Shohei Ohtani nearly hits for cycle, pitches 7 innings in historic win over Orioles

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Shohei Ohtani turned a shaky start on the mound into another night of historic excellence.

Ohtani became the first starting pitcher since 1964 to reach base five times in a game when the Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-5 on Monday night. Ohtani had four hits and a walk, making up for his pitching struggles with a stellar performance at the plate. He hit a titanic three-run homer and finished a double shy of the cycle on a night the Orioles hit three home runs.

“I’m sure all those records are coming because the sample size is so small, so I don’t really look too deeply into it,” Ohtani said through a translator.

The sample size (of players who can hit and throw like this) is really small. That, of course, is what makes Ohtani such a wonder. The last person to reach base five times in a game that started on the mound was Mel Stottlemyre of the New York Yankees on September 26, 1964, against Washington.

Ohtani (5-1) allowed five runs on four hits in seven innings, but did a lot of damage with a bat in his hands. In addition to his 456-foot drive in the fourth that gave the Angels a 7-4 lead, he had a walk, two singles and a triple.

“He’s a once-in-a-generation player. Once-in-a-lifetime, really,” Orioles infielder Adam Frazier said. “A special guy, and I’m glad to say I get to compete against him, because he’s fun. He brings out the best in everyone.”

Needing a two-base hit for the cycle, Ohtani fell into a hole in the seventh. In the ninth, there was an audible cheer from the Baltimore crowd when Mike Trout drew a two-out walk to give Ohtani another plate appearance. He singled right into the left fielder, and there was no real chance it would turn into a double.

No starting pitcher has ever hit for the cycle, according to Sportradar.

“I was definitely happy to see that walk give me a chance for the cycle,” Ohtani said. “But I failed.”

Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez (2-1) allowed eight runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. With the score tied at 4 in the fourth, Ohtani connected for his ninth home run of the season. The ball appeared to bounce off the goal behind the seating area in right-center field at Camden Yards.

Shohei Ohtani hits a three-run homer to right-center field

Shohei Ohtani hits a three-run homer to right-center field

“I was pretty relaxed at the plate today,” Ohtani said. “He hung the curveball in a good spot. I didn’t even take a hard swing, but the ball went where it was going.”

Matt Thaiss added an RBI double in that inning. Then in the fifth, Ohtani tripled and scored his third run of the game on Hunter Renfroe’s double.

The Orioles had more success against Ohtani while he was pitching. Frazier hit a two-run homer in the second to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead, and after the Angels’ Gio Urshela hit a two-run double in the third, Anthony Santander responded with a two-run homer in the bottom of the game. inning to put the Orioles up 4-3.

Chad Wallach led off the fourth with a home run for the Angels, and they scored four more runs in the inning.

Cedric Mullins hit a solo shot for Baltimore in the fifth. After allowing just two runs in 28 innings over his first five starts, Ohtani has allowed 17 runs in 25 innings over his last four. In those last four starts, he has hit eight home runs.

“He gets tired sometimes,” manager Phil Nevin said. “Awesome night. I know he gave up all five runs, but … the damage was minimal because the hits went down. There weren’t a lot of guys on base.”

Report from The Associated Press.

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