The Associated PressARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Two-way rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani got a new experience in the majors — as a pinch-hitter.
By the time Ohtani grounded out in the ninth inning against Bartolo Colon, the Los Angeles Angels had already scored all of their runs in what would soon become an 11-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
“Good to get him off the bench, because when he’s available that’s something he might eventually do, is pinch hit,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “So it’s good to get him out there, and just get him acclimated to it.”
In the Angels’ first home series last week, Ohtani homered in three consecutive games before pitching seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and allowing only one hit. Scioscia said the 23-year-old from Japan will be the designated hitter in the series finale against the Rangers on Wednesday.
Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons each homered, and Albert Pujols had two more hits in his push to 3,000 before Ohtani got his first at-bat against the Rangers after not playing the series opener.
The Angels, who went ahead to stay with a three-run first, improved to 9-3 for the first time since 1982. They lead the majors with their 79 runs, 128 hits and 20 home runs.
“It’s fun, fun to be a part of,” Trout said. “We take pride in just passing the baton and if there’s runners on base, we try to drive them in.”
Pujols has 2,983 career hits after his two singles.
Tyler Skaggs (2-0) struck out seven while allowing one run and throwing 114 pitches in five innings. The lefty allowed five hits and walked four.
Ohtani to pitch vs Royals
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia is sticking to his plan of carefully monitoring the newcomer’s workload.