NEW YORK – The New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki moved within one of a career 4,000 hits after going 2-for-5 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Ichiro, who had 1,278 hits in nine seasons with the Orix BlueWave in Japan, doubled in the third inning and singled in the seventh of the Yankees’ 8-4 victory.
In the second game, which the Yankees won 3-2, the former Seattle Mariner came on as a pinch runner in the ninth, stole third and scored the winning run on Jayson Nix’s base hit.
The 39-year-old Ichiro said he was overwhelmed by chants of “Ichi-ro!” from the New York fans, who were on their feet in the eighth inning of the first game before Ichiro grounded out in his final at-bat.
“I’m surprised so many people know about it, which is quite touching,” Ichiro said. “Because I’ve only had a handful of hits in New York, and I doubt whether it’s important to them.”
Only two players have reached the 4,000-hit milestone in the majors, Pete Rose with 4,256 and Ty Cobb with 4,191.
In the opener, Robinson Cano and Chris Stewart each hit three-run homers to rally the Yankees from four runs down.
“I feel like we’ve had a little bit of a jolt in our team and we’re playing really well right now,” Nix said. “I think Sori (Alfonso Soriano) coming over here, first off, brings a whole lot of energy to the team. . . . and then Al (Alex Rodriguez) coming as well and playing good. I feel like as a whole the team’s playing a lot better. I think we all feel pretty good for this final push.”
Cano had an RBI single in the second game and had six hits and five RBIs in the two games for New York, which has won eight of 10 and is 9-6 since Rodriguez returned on Aug. 5.
Toronto slugger Jose Bautista made an early exit in the opener and was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his left hip. He says he was initially injured trying to score about two weeks ago.
“I am about 70 percent,” Bautista said. “I don’t think I am doing the team any favors playing with it right now.”
Manager John Gibbons said Bautista will rest for two weeks then be evaluated before the next step is planned.
With a full moon hanging over the right field rafters in the night game, Darren Oliver (3-4) walked Mark Reynolds to start the ninth.
Ichiro pinch ran and advanced on Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice bunt. Ichiro stole third, which forced Toronto to bring the infield in. He scored on Nix’s line drive to left.
“It changes it a lot. It makes my job a lot easier,” Nix said of Ichiro’s 18th stolen base.
Munenori Kawasaki went 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Blue Jays in the nightcap.
Indians 4, Angels 1 (14)
In Anaheim, Drew Stubbs hit a two-run homer in the 14th inning.
Twins 6, Tigers 3
In Detroit, Justin Morneau had a season-high four hits, including a two-run homer and a two-run double, and Glen Perkins struck out Miguel Cabrera with two on for the final out.
Rays 7, Orioles 4
In Baltimore, Alex Cobb took a two-hitter into the seventh inning, and Matt Joyce drove in three runs.
White Sox 2, Royals 0
In Kansas City, John Danks shut down the Royals’ scuffling offense for eight innings, and Chicago did just enough damage against Ervin Santana to squeak out a victory.
Mariners 7, Athletics 4
In Oakland, Nick Franklin hit a home run and drove in three runs and the Mariners rallied from a four-run deficit.
Rangers 4, Astros 2
In Arlington, Texas, Adrian Beltre hit his 26th homer for the AL West-leading Rangers.
Dodgers 6, Marlins 4
In Miami, with his first swing of the night, Yasiel Puig ended a slump and silenced speculation he’s in trouble.
He came off the bench to hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning.
Mets 5, Braves 3
In New York, rookie Zack Wheeler beat NL East-leading Atlanta for the third time, pitching shutout ball into the seventh inning.
Rockies 5, Phillies 3
In Philadelphia, Troy Tulowitzki and Wilin Rosario homered.
Diamondbacks 5, Reds 2
In Cincinnati, Paul Goldschmidt set a club record with his third grand slam of the season and became the first NL player to drive in 100 runs.
Nationals 4, Cubs 2
In Chicago, Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and drove in a run, and Bryce Harper had two hits and scored a crucial ninth-inning run.
Brewers 6, Cardinals 3
In Milwaukee, Kyle Lohse beat St. Louis for the first time this season and Sean Halton knocked in a career-high three runs.
Norichika Aoki finished 1-for-3 for the Brewers.
Pirates 8, Padres 1
In San Diego, A.J. Burnett threw seven strong innings and Pittsburgh had six extra-base hits.
Giants 3, Red Sox 2
In San Francisco, Brayan Villarreal walked Marco Scutaro with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.