Nine hours and 18 innings later, with most of the Yankees looking forward to a late dinner and some well-deserved sleep, Ichiro Suzuki didn't want to take his uniform off.
Tired? Hardly. After racking up seven hits and four stolen bases, along with a sliding, game-saving catch in Game 1 and the winning RBI single in Game 2, Ichiro wasn't ready to leave the field when the Yankees' sweep of the Blue Jays was finally complete.
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"I'm very sad that this day is over," Ichiro said through his interpreter. "It was a great day."
Ice Cube has got nothing on Ichiro, whose two-out single off the Blue Jays' sidearming lefthander Aaron Loup snapped a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning. By then, it was almost expected. In his seven previous at-bats, Ichiro had two double and four singles. The only time he failed to reach base was the fifth inning of Game 1 when he struck out.
"He's a magician with that bat," Nick Swisher said. When asked what was most impressive about Ichiro's day, Swisher replied, "The fact that he got seven hits in one day, bro."
It was the first time in Ichiro's 12-year major-league career that he had at least three hits in two games in one day. It also was just the third time Ichiro has totaled as many as six hits in a doubleheader, the last coming against the Orioles in 2004.
"An unbelievable day," said Joe Girardi, who admitted afterward he would now be more receptive to using Ichiro against lefthanders as well, a development that could severely curtail Andruw Jones' playing time.
Said Derek Jeter: "That's tough to do. I've been on the other side of it, maybe 0-for-8, but he did what he always does. That was a much needed day from him for us."
Ichiro also had four stolen bases in Game 2, becoming the first Yankee to do so since Tony Womack in 2005. The four hits and four stolen bases made Ichiro the first major-leaguer to accomplish that feat since the Rangers' Julio Borbon in 2009. The last Yankee to do it was Rickey Henderson in 1988.
In addition, Ichiro is just the seventh player in franchise history to get at least three hits in each game of a doubleheader, joining Jeter (2008), Johnny Damon (2006), Willie Randolph (1987), Dave Winfield (1983), Matty Alou (1973) and Roy White (1972).
"I came in the middle of the season and I just wanted to contribute, to help in this pennant race," Ichiro said. "Today was a good day. I was able to do that."