Seiya Suzuki marks return to Cubs with thrilling inside-the-park home run
MILWAUKEE — Seiya Suzuki marked his return to the Cubs in the most exhilarating manner.
With one out in a tie game in the 9th inning and facing arguably the game’s best closer, Suzuki ripped a 110-mph liner to the center field wall that caromed across the warning track, past center fielder Jonathan Davis.
Suzuki zipped through the base paths and as he neared third base, Davis had yet to retrieve the ball. So, third base coach Willie Harris waved his arm rapidly in a large circular motion telling Suzuki to try and complete the most exciting play in baseball. Suzuki felt the weight of his legs on the play, so he wouldn’t have been too upset to see Harris throw up his hands to have him hold at third.
“His legs are getting pretty tired, so he’s waiting for someone to say stop,” Suzuki said with a smile through translator Toy Matsushita. “He’s waiting for Willie Harris to stop him, but he waved him around third, so he just ran at his best to make sure he gets safe at home and obviously that’s what happened and he’s very happy about it.”
He took the turn toward home plate and evaded the would be tag of Victor Caratini and sliding in at home plate for a go-ahead, inside-the park home run. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead on the play, but the Brewers rallied in the bottom of the 9th to force extra innings. The Cubs fell to the Brewers in the 10th on a walk-off, 3-run home run by Caratini.
It’s the first inside-the-park home run by a Cubs player since Javy Báez did so on Aug. 7, 2017, against Matt Moore of the Giants in San Francisco. Suzuki was
The thrilling play capped a triumphant return for Suzuki. He hadn’t appeared in a game since injuring his left ring finger on May 26 in Cincinnati and went 2-for-4 in his return.
“Obviously my injury kinda prolonged my time out from this team and I was very frustrated,” Suzuki said. “So this game kinda meant a lot to me … But the fact that I was able to display what I did today was something that I’m very satisfied with and I just wanna continue contributing to the team.”
The Cubs wanted to make sure they didn’t rush back his return. They didn’t want him overcompensating as he continues to adjust to big-league pitching if he wasn’t 100%.
“I think he’s been itching for awhile, that’s why we’ve had the back and forth of trying to slow him down and making sure he’s 100%,” David Ross said prior to the game. “But he’s feels great. No issues on the finger. I think that’s when were gonna see him at his best, so we’re happy to get him back and he’s excited to be back.”
Ross was excited to get Suzuki’s bat back in the lineup. His return added another threat for the Cubs. Against Milwaukee, Suzuki’s insertion to the lineup pushed the slugging Patrick Wisdom to the 6-spot.
“Getting him back in the lineup deepens everything, pushing some guys down a little bit,” Ross said. “It’s nice to have him back. We’ll see how it looks.”