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Where EAST meets the Northwest

HUMBLE PROFESSIONAL. Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins hits a single during the first inning of a baseball game in San Diego on June 15, 2016. Suzuki singled in the first inning to match Pete Roseís major-league hit record of 4,256. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

From The Asian Reporter, V26, #12 (June 20, 2016), pages 8 & 11.

Ichiro surpasses 4,257 hits in Japan, big leagues

By Jay Paris

The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO ó With two hits in a game against the San Diego Padres, Ichiro Suzuki raised his career total in the Japanese and North American major leagues to 4,257, passing Pete Roseís record Major League Baseball (MLB) total.

"This wasnít like a goal of mine to get to this point," Suzuki said through a translator after the Marlins lost 3-6 to the San Diego Padres.

Suzuki had 1,278 hits for Orix in Japanís Pacific League (1992-2000) and has 2,979 with Seattle, the New York Yankees, and the Marlins. Rose was quoted recently by USA Today as saying: "Iím not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, heís had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, theyíll be counting his high-school hits."

"Obviously, Iíve heard of Pete Roseís comments, and he wasnít happy about what they are saying about this record," Suzuki said. "To be honest, this wasnít something that I was making out as a goal. It was just kind of a weird situation to be in because of the combined total."

Suzukiís first hit was on a dribbler in the first inning. His second was a double into the right-field corner in the ninth.

"For me, itís not about the record," Suzuki said. "Itís about my teammates and the fans."

Marlins president David Samson watched while having a sushi dinner in Germany.

"Ichiro gets a hit in the first inning and I loudly cheer. He looks at the TV and says ĎIchiro!í and the first thing he does is put down the tuna and extend his hand, and then he reaches to pull up his white coat like itís Ichiroís jersey and gets into Ichiroís batting stance," Samson said of the chef. "That to me was the most symbolic moment as it relates to Ichiro and his career. He transcends borders and demographics and religion and race. He does something very few people do. He does his job."

Suzuki joined the Marlins ahead of the 2015 season.

"If you could have 25 Ichiros, you would have 25 World Series rings." Samson said. "He is a true humble professional who works as hard when heís 0 for 5 as when heís 5 for 5. That skill cannot be taught. In a world where sports athlete are rarely role models, Ichiro is a true role model off and on the field."

Melvin Upton Jr. homered and had two RBIs, and Derek Norris had a go-ahead, two-run single for the Padres, who stopped a four-game losing streak.

Luis Perdomo (2-2) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. It was the fourth big-league start for the 23-year-old right-hander, taken by Colorado from St. Louis in Decemberís winter meeting draft and acquired by the Padres later that day.

"His confidence keeps going up," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He has the stuff."

Perdomo displayed an effective fastball with reliable secondary offerings against the Marlins.

"My pitches looked great, especially my sinker," Perdomo said. "I used my slider to strike out a lot of guys and my fastball as well."

Fernando Rodney pitched a two-hit ninth to remain perfect in 13 save chances. The Padres won for just the second time in 21 series finales and for the fourth time in 22 day games.

Justin Nicolino (2-4) gave up five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"Nico has to be razor sharp," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "And some of his pitches were getting too much of the plate."

Suzuki reached on a dribbler up the first-base line in the first. Norris, a catcher, made a sliding attempt to field the ball and throw it in one motion, but Suzuki had raced past the bag. Suzuki advanced to second on Martin Pradoís single and scored on Christian Yelichís RBI single.

In the ninth, Suzuki lined a double to the right-field corner against Rodney, then took off his helmet and waved it to applauding fans. The crowd, announced at 20,037, gave Suzuki an ovation as both teamsí players applauded for Suzuki as well.

"Ichiro is a really special player and I love to see him get this and keep his march going toward 3,000 hits," Mattingly said. "It says a lot about him as a player, how he prepares every day and his love for playing."

Green seconded Mattingly: "Heís special. There are people in your life which youíre privileged with competing against and you get to manage against. Heís as good as there is."

Uptonís second homer of the series tied the score in the second, and Miami took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on J.T. Realmutoís RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Miguel Rojas.

Ryan Schimpf, recently called up from Triple-A, cut the gap with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, and the Padres took a 5-3 lead in the fifth when Norris hit a two-run single and scored on Uptonís single.

Wil Myers added an RBI double in the sixth against Nick Wittgren.

Miami had two on in the sixth when Myers ranged from first to make an over-the-shoulder catch on Miguel Rojasí two-out flare to shallow right field.


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