Shohei Ohtani allows 4 homers for the first time, still gets the victory in Angels' 8-5 win

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Saturday, July 22, 2023

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- - Shohei Ohtani allowed four homers for the first time in his major league career while pitching six-hit ball into the seventh inning and earning the mound victory in the Los Angeles Angels' 8-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Ohtani pitched through his struggles and didn't leave the game until the seventh inning, allowing five runs on six hits with nine strikeouts. He got a standing ovation amid chants of "M-V-P! M-V-P!" from Angels fans in his final mound start at home before the major league trade deadline Aug. 1.

"I'm very happy to hear this, obviously," Ohtani said through his translator. "But at the same time, I felt like I could have performed better and given us a better shot."

Ohtani is in the final year of team control before unrestricted free agency, but the Angels have said they're unlikely to trade the 2021 AL MVP, particularly if they're in the playoff race at the deadline. Los Angeles had a 1-10 swoon around the All-Star break, but has won five of six since to improve its hopes of contending.

"That did not cross my mind at all," Ohtani said of the possibility he had just made his final mound appearance for the Halos at the Big A. "Obviously, I'm a part of the Angels at this moment, and I feel like we're in a decent spot to make a playoff run, so I just try not to really think about that."

Ohtani also scored two runs while drawing three walks at the plate for the Angels, who have won four in a row. Los Angeles manager Phil Nevin praised his ace for resilience.

"He ran the bases, what, four or five times today?" Nevin asked. "There's a factor in that. It just seems the more times he's on base, the fatigue sets in earlier. ... He was throwing strikes. He went right after hitters. They've got some good hitters, and good hitters are going to hit pitches out sometimes."

Pirates rookie Henry Davis became the first major league player to homer twice off Ohtani. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft had three total hits off Ohtani, while Ji Man Choi and Jack Suwinski also homered in Pittsburgh's power spree from the fourth to the sixth innings.

Ohtani (8-5) had allowed three homers in three previous starts over his six seasons with for the Angels, but the two-way superstar had never yielded four homers in a single start in the majors or during his years in Japan's top league.

The Angels bailed out Ohtani with their own homer-happy display: Mike Moustakas hit a three-run shot and Trey Cabbage hit his first major league homer in the fourth before Zach Neto and Taylor Ward homered in the fifth.

Ohtani's bullpen also pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, with All-Star closer Carlos Estévez finishing up for his 22nd save.

"Obviously, a team win is a team win, and I'm really happy about that," Ohtani said. "I'll look back at my outing and see what I did wrong."

Mickey Moniak drove in Ohtani with an early double before the Angels' four homers. The Halos homered in their 19th consecutive game overall, setting a new franchise record by surpassing the 1982 team.

Despite their impressive work against Ohtani, the Pirates opened a six-game Southern California road trip with their sixth loss in seven games since the break.

"Henry had great at-bats," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "You're talking about arguably the best pitcher in the game, and we did well against him."

Johan Oviedo (3-11) yielded five runs on three hits and three walks over four innings.

Ohtani had five strikeouts in the first three innings, but Choi drilled a belt-high cutter into the elevated right field stands for the game's first run in the fourth. Davis followed three pitches later with his third career homer, blasting an even worse breaking ball to deep left.

Shortly after Ohtani drew a leadoff walk and scored from first on Moniak's double in the fourth, Moustakas delivered his fifth homer in 17 games since joining the Angels.

Cabbage then turned Oviedo's fastball into a 448-foot homer, the first for the 26-year-old infielder who got his first major league callup one week ago.

Suwinski trimmed the Pirates' deficit to 5-4 with his 20th homer in the fifth.

Neto led off the Angels' fifth with the eighth homer of his impressive rookie season. After Ohtani struck out and reached base on a wild pitch, Ward delivered his 12th homer.


Pirates: Left-hander José Hernández returned from the 15-day injured list and allowed the fifth-inning homers by Neto and Ward. Pittsburgh optioned right-hander Yohan Ramirez to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room.

Angels: Mike Trout got the stitches out of his left hand Wednesday, but it must fully heal before he can swing a bat again. The three-time AL MVP has been out since July 3 with a broken hamate bone. He is still expected back in August.


Rookie Osvaldo Bido (1-1, 5.00 ERA) makes his seventh start for the Pirates. He faces Los Angeles' Reid Detmers (2-6, 4.42 ERA), the former batterymate of Pittsburgh's Davis at the University of Louisville.


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