Shohei Ohtani did something on Sunday afternoon that hadn’t been accomplished in 99 years, and in the process, the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way player earned the victory in a 7-4 win over the Oakland A’s.
Ohtani became the first major leaguer since Babe Ruth in 1919 to start on Opening Day as a non-pitcher (he went 1-for-5 as the DH), and then start on the mound within his team’s first 10 games of the season.
Ohtani (1-0) gave up three runs on three hits and one walk in six innings, striking out six along the way. All three hits came in the second inning, including a three-run home run by A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. That gave the A’s a 3-2 lead at the time, but it was short-lived.
The Angels offense battered A’s starter Daniel Gossett (0-1) and five relievers for 13 hits, including three each by Andrelton Simmons and Jefry Marte. Mike Trout and Zack Cozart added two hits apiece.
Ohtani could not have started much better, retiring the A’s in order in the first inning with two strikeouts.
But in the second, he yielded consecutive singles by Matt Joyce and Stephen Piscotty before Chapman unloaded with his three-run home run off an 82-mph slider.
But that was it. Ohtani, who consistently hit 97 and 98 mph with his fastball, retired the side in order in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.
He threw a first-pitch strike to 14 of the 22 batters he faced.
The homer by Chapman, his first of the season, erased a 2-0 lead the Angels had given Ohtani in the top of the second inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Luis Valbuena and Marte against Gossett.
The Angels, though, regained the lead and knocked Gossett out of the game in the fifth. Gossett allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base, and was replaced by Yusmeiro Petit.
Petit, who pitched for the Angels last season, gave up an RBI double to Trout and a sacrifice fly to Justin Upton — both runs charged to Gossett — allowing the Angels to go up 4-3.
Los Angeles added three more runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Kole Calhoun and a two-run single by Simmons. Oakland scored one in the ninth.
The Angels, who won three of four in the series, will play their home opener Monday against the Cleveland Indians. Oakland will host the Texas Rangers on Monday.
—Field Level Media