Ichiro moves into 32nd place on all-time hit list

Ichiro moves into 32nd place on all-time hit list

MIAMI -- Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on Sunday followed Willie Keeler's famous motto: He hit it "where they ain't."

With two singles off Max Scherzer in Miami's 8-2 loss to the Nationals at Marlins Park, Ichiro gained sole possession of 32nd place on the all-time list with 2,956 career hits, according to Elias.

Starting in left field in place of Christian Yelich, who is dealing with back spasms, Ichiro went 2-for-4 a day after going 4-for-4 with a walk game in Miami's 3-2 win on Saturday night.

"Ichiro, obviously, continues to swing the bat well," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

The 42-year-old now is 44 hits shy of 3,000. Playing from 1892-1910, Keeler reached 2,955 hits according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Official Statistician of Major League Baseball.

Baseball has a longstanding history of disputes over numbers, and the career hits leaderboard is one of them. Due to the uncertain nature of record keeping in the the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, there are some discrepancies regarding Keeler's overall numbers. Various sources used to comprise MLB.com's entire database, which lists Keeler with 2,932 career hits, reflect alternative and also credible points of view.

In baseball lore, Keeler is also known for saying: "Keep your eye on the ball and hit 'em where they ain't."

Ichiro has done just that plenty of times in his remarkable career, which included nine seasons playing in Japan before coming to the big leagues and making an immediate impact with the Mariners in 2001.

Sunday's two-hit game gave the left-handed-hitting outfielder back-to-back multihit games for the first time since Aug. 20-21, 2015, against the Phillies.

In the first inning, Ichiro blistered a liner to center for a single. With Miami down a run, the leadoff hit was quickly erased because of some tough luck. Martin Prado lined sharply to first and Ryan Zimmerman was able to double up Ichiro, who was stuck in a difficult spot off the base.

"That first one, Martin lines out, and it kind of stops that [momentum]," Mattingly said. "But that's just one play. Max really kind of manhandled us through the course of the day. We didn't get a whole lot going anywhere in there."

Ichiro ruled out at first

Ichiro actually was close to a three-hit day, but in the fourth inning, he was thrown out by third baseman Anthony Rendon, who charged the slow roller. Initially, it was ruled a hit, but the Nationals challenged and the call was overturned by replay.

In the sixth inning, Ichiro swatted Scherzer's offering to right for his second single, giving him sole possession of 32nd place.

In his second season with the Marlins, Ichiro has embraced the fourth-outfielder role. He could see more time in left because Yelich could miss a few more days or perhaps even go on the disabled list.

"That's what I'm here for," Ichiro said.

Next up for the veteran outfielder is Sam Crawford, who sits 31st all time at 2,964 hits from 1899-1917.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.