The Associated PressANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani is making himself at home in the Big A.
Ohtani hit a home run for the third straight game and the Los Angeles Angels rallied from an early six-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 13-9 on Friday night.
The two-way star from Japan connected for a long, solo drive in the second inning against Daniel Gossett. The ball landed in the rocks beyond the center field wall after traveling 142 meters and was measured with a 179.7 kph exit velocity according to Statcast, the hardest-hit and longest of Ohtani’s three major league homers.
“Smoked that ball, huh?” Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “The center fielder ran after it like he had a chance for a second, scared everybody. Wasn’t even close.”
Ohtani, who is batting .462 (6 for 13) at home, drew a walk on four pitches with the bases loaded to pull the Angels within 8-7 in the fifth.
All seven of his RBIs through his first four games have come in home games.
“It’s very impressive, yeah. You don’t see too many guys do that on the mound and at the plate. Any,” Athletics manager Bob Melvin said.
Ohtani is scheduled to pitch Sunday — the 23-year-old won his first big league start last weekend against Oakland.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia does not plan to use Ohtani as the designated hitter on Saturday and have him get a chance to extend his homer streak. But Scioscia said he would be open to letting Ohtani hit before or after a start later this season.
“There has to be point where he becomes a pitcher, not to say sometime during the season he won’t be available to do a little bit more the day before he pitches or a day after. But certainly right now we’re going to err on the side of caution,” Scioscia said.
The Angels trailed 6-0 in the second. Boosted by five home runs, the A’s still led 9-7 in the seventh before third baseman Matt Chapman’s throwing error on a grounder by Zack Cozart allowed two runs. Justin Upton then broke the tie with a three-run homer.
Jim Johnson (1-0) got the win as the Angels took their third in a row and won for the sixth time in seven games.
Ohtani is the first American League player with a home run and at least two RBIs in each of his first three home games since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, according to STATS.
Babe Ruth was the last American League player prior to Ohtani to homer in three straight games in the same season he started a game as a pitcher. Ruth did it five times, starting in four consecutive seasons from 1918-21 and again in 1930.
Rare rainout in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Heavy rains expected in the Bay Area prompted the cancellation of the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers game scheduled for Friday night.
It’s just the sixth rainout at 19-year-old AT&T Park and first since April 12, 2006. It also was only the 33rd rainout since the franchise moved West to San Francisco in 1958.