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Shohei Ohtani strikes out nine to lead Angels past Rays

AP, Kyodo

Shohei Ohtani left the mound to a standing ovation after his longest, deepest start for the Los Angeles Angels. He doffed his cap with a weary right arm, acknowledging the roars for the latest milestone in his remarkable rookie season.

The Angels already knew Ohtani had a prodigious talent. He also showed a wealth of tenacity while beating the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ohtani struck out nine while throwing 7⅔ innings of excellent six-hit ball in his seventh career start, and the Angels snapped their five-game skid with a 5-2 victory on Sunday.

Martin Maldonado homered and drove in two runs, and Zack Cozart drove in two more runs on sacrifice flies as the Angels wrapped up a disappointing 11-game homestand with only four victories — including both games started by Ohtani (4-1). The Angels are 6-1 when Ohtani starts.

Los Angeles’ rookie two-way sensation had another strong outing in the longest start of his MLB career, limiting Tampa Bay to three baserunners in his first six innings.

“I had a little trouble in the seventh inning, and I was happy I was able to get out of it,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I felt good, and I was glad we were able to get the win.”

Indeed, Ohtani demonstrated his resilience late. He kept Tampa Bay scoreless in the seventh despite yielding two singles, and he gave up a run while battling for two more outs in the eighth.

“That’s a great sign, to throw 110 pitches and maintain your stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Shohei showed a lot of what he’s about. That’s what makes him so special.”

Ohtani surrendered a lead-off homer to rookie Johnny Field in the third then retired the 12 straight batters he faced.

“I didn’t feel great, but still managed to put together a decent start,” Ohtani said. “I pitched into the eighth, which was also good.

“I’m glad I could stop our slide. I let them on the board first, but I found a way to go long and help us win the ballgame. I thought we could win this one because the mood in the dugout was good, even after I gave up the home run.”

Cubs 6, Reds 1

In Cincinnati, Yu Darvish earned his first win of the season and 150th of his career in the majors and Japan, with six strong innings.

Darvish (1-3) bounced back from a slow start to the season which saw him make seven starts without a win, putting him in the sights of critical local media who wondered whether he will live up to his hefty $126 million, six-year contract signed in the offseason.

“One is better than zero. I feel like the season has finally started for me,” Darvish said.

In his 94-pitch outing, he limited the damage to a run and two hits while striking out seven and walking three.

“If I had not done my best (until now) and results were bad I would be angry at myself. But I’ve given it 100 percent and I wasn’t seeing results, so what can I do?” Darvish said.

Of his 150 wins, 57 were recorded in the majors and 93 with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in NPB from 2005-2011.

Cardinals 5, Phillies 1

In St. Louis, Jack Flaherty struck out a career-high 13 to earn his first major league win and Tyler O’Neill homered for the Cardinals.

Making his ninth big league start, Flaherty (1-1) gave up just two hits and walked one in 7⅔ dominant innings. He also singled in the third for his first hit.

Jordan Hicks got four outs to finish the two-hitter and threw the fastest pitch in the majors this season, according to Statcast — a 105 mph (169 kph) fastball to Odubel Herrera in the ninth. Hicks hit 105 mph twice and 104 (167) three times against Herrera, the five fastest pitches in the big leagues this year.

Giants 9, Rockies 5

In San Francisco, Brandon Belt snapped a seventh-inning tie with a three-run homer for the Giants.

Nick Hundley added a solo shot later in the seventh for San Francisco, which salvaged a four-game split after dropping the first two games of the series.

Padres 8, Pirates 5

In Pittsburgh, Freddy Galvis drove in the go-ahead run in a four-run ninth inning with San Diego’s second successful squeeze bunt of the game, and the Padres rallied for their third win of the four-game series.

Twins 3, Brewers 1

In Minneapolis, Logan Morrison hit a two-run single, and four relievers worked 3⅓ scoreless innings to lift the Twins over Milwaukee.

Addison Reed (1-3) struck out one batter in one hitless inning. Fernando Rodney fanned the side in the ninth for his ninth save.

Mets 4, Diamondbacks 1

In New York, Amed Rosario hit his first two home runs of the season and pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera connected for a go-ahead drive, leading Noah Syndergaard and the Mets over Arizona for a surprising sweep.

New York hadn’t won back-to-back games in more than a month before rolling past the NL West leaders for their first three-game sweep at home since September 2016 vs. Minnesota. Arizona has lost four in a row and 10 of 11.

Braves 10, Marlins 9

In Atlanta, Dansby Swanson’s two-run single capped a six-run ninth inning, and the NL-leading Braves rallied to stun Miami.

Ronald Acuna Jr. drove in two runs in the seventh and another in the ninth as Atlanta moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since July 5, 2014. The Braves have won nine of their last 12.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 2

In Washington, Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Nationals.

Hernandez’s blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6⅔ innings with seven strikeouts.

Yankees 10, Royals

In Kansas City, Tyler Austin hit a pair of two-run homers, Sonny Gray (3-3) allowed four hits in eight innings and New York won its eighth consecutive series for the first time since 1998.

Miguel Andujar and Austin Romine added back-to-back homers in the ninth for the Yankees, who have won 14 of their last 15 against AL Central teams.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 0

In Boston, J.D. Martinez had his first multihomer game for the Red Sox and drove in three runs, and Andrew Benintendi had a two-run homer among his three hits.

Boston is 6-1 against Baltimore this season.

Athletics 9, Blue Jays 2

In Toronto, Daniel Mengden (4-4) allowed two hits over seven shutout innings to win his second straight start as Oakland completed a four-game sweep.

Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer and had three RBIs, and Matt Chapman had three hits.

Mariners 3, Tigers 2 (11)

In Seattle, Mitch Haniger hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning and Jean Segura’s RBI single in the 11th gave the Mariners the victory over Detroit.

Tigers starter Francisco Liriano took a no-hitter into the seventh but closer Shane Greene blew his third save of the season, giving up Haniger’s 11th home run on an 0-2 pitch with one out.

White Sox 3, Rangers 0

In Chicago, Reynaldo Lopez allowed only two hits in a career-high eight innings and the White Sox beat Texas for their first home series win this season.

Lopez (1-3) struck out eight and walked two in his first victory since Sept. 22 against Kansas City. Jace Fry pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save.

Astros 3, Indians 1

In Houston, Lance McCullers allowed one hit over seven innings and Brian McCann hit a two-run homer to lead the Astros past Cleveland.

With the game still scoreless in the seventh inning, McCann sent the ball over the Astros’ bullpen in right-center field off an 87 mph (140 kph) changeup from Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (5-3). The homer brought home Yuli Gurriel, who led off the inning with a single.