Not too many eight-hole hitters are known as run producers.
Then again, not too many future Hall of Famers find themselves that low in the batting order.
For the Yankees, and Ichiro more specifically, that just happens to be the case.
Though he is more accustomed to the leadoff spot in Seattle, the 38-year-old is adjusting rather nicely to his new surroundings, and Friday night's RBI outburst proved just that.
Ichiro's big night started in the top of the second with the bases loaded. On a 1-2 count, Blue Jay starter Ricky Romero rared back and delivered—so did the Yankee's center fielder.
On that pitch, Ichiro hit a bullet straight into the ground, and right to second basemen Kelly Johnson who flipped it to the bag for the second out of the inning. Robinson Cano came in to score on the play though, putting the Bombers up two to zip. Ichiro's first RBI of the night.
The former Seattle great came up again late in the eighth against former Mariner teammate and newly-acquired Blue Jay, Steve Delabar. He caught up by lacing a single up the middle off the pitcher's glove, plating two more runners. His second and third ribbies.
And as if the hit-machine hadn't done enough, he got the chance to do a little more damage once more in the ninth, and damage is what he did.
With the bases juiced again, Ichiro hit a little blooper into left center. It appeared to be a fairly routine play, but Blue Jay left fielder Rajai Davis couldn't haul it in. Two more runs crossed the plate and Suzuki found himself at second with a stand-up double.
By the end of the night, Ichiro was 2-for-5 at the plate, with five RBI in all. The five runs he was responsible for getting home matched a career high. It was a feat he hadn't accomplished since August 17th, 2004 against Kansas City.
After tonight's game, Ichiro pushed his RBI season total up to 39, putting him seventh on the team and breaking out of a tie with Derek Jeter. If tonight's output can be even remotely matched, it won't be long until he finds himself passing A-Rod on the team's leaders list.
All joking aside, if the Yankees can continue to get Ichiro on base, whether there are runners on in front of him or not, their chances of making a deep run into the postseason will be inevitable.
*Stats are from ESPN.com and MLB.com .
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