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Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Matt Murton breaks Japan hits mark

Associated Press

TOKYO -- Former major leaguer Matt Murton broke Ichiro Suzuki's record for the most hits in a single season in Japanese Professional Baseball on Tuesday.

Murton got his 211th hit of the season with a two-run single to center in the second inning for the Hanshin Tigers against the Yakult Swallows.

Matt Murton
Matt Murton, shown here tying Ichiro's Japanese hit record on Sunday, is having a stellar season for the Hanshin Tigers.

Suzuki set the record of 210 in 1994 for the Orix BlueWave.

When Suzuki set the record, the regular season consisted of 130 games. Since then, the season has been extended by 14 games, and Murton was playing in his 142nd game of the season.

"1994 and 2010 are two different seasons," Murton said. "He did it in 130 games. It is what it is, it's a great honor. In terms of Ichiro, this doesn't change anything. He's one of the best players in baseball."

A first-round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2003, Murton was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and had brief stints with Oakland and Colorado before going to Japan this season.

Murton added two more hits in the game to lift his total to 213. He finished the night 3 for 5 with three RBIs. The Tigers routed the Swallows 17-4.

Last month, Suzuki became the first major league player with 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners in 2001 after winning the Pacific League batting title for seven straight seasons.