SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki sat at his locker holding a fold-up fan that showed his dog, a Shiba Inu named Ikkyu, and Ikkyu's father.
In other words, two generations of Ichiro fans depicted on a fan were among the figurative witnesses to his latest foray into baseball history, even if his human family members weren't.
"I wish I would have asked my wife and dog to have been here tonight," the Mariners right fielder said Tuesday night, a few hours after his first-inning infield single against the Orioles extended his hitting streak to 26 games, breaking his own personal and franchise record of 25.
"But if I didn't invite them, that probably shows you how much the record meant to me."
Ichiro spoke with great respect for Joe DiMaggio's big league record of 56 straight games with a hit, set in 1941.
"I think it's true when they say it's the hardest record to beat," he said while pondering the fact that he's still 30 games away from tying the Yankee Clipper.
But he didn't waste time doing all he could do Tuesday, stepping into the batter's box against Baltimore rookie right-hander David Hernandez and hitting the third pitch he saw in the hole between shortstop and third base.
Mariners Hitting Streaks
|Joey Cora ||1997 ||24|
|Ichiro ||2001 ||23|
|Ichiro ||2004 ||21|
|Ichiro ||2001 ||21|
|Richie Zisk ||1982 ||21|
|Dan Meyer ||1979 ||21 |
Orioles shortstop Cesar Izturis fielded the ball cleanly while ranging to his left, but the throw was late and pulled first baseman Ty Wigginton off the bag anyway. The Seattle official scorer declared it a base hit almost immediately.
Ichiro added another single, a line drive into left field, in the fourth inning, and went 2-for-5 to raise his season batting average to .353. During the streak, he is batting .400 (46-for-115) and has reached base safely in 33 straight games, the longest streak in the American League this season.
Longest Hitting Streaks
|May 6 - Current||26|
|May 7 - June 1, 2007||25|
|April 22 - May 18, 2001||23|
|July 4 - 29, 2004||21 |
|August 3 - 24, 2001||21|
|May 30 - June 21, 2006||20 |
|Sept. 20, 2004-April 11, 2005||20|
Ichiro's 26-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in Major League Baseball and the second-longest one of the season to Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's streak of 30 games earlier this year.
"That's what he does," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He's that good."
But apparently not good enough to flaunt the streak in front of the family, as Ichiro continued to explain.
"The family of the guy who had the record is the same family of the guy who has the record now," he said with a coy smile.
"That's another reason I wish I would have invited my family to be here."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.