Impressive night


Sports Super star strikes legendary fourth-inning homer, almost cycles and gets the win

4:42 AM UTC

BALTIMORE– Shohei Ohtani gives fans a show unlike any they’ve ever seen pretty much everywhere he goes. In the Angels’ 9-5 victory on Monday night at Camden Yards, he did it again, this time hitting a home run to a spot in centre field that the Orioles’ commentators made sure to point out seldom gets hit.

Ohtani had a spectacular night at the plate, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs. He also came up a double short of the cycle, which would have been the first ever hit by a player who began the game as his team’s starting pitcher. Ohtani came within one home run of completing the cycle for the second time this season. The first time was on April 27.

Ohtani nonetheless made history, becoming the first starting pitcher to reach base safely five times since Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees got five singles in a victory over the Washington Senators in September 1964.

Ohtani (5-1) then sought to downplay the significance of allowing 3 home runs and 5 runs of support on 4 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings of work.

Through an interpreter, he said, “I’m sure all those records come due to the fact that the sample size is so small.” Therefore, I don’t put too much thought into it. Today I got off to a terrible start in the game, giving up all those early runs. That’s what people thought of the game today, anyhow.

In the fourth inning, Ohtani hit a home run that was expected to go 456 feet and was hit at an exit speed of 114.6 miles per hour, just another jaw-droppingly impressive advanced analytics from the slugger.

Camden Yards had 20,148 fans turn up, the most on a weeknight in Baltimore this season, in large part because of a man named Babe Ruth, who was born just blocks away. The home run was the longest of the season.

Brandon Hyde, manager of the Orioles, called him “one of the best players we’ve seen.” “He’s a one-of-a-kind talent, and I doubt we’ll ever see anyone else who’s as talented on the mound and at the plate as he is,” said one baseball analyst.

Ohtani gave himself some breathing room after a rough start on the mound by belting a three-run homer during the Angels’ five-run fourth inning. This was only his sixth career home run while pitching in the majors, but it was his first of the season.

“I believe there was a little anger behind that swing, yeah,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. Simply said, last night was fantastic. What a fantastic evening.

Ohtani allowed three home runs for just the third time in his career, and for the second time in Baltimore, but after his huge shot gave the Angels the lead for good, he calmed down considerably.

Ohtani continued an inconsistent pitching trend in which he posted a 6.12 ERA over his previous 4 outings, but he was able to exit with a four-run cushion after retiring 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.

His best inning may have been the fourth, just after he hit his home run, when he retired the Orioles in order on just eight pitches.

It helps when he doesn’t have to sprint and go around the bases a bit, Nevin said. Because he’s out there [on the basepaths] for a while, and he does get fatigued sometimes. It was a fantastic evening. I’m aware that he prevented those five runs, but, as I said before, hits were down and there weren’t many runners in scoring position.

On a night full of impressive individual performances, the Angels banged out 17 hits. The first 9 were scored against Orioles right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (2-1), who was shelled for 8 runs by the visitors in only 3 1/3 innings of work.

After being activated off the seven-day injured list, catcher Chad Wallach went 3-for-4 with a home run. Gio Urshela, a player who will be required to shoulder a much larger weight in Rendon’s absence, went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs after infielder Anthony Rendon was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a groyne stress.

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