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Yankees 2, Athletics 1: Before Russell Martin's Walk-off HR, Ichiro Suzuki Gets Mother of All Bizarre Infield Singles

Yahoo Contributor Network

As hot as Ichiro Suzuki has been this week, there's no explaining what he did with one out in the third inning of the New York Yankees-Oakland Athletics series opener Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Right-hander Jarrod Parker (8.0 IP, 6H, 1R), a 2007 first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks who was traded to Oakland last December, started Suzuki off with a 93 mph two-seam fastball that came back to him as a hard-hit one-hopper. Initially thought to be a comebacker that Parker fielded cleanly, as Suzuki raced up the first base line, it became painfully clear that the A's starter was having trouble transferring the ball to his throwing hand--because the ball was inside his jersey.

"I was running and I looked over, didn't see the ball... I didn't know what happened, so I better get there," Suzuki told Yahoo! Contributor Network through his interpreter, before adding, "I've never seen [anything like that before], and I don't think there will ever be a play like that."

Parker tried to force his right hand down his collar--a plan he'd quickly abandon--and then desperately checked, in vain, if he could get the ball out from the bottom of the tightly-tucked jersey. No luck there, either, as it was too thoroughly tucked. Parker had a look of outright disgust on his face when he finally recovered that elusive baseball the same way he initially tried. Suzuki, by that time, had already been slowing down from his sprint past first base.

Suzuki asked writers if Parker could've recorded the out by running over to first. The inquiry sparked a brief debate, with a couple of media veterans, citing ex-Yankee starter Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez's fluke play in 1999--a grounder that got stuck in his glove, which he then threw (with the ball still stuck in it) to first for a force out--concluding yes, Parker could've gotten an out that way since he had control of the ball.

It's been that kind of week for Suzuki, who went 9-for-12 during New York's three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, and 2-for-3 vs. Oakland, making him 11 for his last 15 (.733).

"I haven't changed [my approach]," he told me after going 7-for-8 in the Yankees' doubleheader vs. Toronto on Wednesday. "I don't know why. ... It's one of those things."

Curtis Granderson's fourth-inning sac fly, which scored Nick Swisher, accounted for the game's only run until Brandon Moss' pinch-hit, solo home run off closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth. Russell Martin would get Soriano off the hook in the 10th, crushing a walk-off, solo homer to left off left-hander Sean Doolittle (L, 1-1).

The catcher also hit the Yankees' only other walk-off shot this season, homering off Jon Rauch on Sunday, June 10 to defeat the New York Mets 5-4. Speaking with YCN about his game-winner afterward, Martin joked, "It feels good. I mean, we got a day game tomorrow, so just trying to get out of here as quickly as possible,"

CC Sabathia, in the 2-1 win, dominated Oakland's offense, striking out 11 batters while allowing three hits and two walks over eight shutout innings. The left-hander escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the eighth by getting Josh Reddick to fly out to--who else--Suzuki in left. David Robertson, who tossed a scoreless 10th, earned the win, improving to 2-7.

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