. When I don't, I feel bad that I wasn't able to do it in front of them."

While Ichiro waits for the two grand moments that will make him the 30th player in major league history to scale the 3,000-hit summit, Andrew Cashner will make his second start for the Marlins since being acquired from San Diego. He's 4-7 with a 4.54 ERA overall. In his Marlins debut Sunday, Cashner was not involved in the decision after pitching six innings against St. Louis and allowing four hits and two runs, one earned, with no walks and two strikeouts. The Marlins won 5-4.

Bettis is 9-6 with a 5.16 ERA. On Sunday at New York, he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings with two walks and a season-high-tying eight strikeouts. Bettis was in line for the win since the Rockies scored once in the seventh to go ahead 4-3, but in the bottom of the inning, Logan gave up a three-run homer to Neil Walker that gave the Mets a 4-3 win.

Bettis, who will be making his first start against the Marlins, is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his past five starts.

The Rockies have lost two straight games to fall to 2-2 on their current eight-game homestand. The Dodgers behind Kenta Maeda beat them 4-2 on Thursday. On Friday, the Rockies scored three runs in the eighth to go ahead 3-1, only to have the Marlins rough up closer Carlos Estevez for four runs in the ninth to win 5-3.

"Late losses are always frustrating," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We'll bounce back tomorrow, win a game tomorrow."

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