Baseball: Japan's Ichiro Suzuki reaches 3,000-hit MLB milestone

Miami Marlins center fielder Ichiro Suzuki watches his ball on a triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, US on August 7.
Miami Marlins center fielder Ichiro Suzuki watches his ball on a triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, US on August 7. PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki became the 30th member of Major League Baseball's elite 3,000-hit club after blasting a triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies.

The 42-year-old centre fielder launched a drive from Rockies reliever Chris Rusin high off the right field wall as the Miami Marlins won 10-7 on Sunday in Denver.

Ichiro tied Roberto Clemente for 29th place on baseball's all-time hit list. He also had an infield single in Saturday's game to get within one of the milestone.

"It's not about the 3,000 and what I did. It's about my team-mates and the fans," said Ichiro. "When you have those moments with your team-mates and the fans - that's when I feel the joy and have fun."

Making his first start since July 29, Ichiro struck out in his first at-bat and grounded out twice more.

He then took advantage of a 2-1 count by ripping Rusin's 138kmh pitch off the scoreboard to become just the second player in Major League history to triple for hit No. 3,000. The other is Minnesota Twins star Paul Molitor.

Ichiro's team-mates came out of the dugout to celebrate the moment while the Rockies' players also applauded from their side of the field.

Ichiro had another plate appearance in the ninth and drew a walk.

At 42 years, 290 days, Ichiro is the second-oldest player to reach 3,000 hits.

He is also the fourth player born outside of the United States to reach 3,000 hits, joining Clemente, Rod Carew and Rafael Palmeiro.

Ichiro has recorded 4,278 hits over his professional career, topping Major League Baseball hit leader Pete Rose (4,256). He did not make his American major league debut until 2001.

The Japanese, who is a two-time batting champion and 10-time All-Star, moved past Rose in June.

Ichiro recorded 1,278 hits with Orix Blue Wave in Japan from 1992-2000 before compiling another 2,533 with the Seattle Mariners (2001-12). He added 311 with the New York Yankees (2012-14) and 156 with Miami (2015-16).