Seattle, WA – Wearing the unfamiliar No. 31, Ichiro Suzuki strode to the plate for his first Yankee at-bat in the third to a standing ovation and a charade of cheers from the place he called home for the past 11- plus years.
Suzuki returned the favor to the Seattle faithful with a traditional bow of respect to both sides of the stadium and then fittingly reached out and slapped a solid single to center.
The 38-year-old went 1-for-4 and stole a base in his Yankees debut, while Hiroki Kuroda spun seven innings of one-run ball as New York snapped its season-high four-game losing streak with a 4-1 triumph over the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a three-game set.
"I was on the opposite side today, it looks different being over here," said Suzuki through an interpreter. "But I was kind of worried getting up on that first at bat, but, with the standing ovation, I was really relieved. It was a special day today."
The Yankees acquired Suzuki, who is in the final year of his contract, from the Mariners earlier Monday in exchange for minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar and cash.
"We're excited to have him," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of Suzuki. "It just changes our lineup when you have a guy that can do the things that he can do."
Suzuki, a 10-time American League All-Star, is Seattle's all-time leader in hits (2,533), runs scored (1,176), triples (79) and at-bats (7,858).
The AL MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001, Suzuki had spent his entire career with the Mariners, hitting .322 over that span. He was named an All- Star in 10 straight seasons from 2001-2010, while capturing a Gold Glove Award in each of those campaigns.
He did not wear his traditional No. 51 in respect for legendary Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams.
"It was a weird feeling," said Mariners catcher John Jaso of not having Suzuki on the team. "Once the game started the only weird thing was seeing him in a Yankees uniform.
Kuroda (10-7) fanned nine and surrendered three hits to win his career-high tying fourth straight decision.
Alex Rodriguez tallied two hits, including a solo homer, and two runs, Mark Teixeira recorded three hits, an RBI and a run scored and Rafael Soriano notched his 25th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Kevin Millwood (3-8) was charged with three runs on nine hits and two walks in seven innings for Seattle, which had won five of its last seven.
Jaso's RBI single in the third opened the scoring for Seattle, but the Yankees retaliated with a three-run fourth and plated another in the eighth.
Rodriguez smacked a one-out double to center and after Robinson Cano walked, Teixeira brought Rodriguez home with a double to right. A pair of singles by Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones plated Cano and Teixeira, respectively, to give New York a 3-1 advantage.
Rodriguez drilled a leadoff homer in the eighth into the seats in left-center to increase the Yankees margin to 4-1.
In the ninth, Jesus Montero flied out to Suzuki in right to end the game.
Suzuki batted .261 with 49 runs scored and a team-high 15 stolen bases in 95 games with the Mariners this season...The Yankees designated Dewayne Wise for assignment to clear a roster spot for Suzuki...Rodriguez's homer was the 644th of his career.