Bronx, NY – Ichiro Suzuki achieved one of baseball's rarest milestones, though the star outfielder ended up sharing the spotlight with one of his teammates as the New York Yankees pinned another loss on the Toronto Blue Jays.
Alfonso Soriano's tie-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning was the difference in New York's 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays, a game in which Suzuki collected his 4,000th hit as a professional.
Suzuki joined legends Pete Rose and Ty Cobb as the only players to reach the 4,000-hit milestone with a first-inning single off R.A. Dickey, his lone hit in four at-bats. Of that total, 2,722 have come during his 13-year career in the majors and 1,278 were recorded while playing nine years in his native Japan.
"It's a testament to how hard he's worked, how long he's been in the game, how he stays healthy, the way he goes about his business," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Suzuki reaching the milestone. "He's a great player and he's been a great player for a long time."
Soriano's blast gave the Yankees their fourth straight triumph and ninth in 11 games, and improved their record to 11-1 against Toronto this season. The Jays have now dropped 12 consecutive matchups at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year, and they're 2-21 over their last 23 visits to the Bronx.
The homer also made a winner of David Huff (1-0), who tossed five scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief of starter Adam Warren.
Dickey (9-12) went the distance in defeat, permitting just six hits and striking out nine despite allowing all four runs.
Warren, making a spot start with Girardi opting to push Andy Pettitte back a day to throw Thursday's finale of this four-game series, lasted only three-plus innings and permitted both Toronto runs on four hits and a pair of walks.
The Blue Jays mustered little off Huff, however, with the lefty issuing four walks and not yielding a hit until Brett Lawrie singled and was left stranded in the top of the eighth to keep the game tied at 2-2.
Dickey retired the first two Yankee hitters in the bottom of the frame, but Robinson Cano singled to extend the inning for Soriano, who clubbed Dickey's fastball into the seats in left to snap the deadlock.
Toronto did bring the tying run to the plate when Rajai Davis doubled off Mariano Rivera with one out in the ninth, but the Yankee closer picked him off second before striking out Edwin Encarnacion and earn his 37th save of the year.
Suzuki wasted no time in getting his historic hit, slapping a hard grounder past a diving Lawrie at third on the third pitch he saw from Dickey. He later got to third on a pair of knucklers that got by catcher Josh Thole for passed balls, but remained there when Curtis Granderson popped up to end the first inning.
"What an incredible achievement," Dickey said of Suzuki recording his 4,000th hit. "And the manner in which he's done it is equally as impressive...just the longevity, the endurance, the durability. It couldn't have happened to a more professional hitter."
Shortly afterward, Toronto went in front when Anthony Gose singled in the top of the second, stole second, and came around on Munenori Kawasaki's line-drive single to right.
The Yankees quickly drew even, however, by manufacturing a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Eduardo Nunez led off with a single and was soon on third following a stolen base and a wild pitch. Blue Jays left fielder Kevin Pillar then made a leaping catch against the wall on Austin Romine's long drive, but Nunez easily tagged and scored on the sacrifice fly.
Cano doubled in the third and was brought home on Granderson's two- out single to put New York ahead, though the lead was short-lived after Thole crushed a Warren fastball into the visitor's bullpen for a solo homer to begin the fourth.
Dickey, meanwhile, was in a groove, setting down 14-of-15 batters in between Granderson's RBI single and Cano's hit in the eighth.
Yankees infielder Jayson Nix fractured his left hand after being hit by a Dickey knuckler in the second inning and was removed immediately afterward ... Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes, who's been battling a sore night knee, played just 1 1/2 innings before exiting ... Thole's homer was his first in the majors since April 29, 2012, which came at Colorado while with the Mets ... Warren's start was his second in the big leagues, with the other a 2 1/3- inning stint against the White Sox on June 29 of last season in which he gave up six runs ... Toronto has lost nine straight to New York in the season series, but have scored the first run in six of those defeats.