The Associated PressANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s versatility was on display again Sunday.
The two-way star launched a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning that sent Andrew Heaney and the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bothered by a sore knee, Ohtani drove his first career pinch-hit homer a projected 135 meters to center field, breaking a 3-all tie. It also was the Angels’ first pinch-hit home run of the season.
“It was going to be hard for me to run all out, so I was glad I was able to hit the home run and not have to run too hard,” Ohtani said through a translator.
Albert Pujols also went deep for the Angels, tying the score at 3 in the sixth. Justin Upton had a two-run single.
Heaney allowed only three hits and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings to help the Angels take two of three at home in the Freeway Series. He gave up a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig, who later left with an oblique injury.
“After that inning [when Puig homered], he could tell I was pretty hot,” Heaney said of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “He said, ‘Hey, keep ’em at 3. We’re going to score some runs and win this game.’”
Thanks to Ohtani.
The touted rookie from Japan, unavailable to pitch lately because of an elbow injury, fouled a ball off his knee one day earlier and experienced soreness. He was not in the starting lineup and it was unclear if he would be able to come off the bench. But he did, and Ohtani hit a 2-2 pitch from reliever JT Chargois (2-2) for his seventh home run of the season.
Ohtani was walking around before and during the game and felt good. He told Scioscia in the second inning he was available to play in whatever role was needed.
“That’s obviously a clutch hit and certainly at the time of the game and we’re a little thin on pitching, so to have a chance to get the lead and hold it, which we did, was huge,” Scioscia said. “Shohei had treatment all morning. He said he felt good [by] the second inning.”
Puig homered in the second after Heaney (5-6) walked two batters in the inning. The left-hander was dominant after that.