Ichiro laces single to pull within 9 of 3,000

Ichiro laces single to pull within 9 of 3,000

ST. LOUIS -- The All-Star break didn't slow Ichiro Suzuki's quest for more history. The 42-year-old lined a pinch-hit single to center in the eighth inning of the Marlins' 7-6 win over the Cardinals on Friday night and is now nine hits shy of 3,000.

Ichiro's pursuit of this major milestone hasn't gone unnoticed, and the Busch Stadium crowd gave him a big ovation.

"I thought the fans were amazing right there, with him," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Respectful. St. Louis fans have really been known over the years as some of the best fans in the country. To have that knowledge of Ichiro and that respect, I thought that was pretty cool."

Ichiro receives standing ovation

The single off lefty Kevin Siegrist came at a crucial time, with Miami down a run, and Ichiro eventually scored from second on Martin Prado's two-out RBI single.

Prado's RBI single

With the count full, Ichiro sliced a clean single for 2,991. The ball was then thrown into the Miami dugout, as each ball hit is being authenticated.

"It was big, to do it off a lefty," Mattingly said. "He's been amazing for us all year."

Ichiro is aiming to become the 30th player in MLB history to reach 3,000.

Exactly when he'll be able to reach that mark, though, is unclear, because outfielders Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton are playing regularly. Miami is in a playoff chase, and the club isn't forcing Ichiro's playing time.

"If he were playing every day, you know it wouldn't be long," Mattingly said. "But in our situation, you don't quite know how long that's going to take. I don't think anybody is getting too crazy over it right now. Ich, all year long, has played within the context of the game. I think these guys want to win, and he's playing within that context."

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.