Ohtani earns 6th straight, three-way start in 7-1 Angels win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani puts to rest any doubts anyone might have had about whether he could top what he accomplished in last year’s AL MVP campaign.

The two-way Japanese phenom earned his sixth straight start by striking out 12 runs over six innings and also had a two-run triple in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-1 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

In his last six starts, Ohtani has allowed just three runs (two earned) and 20 hits in 39 2/3 innings with 58 strikeouts and 11 walks. The right-hander is 9-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 15 starts this season.


“Last starts unfortunately we’ve lost a few and he takes it personally. He understands how important his day is,” manager Phil Nevin said after the Halos snapped a five-game losing streak consecutive “His last three or four times he has put the team on his back.”

It’s the third time this season Ohtani has had double-digit strikeouts and multiple RBIs in a game. The only other pitchers to achieve this are Kevin Millwood of Atlanta in 1999 and Hal Newhouser of Detroit in 1946.

It was Ohtani’s last start on the mound before next Tuesday’s All-Star Game right down the road at Dodger Stadium. The reigning AL MVP was selected to his second straight All-Star Game as a hitter and pitcher.

Houston manager Dusty Baker, who manages the AL team, said it’s possible Ohtani could start on the mound for the second year in a row.

“I mean, as a starting pitcher, it’s a special place to start in the All-Star Game,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. other pitchers who have better numbers than me at this point. I did my best to try to face them tonight and in the end it was Dusty Baker who decided. »

Ohtani also became the fifth pitcher to have at least 50 strikeouts and allow one or less earned runs in a five-game span since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. Others were Chris Sale (2018) , Clayton Kershaw (2014-15), R.A. Dickey (2012) and Randy Johnson (1997).

Ohtani has also not made a final decision on whether to participate in Monday’s Home Run Derby. Seven of the eight entrants have been announced, but the deadline to decide is Thursday as ESPN will release the bracket.

“I haven’t really discussed how I’m going to be used in the game with anyone. I don’t really have an answer,” Ohtani said. “It’s really going to depend on how many innings I pitches or the number of at bats I’m going to get. If it’s going to be too much, then I have to balance at this point.

Luis Rengifo had three hits and drove in a pair of runs with a base-loaded single in the sixth for the Angels. Mike Trout sat up with back spasms.

Houston’s Cristian Javier, who struck out 14 angels on July 1, went just 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, but had 10 strikeouts. The last time a major league starter went less than four innings and recorded double-digit Ks was Cleveland’s Danny Salazar in 2014.

“He threw the ball well, he just didn’t have the command. They also fouled a bunch of pitches,” Baker said of Javier.

Yuli Gurriel’s RBI single in the fourth inning led Kyle Tucker and was the first earned run allowed by Ohtani in 31 2/3 innings.

Ohtani tied Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan in two areas on Wednesday. He is the first Angels pitcher since Ryan to post double-digit strikeouts in four straight games. Ohtani’s two-run triple in the right-field corner in the second inning, which extended the lead to 3-0, made him the first Angels starter since Ryan in 1972 to hit a three-bagger.

THE WHOLE LOT OF K’S

There were 32 strikeouts combined by both teams, an American League record for a nine-inning game. The Angels have struck 17 times and the Astros 15.

SMALL BALL

Two of the Angels’ 12 hits came in singles, including Brandon Marsh’s on third base to bring Jonathan Villar home in the third inning for the game’s first inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: RHP Jimmy Herget (right shoulder impact) kicked off a bullpen session on Tuesday with another scheduled for the end of the week.

MOVING THE LIST

While Trout was out, outfielder Jo Adell was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. This is Adell’s third stint at the major league level this season. Monte Harrison was nominated for the assignment. Adell had two hits, including an RBI single on a four-run sixth inning that put the game away.

NEXT

The teams conclude their series on Thursday. LHP Framber Valdez of the Astros (8-4, 2.64 ERA) is 7-4 career record against the Angels. Los Angeles did not name a starter.

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