Ichiro singles to pass Babe Ruth on all-time hits list

MIAMI — Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki passed Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list with his leadoff single in the second inning of Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Suzuki moved into sole possession of 42nd place with his 2,874th hit, which came on an 86 mph fastball from righty Ubaldo Jimenez. He sent the pitch to left field and later came around to score on Henderson Alvarez’s RBI single.

The 41-year-old Suzuki added an infield hit in the ninth to bump his average to .292 for the season. He also walked in the third.

"Of course I’m happy, but there is that impact of ‘Babe Ruth,’ " Suzuki said through his interpreter. "He’s one of the big names of history, somebody that’s obviously very important in baseball. This would be a different story if I tied Babe Ruth in home runs.

"For me, names like George Sisler and Willie Keeler — and those guys — I feel like are the same type of players. Because we’re just so different. Different types of players. Like I said, if it was home runs it would be something. But because of the fact it’s a different aspect of it. … I’m definitely happy, and I think it’s almost rude to him to be able to say, ‘You now have the same amount of hits’ just because we’re so different. It’s different situation today than it was back in those days."

Suzuki entered the game 5 for 17 against Jimenez. His experience against American League East pitchers because of his time with the New York Yankees (2012-14) put him in the lineup over Christian Yelich.

During his 15th big-league season — first in the National League — Suzuki has 31 hits in 41 games. He is 125 shy of 3,000 for his career and one away from Mel Ott.

"The most important thing for me is to improve my skills and i want to be able to get many hits in different ways," Suzuki said. "How do I do this and that to get more hits? With doing that obviously the hits have come and come and come and come and have added up to what it is now.

"But I’m not really interested in who am I going to pass or anything like that. What I am interested in is how I can improve my skills and sharpen my skills to be able to get hits and be able to continue to do that. That’s really what I’ve been focusing on and what I’m going to focus on. That’s how it’s gone up to this point."

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.