Baseball / MLB

Ohtani comes off bench to hit three-run homer in victory

AP, Kyodo

Albert Pujols keeps climbing up the career hits list and hurting the Texas Rangers in their home park.

This time, he had some help from rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani.

Pujols drove in a season-high four runs, Ohtani hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels beat Texas 11-7 on a rainy Saturday night.

Pujols went 3-for-4 to tie 19th-century star Cap Anson for 23rd with 3,081 hits. His 633rd homer was his 16th in 59 games in Arlington.

“This is a tremendous offensive ballpark,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Albert swings the bat pretty well wherever he goes.”

Pujols hit a solo home run in the second inning and a two-run single in the third against Rangers starter Martin Perez.

“I threw a bad pitch to Pujols, and he hit a home run off me,” Perez said.

Pujols singled home another run in the seventh against losing pitcher Eddie Butler (2-3) for a 7-6 lead.

Ohtani, a left-handed batter, then came on as a pinch hitter and homered to center field before Taylor Ward hit his first major league homer to complete the five-run inning against right-hander Butler.

“Shohei coming off the bench was a huge hit,” Scioscia said.

Before the game, Scioscia told reporters Ohtani will face hitters at the club’s training complex in Tempe, Arizona sometime next week. It will be his first time facing hitters since being activated off the disabled list on July 3.

Ohtani threw 20 fastballs in a bullpen session before Saturday’s game.

“It was a light session to check my form. It was good I had an opportunity to test my pitches before my next (outing),” Ohtani said after his fourth bullpen session.

“I’m right on schedule (with the injury rehab). Neither slow nor fast,” he said.

Ohtani, who landed on the DL on June 8 with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, resumed pitching practice on Aug. 11 and threw to a catcher in a squat two days later. He tossed 33 pitches with batters in the box on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has not pitched for the Angels since June 6.

Athletics 7, Astros 1

In Oakland, Trevor Cahill pitched one-hit ball for seven shutout innings and the Athletics, far behind in the AL West standings earlier this summer, moved into a tie with Houston for the division lead.

Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Josh Phegley and Stephen Piscotty each hit two of Oakland’s team record-tying eight doubles as the A’s won for the sixth time in seven games.

In Other Games

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Yankees 11, Blue Jays 6

Orioles 4, Indians 2

Royals 3, White Sox 1

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