Ichiro Suzuki kept his hitting streak with the Yankees alive in dramatic fashion, smacking a solo home run to rightfield in the seventh inning of last night's 5-4 loss to Baltimore at the Stadium. It was the 100th career home run and first in pinstripes for Ichiro, who has hits in each of his seven games with the Bombers.
"That was very special," Ichiro said through an interpreter of his first Yankees homer before downplaying his career milestone. "I've been playing for 11 1/2 years so 100 home runs, not that I'm embarrassed, but maybe it's not something to make a big deal out of."
Ichiro had a chance for more dramatics in the ninth but came up short. With one out and the potential tying and winning runs on base, Ichiro grounded into a fielder's choice. He later stole second base, his third steal with the Yankees, to move the winning run into scoring position for Russell Martin.
"Obviously I would have liked to [have] seen a result of making that comeback but you could see the pressure we put on the other team and that's what I saw on the other side, too," Ichiro said of the near comeback. "We're just a hit away."
Ichiro's fifth homer of the season came after Eric Chavez homered into the second deck in rightfield to cut the Orioles' lead to 5-4 and chase Orioles rookie Miguel Gonzalez after 6 2/3 innings. It was the seventh time this season the Yankees hit back-to-back home runs.
Since the Yankees acquired Ichiro for righthanded pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar on July 23, he has gone 7-for-27 (.259). His seven-game hit streak is one shy of his season high.
Will hitting his first home run as a Yankee make the 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glover aim for the short rightfield porch at the Stadium? Don't count on it.
"There's a risk in that for me. You're not able to play the way you normally do," he said. "There's a lot of guys on this team that can hit home runs."