Starting pitcher Ohtani blasts home run in first at-bat against White Sox
Los Angeles | AFP
Shohei Ohtani got his two-way season off to a stirring start, pitching a shut-out inning and then hitting a 450-foot home run in his first at-bat of the Los Angeles Angels 7-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night.
The 26-year-old Japanese star opened the game on the mound with a rousing pitching performance in the top of the first, retiring the first three of four White Sox batters he faced.
He then clobbered his second home run of the season a half inning later by going deep on the first pitch he faced from Chicago starter Dylan Cease. His first home run of the season came on Friday.
Ohtani made history, becoming just the third pitcher over the last 45 seasons to bat for himself in a game with the designated hitter available. Ohtani is also the first pitcher to hit second in the batting order for a team since Jack Dunleavy did it for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1903.
Angels Jared Walsh hit two homers, including a big three-run walk off shot off Matt Foster to end the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Ohtani had compiled just 53 innings as a pitcher since making his American major league debut in 2018. He underwent Tommy John surgery following his rookie season.
The Angels said at the start of this season that they are committed to using him as a two-way player.
Ohtani finished one-for-three, including a lineout to centre field and a hard groundout up the middle. On the mound, he was charged with three runs on two hits and five walks and seven strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings.
Ohtani left the game in the fifth inning after colliding at home plate with a White Sox runner Jose Abreu, but the Angels released a statement saying he was not seriously hurt on the play.
Ohtani limped off the field, exiting his start with 92 pitches and paving the way for Steve Cishek to finish the top of the fifth.
An Angels spokesperson said he wasn’t removed because of injury. He will be re-evaluated on Monday.
© Agence France-Presse