Suzuki gets best of Tanaka in their first matchup
Masahiro Tanaka had never faced fellow countryman Ichiro Suzuki before Monday night, and the Marlins' wily veteran -- and Japanese icon -- showed the Yankees' ace he still has some of his old tricks.
Ichiro went 2-for-4 against Tanaka to help lead the Marlins to a 2-1 victory against the Yankees.
"Just got to kind of tip your hat to him," said Tanaka. "He got two hits off of me. Just have to tip your hat to his good batting."
The Japanese legends were teammates on the Yankees last season, which was Tanaka's first in the Majors. According to the righty, the only time they had ever squared off on the field was during training camp before the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In the first inning Monday night, Suzuki lined a 93-mph fastball to right field for a clean single. In the third, Tanaka couldn't quite snare a chopper toward second base from Suzuki, and the 41-year-old beat it out for MLB hit No. 2,884. Ichiro is now tied with Zack Wheat for 38th on the all-time hit list. He is batting .288 for Miami this year.
Tanaka, 26, was able to exact some revenge by striking out Suzuki looking in the fifth before inducing a groundout in the seventh. It was Tanaka's third start since returning from a wrist and forearm injury that sidelined him for almost six weeks. He allowed two runs and nine hits over seven innings, including a seventh-inning homer to Derek Dietrich that was the difference in the game. Tanaka is now 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA.