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Shohei Ohtani’s two-run homer not enough for Angels against Astros

Kyodo

Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer Saturday in the Los Angeles Angels’ 8-3 defeat against the Houston Astros.

With Los Angeles trailing 4-0 at Angel Stadium, Ohtani followed Mike Trout into the box after the center fielder singled to lead off the fourth inning.

The 24-year-old Japanese rookie, batting cleanup as the Angels’ designated hitter, sent a first-pitch changeup from Justin Verlander (13-8) past the center field wall, snapping the right-hander’s streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings at the Angels’ ballpark. It was Ohtani’s 14th home run.

“I wasn’t certain it would get out when I hit it,” Ohtani said. “He’s a great pitcher. He’s at a level where no matter how many times you face him, it’s still hard to get a hit against him.”

Trout led off the sixth with his second single of the game, but this time Ohtani was struck out by Verlander. After Albert Pujols flied out, Andrelton Simmons tripled in Trout to make it 4-3.

In the eighth, the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez started a four-run rally with a solo homer against lefty Williams Jerez, the Angels’ fifth of seven relievers on the night, and the visitors sealed the win.

Ohtani’s first hit was a double in the second and he was hit by a pitch from Roberto Osuna in the eighth.

Osuna hit Ohtani an inning after Astros star Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch. Osuna threw behind Ohtani with his first pitch, an indication it was intentional retaliation for Altuve, and both dugouts were warned.

In the ninth, Angels reliever Deck McGuire hit former Yokohama BayStars player Yuli Gurriel. McGuire and Angels manager Mike Scioscia were both ejected.

Los Angeles starter Jaime Barria (8-8) took the loss for giving up four runs on five hits and two walks.

Ohtani tossed a 21-pitch bullpen session before the game on Saturday and is scheduled to throw 40-50 pitches in his second simulated game on Monday as he continues to progress through rehabilitation.

“If I can do a good job this next time, it will increase the possibility I can make a pitching comeback (this season),” Ohtani said.

In Other Games

Yankees 10, Orioles 3 (1st)

Yankees 5, Orioles 1 (2nd)

Rays 5, Red Sox 1

Athletics 6, Twins 2

Royals 7, Indians 1

White Sox 6, Tigers 1

Mariners 4, Diamondbacks 3 (10)

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6

Giants 5 Rangers 3

Rockies 9, Cardinals 1

Dodgers 5, Padres 4 (12)

Marlins 3, Braves 1

Mets 3, Nationals 0

Cubs 10, Reds 6

Pirates 9, Brewers 1