R.A. Dickey wanted no part of Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,000th hit. He wasn’t too happy about getting the loss, either.
Dickey gave up Suzuki’s milestone hit in the first inning, then shut down the Yankees until Alfonso Soriano connected for a tiebreaking two-run homer with two outs in the eighth that propelled New York to a 4-2 victory Wednesday night and sent the Toronto Blue Jays to their 12th straight loss in the Bronx.
”You never want to be the guy that gives up the milestone,” Dickey said. ”That being said, what an incredible achievement. The manner that he’s done it is equally impressive. Just the longevity, the endurance, the durability. Having played with him in Seattle, it was a real treat to play with him and it couldn’t have happened to a more professional hitter.”
The 39-year-old Suzuki hit a liner off Dickey (9-12) that bounced just beyond diving third baseman Brett Lawrie for hit No. 4,000 between Japan and the major leagues. Suzuki broke a tie with Lou Gehrig when he got his 2,722nd major league hit in his 13th season. The speedy outfielder amassed 1,278 hits in nine seasons with Orix of Japan’s Pacific League.
Pete Rose with 4,256 hits and Ty Cobb with 4,191 are the only two players that have reached the number solely in the major leagues.
Dickey overcame a rough start, giving up four hits in the first three innings and putting a runner in scoring position with a wild pitch before settling in with his knuckleball in ideal hot conditions.
But after retiring 14 of 15, he allowed a two-out single to Robinson Cano in the eighth. Soriano then snapped a 0-for-17 skid with a two-run shot to left for the 4-2 lead.
The homer extended Dickey’s career high to 28 long balls allowed.
”It’s frustrating. It’s like `The Twilight Zone.’ Different day, same script,” Dickey said. ”It’s really a very flukey kind of feeling.”
Dickey struck out nine and gave up six hits overall.
”He was throwing great. He had like four hits going into that last inning,” manager John Gibbons said. ”Then, you know, that one big shot. You know, he got the first two guys out then Cano and the big blast. But he pitched a heck of a ball game. He really did.”
Toronto lost for the eighth time in 11 games. The Blue Jays have dropped nine in a row against New York, their longest skid since losing 13 in a row from May 10, 1995 to June 4, 1996.
Yankees infielder Jayson Nix broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in the second inning.
Adam Warren started for New York to give 41-year-old Andy Pettitte one more day after the Yankees stayed on rotation for their doubleheader Tuesday. He gave up two runs in three-plus innings, including Josh Thole’s tying homer in the fourth. It was Thole’s first homer with the Blue Jays.
Huff relieved and didn’t allow a hit until Lawrie led off the eighth with an infield single. Huff walked four, one intentionally, but never was in real trouble.
”A lot of that lineup was down in (Triple-A) Buffalo when I was down in Scranton,” Huff said. ”I got to face them and got a good feel for them.”
Toronto left at least one runner on base in each of the first eight innings and was 2 for 15 with runners on base.
Thole, who caught Dickey throughout much of his NL Cy Young Award season with the New York Mets last year, had two passed balls in the first inning, but the Yankees failed to score.
NOTES: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez was given the night off. . . . Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes was ejected in the second inning after he tossed his helmet in the direction of home plate umpire Ted Barrett. Reyes had a brief heated discussion with Barrett following a called third strike. . . . The Blue Jays recalled OF Moises Sierra from Triple-A Buffalo to take Jose Bautista’s spot on the roster. Bautista was placed on the DL with a bone bruise in his left hip after Tuesday’s doubleheader. He was intentionally walked in the eighth when pinch hitting.