Ohtani hits two homers, 10 Ks… 6 1/3 innings, 1 run, 3.02 ERA, ‘needs seven wins’

Shohei Ohtani, 29, Los Angeles Angels, hit two home runs in his first career start.

Ohtani started the Angels’ 2023 Major League Baseball home game against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Monday (Aug. 28) and pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts.

With his latest three-game streak of quality starts, Ohtani lowered his season ERA from 3.13 to 3.02. With the Angels leading 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning and needing his seventh win of the season, Ohtani came to bat in the bottom of the inning to provide the go-ahead run with his second solo home run of the day.

After getting Andrew Benintendi to fly 안전놀이터 out to center field in the first inning, Ohtani started the inning with back-to-back strikeouts of Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. He followed that up with a splitter.

In the second, he gave up a leadoff double to Eloy Jimenez to left but got Andrew Vaughn to ground out to first before retiring Yasmani Grandal and Jake Berger in order. This time on a high fastball and a sweeper, respectively.

In the third and fourth innings, it was back-to-back strikeout innings. After striking out Benintendi in the third and Anderson on a cutter in the fourth, Ohtani gave up a single to right to Grandal with one out in the fifth, but Burger flied out to right field for a double play. Grandal was thrown out at first base on what was mistaken for a hit, ending the inning once again on a three-hitter.

In the sixth inning, it was all about crisis management. After a walk to Elvis Andrews and a single to Benintendi, he struck out Anderson and Robert to put runners on first and second. He got Anderson to ground into a three-pitch double play with a body cutter and then struck out Robert on a five-pitch splitter. It was a timing-robbing pitch mix.

The seventh was the final inning. Gave up a single up the middle to Jimenez, but struck out Vaughn on a sweeper. It was his 10th strikeout of the game, but he walked the next batter, Grandal, on four straight pitches in a two-strike favorable count. With runners on first and second and the tying run on third, Angels manager Phil Nevin came to the mound and announced a pitching change himself.

Right-hander Jacob Webb came on in relief and gave up a run to Gavin Sheets on a single to right, but got two outs to preserve the 2-1 lead. Ohtani was able to hold on for the win.

Ohtani’s total on the day was 102 pitches, 62 strikes and 40 balls. He threw 34 four-seam fastballs that topped out at 99.2 mph (159.6 km/h) and averaged 96.4 mph (155.1 km/h), as well as cutters (29), sweepers (24), splitters (11), curves (three), and sinkers (one).

At the plate, Ohtani opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo shot to right-center field. He took a four-seam fastball from White Sox right-hander Michael Kopeck down the middle of the plate for his 27th home run of the season. It was his second straight game with a home run.

After reaching base on a walk in the third and a single to right-center in the fifth, Ohtani homered again in the seventh. After completing his duties as a pitcher in the top of the seventh, Ohtani stepped to the plate in the bottom of the inning and crushed a low splitter from right-hander Tookie Toussaint over the left-center field fence. It was a 106.4 mph (171.2 km/h) fastball, 404 feet (123.1 m), 25-degree launch, and his 28th home run of the season.

It made the score 3-1 in favor of the Angels. It was the home run that cemented his start.

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