ANAHEIM, Calif. — shōhei ohtani he adheres to a strict routine in almost every aspect of his life. When his last start on the mound was delayed 12 minutes for a pregame ceremony honoring the Los Angeles Angels‘ 2002 World Series champions, his meticulous preparation took a hit before he even pitched.
A slightly bumpy start led to an incredible second night in a row for the two-way superstar.
Ohtani struck out a career-high 13 in eight dominant innings of two-hit ball, and the AL MVP also reached base three times in Los Angeles’ 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
After giving up two singles to start that first inning late, Ohtani (6-4) retired 16 straight Royals and 23 of the last 24 batters he faced. While he matched the longest start of his major league career, he allowed only one runner in his last seven innings, on a walk that was quickly erased by a double play.
“I think the biggest thing was getting that zero in the first inning after giving up those first two hits,” Ohtani said through his translator. “I was able to do that, and it set the tone for the game. I wanted to play as much as I could, but I wasn’t really thinking about the pitch count early in the game.”
Against the backdrop of a rare Southern California thunderstorm lighting up the sky beyond center field in the Big A, Ohtani also had a single and two walks to the plate in his last electrifying two-way performance.
One night after Ohtani hit two three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight runs in an extra-inning loss, he set his career-high for strikeouts by swinging Emmanuel Rivera on its 108th and final release.
“It just turned our backs on us,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “I thought about taking him out going into the eighth, and he was adamant: ‘No. This is mine. I stay’. … What a day. What a performance from him.”
David Mackinnon he got his first major league hit with an RBI single in the seventh for the Angels, who avoided a series sweep with their fourth win in six games overall. Luis Rengifo he had an RBI double in the seventh before scoring on that single to right off MacKinnon, who got his first RBI two innings earlier on a sacrifice fly.
After scoring 18 runs in the previous two games at Angel Stadium, the Royals were shut out for the second time in four days and the 10th time this season. Kansas City has yet won five of seven.
“That was a showing,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s a very unique repertoire of pitches. I don’t think you’re going to find as many guys with as many weapons as we saw today. I was throwing three different sliders, plus a cutter and a curveball. When the division started to work, that’s when the strikeouts really started to happen, and he’s got 100 (mph) in the tank that he hardly ever showed… It’s going to be a tough day at the plate.”
Ohtani is unbeatable on the mound of late, allowing only one run in his last 20 innings in three starts. In his most recent home start two weeks ago, he pitched seven innings on one-run ball and also homered in a win that snapped the Angels’ franchise streak of 14 games.
Pentecost Merrifield Y Andres Benintendi singled in the Royals’ first two at-bats against Ohtani, but then knocked down every batter he faced until Merrifield was walked with one out in the sixth, and Benintendi quickly grounded out for a double play .
Ohtani’s fastball topped 99 mph twice in the second half of his start as he baffled Kansas City, landing a whopping 34 combined strikes on swing misses or called strikes.
Daniel Lynch (3-7) wasn’t as effective for the Royals early on, but the left-hander artfully held off the Angels until they loaded the bases in the fifth with two walks and an infield single. Lynch, who left after MacKinnon’s sacrifice fly, allowed three hits and five walks on a career-high 104 pitches.
mike trout he got a bye day for the Angels, leaving their struggling lineup decidedly lacking in strength. But MacKinnon became the team’s unlikely cleanup hitter, getting the first major league hit after being called up last weekend for his MLB debut.
MacKinnon was pleased with his impressive shots, but other aspects of the game excited him as well.
“I was able to play the field behind Shohei and see how good he is,” MacKinnon said. “It’s crazy to be here.”
Royals: C Salvador Perez he sat out after re-injuring his left thumb on a swing Tuesday night, but Matheny said the team is still determining the severity of the injury after an MRI exam.
Angels: RHP jimmy herget he went on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement. Right-handers Elvis Peguero and Oliver Ortega came out of Triple-A Salt Lake, while inconsistent rookie Reid Detmers he dropped just six starts after pitching a no-hitter.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Royals: Zack Greinke is expected to come off the disabled list Friday to start when Kansas City opens a three-game weekend series at home against Oakland. Greinke (0-4, 5.05 ERA) went on the disabled list three weeks ago with a sprained forearm.
Angels: After a day off at home, Los Angeles opens a three-game weekend series against Seattle on Friday night. Neither team had confirmed a starter.