Ichiro advances quest for history vs. Braves

Marlins outfielder had two hits, stolen base in series finale

Ichiro advances quest for history vs. Braves

MIAMI -- Every time Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki steps to the plate, he has a chance to move closer to making history. On Sunday, the 42-year-old again made his presence felt, delivering a game-tying single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

With two strikes, Ichiro lined Jason Grilli's 92-mph fastball into left field, scoring J.T. Realmuto from second, giving Miami new life. But in the 10th inning, the Braves reclaimed the lead on Mallex Smith's two-out single, and they held on for a 6-5 win, and a three-game sweep, at Marlins Park.

In the loss, Ichiro provided a spark on several occasions. The veteran had two hits, a walk and a stolen base after entering the game in a double-switch in the sixth inning.

"He's swinging the bat well," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

With the two hits, Ichiro now has 2,939 in his MLB career, putting him 61 shy of 3,000. He's also four hits behind Frank Robinson for 33rd all-time.

"It was a big hit for us," Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich said of Ichiro's ninth-inning single. "We've battled backed." 

Miami overcame a 5-0 deficit, a comeback capped by Ichiro's ninth-inning single, to force extra innings.

In the sixth inning, Ichiro singled off Jhoulys Chacin, he stole second and scored. The stolen base puts Ichiro on the brink of another milestone -- 500 stolen bases. He now has 499.

In MLB history, the only players to post 2,900 hits and 500 stolen bases are Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Paul Molitor, Eddie Collins, Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock and Barry Bonds. One more steal puts Ichiro in the exclusive group.

"We were kind of chipping away, chipping," Yelich said. "Ichiro came up with the big hit, tied the ballgame up. But unfortunately, we weren't able to finish it off."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.