NEW YORK – Ichiro Suzuki notched another milestone in his long career on Thursday when he became the most prolific foreign-born hitter in the history of Major League Baseball.
The 43-year-old right fielder reached the mark with two hits for the Miami Marlins against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
With 3,054 career hits, Suzuki passed the previous record of 3,053 held by Panama-born Rod Carew.
Ichiro is now 23rd on the all-time list, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Ichiro lined a ball off right-hander Michael Wacha (6-3) into center field for a single in the second, and singled to center off left-handed reliever Brett Cecil in the eighth.
Luke Voit homered and drove in three runs for St. Louis in the victory.
“I think when I’m done playing and I look back, think of the good memories, maybe this is one of those. But that’s tough to do now, still playing,” Ichiro told the Miami Herald.
Ichiro is in his 17th season in the major leagues with his third team after spells with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
He has played 2,572 regular-season games, and has had nearly 10,000 at-bats, for a career batting average of .312.
“To me it’s important whose record (I beat),” said Ichiro.
“I’ve received a letter from him (Carew) and I can tell he really cares for me,” Ichiro said. “There are a lot of guys who were great as players but only a few who remain great after they retire. It’s amazing how someone of his caliber can remain so down-to-earth.”
Ichiro said Panamanian legend Carew, who gave him a handwritten letter shortly before he joined the 3,000-hit club last season, reminds him of all-time home run king and current SoftBank Hawks chairman Sadaharu Oh, making the record “all the more special.”
Rays 4, Red Sox 1
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Wilson Ramos homered and drove in three against Chris Sale despite the All-Star’s record-setting performance, rookie Jake Faria remained unbeaten and Tampa Bay beat Boston.
Sale (11-4) struck out 12 while giving up four runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Blue Jays 7, Astros 4
In Toronto, Russell Martin homered and matched a season high with three hits, Josh Donaldson broke out of his slump with a go-ahead single and the Blue Jays beat Houston.
Brewers 11, Cubs 2
In Chicago, Ryan Braun homered to ignite a seven-run third inning and Milwaukee beat the Cubs for its fourth straight victory.
Tigers 6, Giants 2
In Detroit, Anibal Sanchez pitched six strong innings and Dixon Machado hit his first career home run to lift the Tigers over San Francisco.
Indians 11, Padres 2
In Cleveland, Edwin Encarnacion homered and matched a career high with four hits, All-Star Jose Ramirez hit a home run and had three RBIs, and the Indians, playing their third straight game without hospitalized manager Terry Francona, defeated San Diego.
Pirates 6, Phillies 3
In Philadelphia, Gregory Polanco had four hits with a home run and two RBIs, and Josh Bell homered, doubled and drove in three runs to lead Pittsburgh over the Phillies.
Reds 6, Rockies 3
In Denver, Sal Romano tossed five innings to earn his first major league win and Cincinnati beat Colorado.
Twins 6, Orioles 4
In Minneapolis, Eduardo Escobar’s two-run triple highlighted a six-run third inning as Minnesota beat Baltimore.
Braves 5, Nationals 2
In Washington, Freddie Freeman drove in two runs and Mike Foltynewicz quieted the Nationals’ bats as Atlanta won following an unusually dry rain delay that lasted more than three hours.
Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 4
In Los Angeles, Chris Taylor singled in the winning run in the bottom of a four-run ninth inning, helping the NL West-leading Dodgers rally for a victory over the second-place Arizona to complete a three-game sweep.
Athletics 7, Mariners 4
In Seattle, Khris Davis hit a three-run homer, Paul Blackburn pitched one-run ball into the eighth inning for his first major league victory and Oakland beat the slumping Mariners.
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