The Associated PressCLEVELAND (AP) — Shohei Ohtani, who sometimes wows opponents with his pitching, put on a display with his bat.
Ohtani hit two home runs in a game for the first time in the major leagues, had a career-high four hits and the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Friday night.
Ohtani, who also hit his first career homer on the road, singled in the eighth, stole second and scored the go-ahead run on David Fletcher’s double. The Japanese two-way star was understandably pleased with his performance.
“Not just home run-wise, but hitting-wise in general,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I was hitting a lot better at home, so it feels good to get that one out of the way too, obviously.”
Ohtani, starting for the first time since Tuesday, took a 5-for-37 slump into the game. He hit a two-run homer in the first and a solo home run in the third off Mike Clevinger.
Clevinger thought both pitches were poorly executed, but gave credit to the left-handed hitter. The first home run carried into the left field bleachers, clearing the 19-foot wall. Ohtani launched a 3-2 pitch an estimated 135 meters to right for his second homer.
“He’s got tremendous power,” Clevinger said. “The first one was inside and he still put it out the other way. That’s pretty impressive on his part. The second one, he obviously got all of it.”
“That’s what Shohei can do. That’s his talent,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He was running the bases, obviously driving the ball, and that’s a great pickup game for us.”
The Angels won at Progressive Field for the first time since June 17, 2014, breaking a 10-game skid. Los Angeles also snapped a four-game losing streak overall.
Ohtani has 11 home runs in his rookie season. He’s homered four times and is batting .643 (9 for 14) against the Indians in four games. Ohtani was sidelined from June 7-July 2 with a sprained ligament in his right elbow.
“Whether if I’m in a slump or I’m hitting well, I’m constantly making adjustments with my swing,” he said.
Angels star Mike Trout missed his second straight game because of a bruised right wrist but hopes to return Saturday.
Justin Anderson (3-2) pitched the seventh and the Angels’ bullpen held the Indians to one run over the final four innings.