Ichiro Suzuki switched teams in Seattle after a momentous trade and singled his first time up with the New York Yankees during their 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Monday night.
In a surprising deal about 3½ hours before the game, Seattle sent Suzuki to the Yankees for a pair of young pitchers. After leaving the only major league team he'd ever played for, the 10-time All-Star held an emotional news conference and then joined his new teammates in the other clubhouse at Safeco Field.
Just like that, Suzuki went from last place in the AL West to first in the AL East. And he helped New York beat his former club by going 1 for 4 with his 16th stolen base.
Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) allowed three hits over seven sharp innings to help the Yankees bounce back from a four-game sweep in Oakland. The right-hander struck out nine and walked one.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 15th home run this season — the 644th of his career and 299th as a Yankee — in the eighth. He also had a double in the fourth and scored twice.
Mark Teixeira had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and an RBI.
David Robertson worked a hitless eighth and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 27 chances. Fittingly, Suzuki caught the final out in right field.
Kevin Millwood (3-8) went seven innings, allowing nine hits and three runs.
Suzuki showed up in Seattle's clubhouse in the early afternoon wearing a fine suit with thin pinstripes. By the end of the day, he had a different sort of pinstripes on his mind.
"I am going from a team with the most losses to a team with the most wins," he said. "It's hard to contain my excitement for that reason."
The Yankees also got cash in the deal that sent 25-year-old righties D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the last-place Mariners.
Suzuki started in right field in place of injured Nick Swisher and batted eighth. It was the first time the 2001 AL MVP and Rookie of the Year started a game batting anywhere other than the top three spots in the lineup.
Fans at Safeco Field gave him a 45-second standing ovation when he came to bat with one out in the third inning. He doffed his helmet and bowed twice to the crowd before hitting a single and stealing second base.
The Yankees made the trade a few days after learning that speedy outfielder Brett Gardner would likely miss the rest of the season because of an elbow problem, and manager Joe Girardi said Suzuki will mostly play left field.
Suzuki was given No. 31 because the number he wore his entire career with the Mariners, No. 51, has not been worn by a Yankee since four-time World Series champion Bernie Williams last played.
"No. 51 is a special number to me, but when I think about what 51 means to the Yankees, it's hard for me to ask for that number," said Suzuki, who holds the major league record for most hits in a season.
When Suzuki trotted out to right field in the first, fans stood and applauded. He tipped his hat and waved it in a half-circle.
The Mariners scored in the third on John Jaso's RBI single to right. Suzuki's hard throw to the plate was too late to get Dustin Ackley.
The Yankees responded with three in the fourth. Rodriguez ripped a one-out double high off the right-field wall and Robinson Cano walked. Teixeira doubled to right, scoring Rodriguez and sending Cano to third.
Raul Ibanez followed with a first-pitch single to left, scoring Cano for a 2-1 lead. Teixeira scored on Andruw Jones' single.