Ichiro walks off to loud cheers, Mariners beat A's in 12


Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki will announce his retirement following Thursday's game in Japan.

The 45-year-old Ichiro fouled out his first time up and grounded out in his next at-bat against Oakland. Destiny let the Oakland A's tie the score in the bottom of the inning, and destiny put Suzuki at the plate with two outs and the go-ahead run on second in the top of the eighth.

Ichiro's storied 27-year career ended with a dramatic exit in the eighth inning.

A packed crowd of 45,787 was buzzing for its favorite star, sending cheers, chants and camera flashes for Ichiro bounding all around the park.

Not only does Ichiro have 3,089 Major League Baseball hits, he also owns 1,278 from his nine seasons prior in Japan.

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Mariners manager Scott Servais confirmed that Ichiro will play again in that final game of the series.

There's nothing like baseball. He re-signed with the team to a minor league deal this season, hoping to get one more moment to shine in a sport considered America's Pastime. Ichiro won the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. Her is hit No. 4,000 vs. the Toronto Blue Jays on August 21, 2013.

Ichiro's teammates met him outside the dugout for a proper send-off in a three-minute tribute.

Ichiro became the second-oldest position player to start an opener, only trailing long time Major leaguer Julio Franco, who was a few months older when he played for the Atlanta Braves in the 2004 season opener. He then teared up as he buried his head into Ichiro's shoulder.

He was 0 for 1 with a walk and a popout in the 9-7 win over the A's on Wednesday.

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Kikuchi became the first Japanese-born player to make his major league debut in Japan.

There was still the rest of a game to play, but his career was done. His last start here was in June, when he beat the Yomiuri Giants, allowing two hits and striking out three in seven scoreless innings for the Lions.

Kikuchi, who went to the same high school as Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, made his second pro start at the Tokyo Dome.

But, of course, if Ichiro could still do that, could still place the ball at his discretion, as his former batting coach, Paul Molitor, was convinced he would do, he wouldn't have been trotting off the emptied field in Tokyo for the final time moments later.

Suzuki, who was set to hold a post-game press conference, went 0-for-4, with the applause growing in intensity each time up. But it seems likely he will not be on the Mariners' 25-man roster when the regular season resumes with a four-game series in Seattle against the Boston Red Sox. "I couldn't play well enough in spring training to earn an extension".

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