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Beat the Streak leader within 10 of reaching 57

MLB.com

When the Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki picked up an infield single in the first inning on Wednesday afternoon in San Diego, it gave him 4,256 professional hits, counting his nine seasons in Japan. That equaled Pete Rose's record total in the Majors -- and pushed Ken Gilman toward Beat the Streak glory.

Ichiro, who finished 2-for-5 to pass Rose's total, extended Gilman's streak to 47 games. That's the longest of the season, is tied for fourth in BTS history and puts Gilman 10 games away from collecting the $5.6 million grand prize by passing Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game run from 1941.

When the Marlins' Ichiro Suzuki picked up an infield single in the first inning on Wednesday afternoon in San Diego, it gave him 4,256 professional hits, counting his nine seasons in Japan. That equaled Pete Rose's record total in the Majors -- and pushed Ken Gilman toward Beat the Streak glory.

Ichiro, who finished 2-for-5 to pass Rose's total, extended Gilman's streak to 47 games. That's the longest of the season, is tied for fourth in BTS history and puts Gilman 10 games away from collecting the $5.6 million grand prize by passing Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game run from 1941.

Gilman, who plays under the username "peterose4477," trails only Mike Karatzia (49 games in 2007), Bob Paradise (48 in '08) and Steve Summer (48 in '11) on the all-time list. The 43-year-old is now tied with William Bryan, who also got to 47 in '13.

It's been a busy time for Gilman, who lives in Natick, Mass., just outside of Boston. His wife just had the couple's first baby, a girl, last Saturday, leading him to joke that his first purchase with the prize money would be, "a lot of diapers."

"Then I would get us out of the condo we're living in and buy a house," Natick wrote in an email to MLB.com. "Celebrating with friends and family is a must, and then I guess I should probably save some if there's anything left."

This is Gilman's second year of playing BTS, and he is enjoying easily his longest streak during that time. Although he is a Red Sox fan, his pick-making process goes far beyond his favorite club.

"There are several strategies I use for picking players," he said. "Especially now that my streak is in the 40s I do quite a bit of research for each pick. I almost always take a player who is batting .300 or better or at least close. I'll look at the history of the player against the pitcher, how hot the batter is, will always take a player who bats in the first [three] positions in the batting order and prefer to take players on the road. This way it guarantees their team to bat in the [ninth] inning. The difference between a player having [five] at-bats to only [four] at-bats is huge."

Sure enough, on Wednesday Gilman chose Ichiro, who came in batting .347 -- including .421 over his past 14 games -- and was leading off for the Marlins, who were on the road at Petco Park.

Meanwhile, Gilman's closest challenger, user "CollinMills," upped his streak to 43 games on Wednesday by selecting Xander Bogaerts, whose Red Sox were hosting the Orioles. The man behind those picks is Collin Mills, a 21-year-old from Citra, Fla., who stuck to his strategy of selecting one of the top three players in Boston's lineup -- Bogaerts, Mookie Betts or Dustin Pedroia. Mills got to 42 on Tuesday by going with Pedroia against Baltimore.

"I picked Bogaerts because coming into today's game he was hitting .355 and went 0-for-3 [on Tuesday], so my logic was that he wouldn't have another game in a row with no hits," said Mills.

While both Mills and Gilman made only one selection on Wednesday, BTS users also have the option of using the "Double Down" feature. Double Down allows fans to advance their streak by two games, but only if both of their picks get a hit. If one goes hitless, the streak ends.

Additionally, BTS research filters such as batting-order position, right- or left-handed pitchers and cold opposing pitchers are at fans' disposal to help make their decisions. They can also take as many days off between selections if they don't find ideal matchups -- just as long as they exceed 56 by season's end.

Since Beat the Streak launched more than 15 years ago, no one has made 57 straight correct picks to win the grand prize of $5.6 million. Besides the $10,000 consolation prize, 2 million other prizes were awarded for streaks as small as five games last year.

If someone finally collects the grand prize this year, it would be particularly fitting. After all, it's the 75-year anniversary of DiMaggio's remarkable streak, which is being commemorated with daily recaps on MLB.com and @TheStreak on Twitter.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.