Kuroda stellar in Ichiro’s debut; Yankees beat Mariners 4-1


The New York Yankees pulled off a significant trade for one of the Seattle Mariners best players ever, Ichiro Suzuki, hours before the teams were set to play the opener of a three-game series last night. Ichiro packed up his locker on the home side of Safeco Field and planted himself on the visiting side, donning number 31 for the first-place Yankees.

Ichiro received a rousing standing ovation from the fans during announcements and before he stepped into the batter’s box. He lined a single up the middle in the second inning and then stole second base on his former catcher John Jaso. Suzuki would end up 1-for-4 and made the final catch of the game.

While Ichiro was the talk of the game, Hiroki Kuroda provided a great performance on the mound. He struck out nine batters in seven innings allowing only a single run in the third inning. He gave up just three hits and walked just one en route to his 10th win of the season. He joins CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova as ten-game winners for the Yankees.

The Yankees offense was not exactly ripping Kevin Millwood, but they got to him for three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Alex Rodriguez doubled with one out and Robinson Cano followed with a walk. Mark Teixeira doubled home Rodriguez for the Bombers first run. Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones tallied RBI-singles to give the Yankees and Kuroda the lead.

Rodriguez added an insurance run with his 15th home run of the season in the eighth inning. David Robertson struck out two in the bottom of the eighth and Rafael Soriano worked a perfect ninth with one strikeout for his 25th save of the season.

The Yankees (58-38) increased their lead in the AL East to seven games over the Baltimore Orioles. The Mariners (42-56) are 16.5 games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West.

Tonight, the Yankees have Freddy Garcia on the bump to face Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. Garcia (4-3, 5.37 ERA) is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in his last three starts. Hernandez (8-5, 2.82 ERA) has allowed only two runs in his last 24 2/3 innings. He owns a 6-5 record with a 3.45 ERA in his career against the Yankees.