ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – AP
Shohei Ohtani became the second Japanese major leaguer to hit 20 home runs in a single season when he connected for a solo shot during the Los Angeles Angels’ 6-5 defeat against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
Right after teammate Mike Trout connected on a two-run blast to put the Angels on the scoreboard, Ohtani stepped into the box and hit a homer off Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez in the first inning at Angel Stadium.
Ohtani joined Hideki Matsui as the only Japanese player to hit at least 20 home runs in a single MLB season. Matsui did it five times, including in 2010 when he hit 21 for the Angels.
“I’m really happy (with home run No. 20) but it’s not over yet so I have to keep going,” Ohtani said.
When told Ichiro Suzuki, special assistant to the chairman of the Mariners, called him a “home run hitter,” Ohtani humbly denied the label.
“I don’t consider myself a home run hitter but there are many ways to contribute to the team score and hitting extra-base hits is one. I feel more comfortable with my at-bats than I did in the first half (of the season),” he said.
The Mariners are 7½ games behind Oakland for the final AL wild card with 14 games to play.
Seattle trailed 4-0 before Kristopher Negron and Mitch Haniger homered in the fifth inning. Negron added an RBI single in the sixth, then Robinson Cano cleared the bases in the eighth.
Ohtani went 2-for-4 with a homer, a single and two strikeouts.
Junichi Tazawa got the last four outs for the Angels.
Indians 15, Tigers 0
In Cleveland, Francisco Lindor and Brantley connected for back-to-back homers in the first inning off Michael Fulmer (3-12), Jose Ramirez had three hits and the Indians became the first team this year to clinch a division championship.
The Indians have won the last three AL Central titles.
“It’s really nice,” Lindor said. “We understand we still have a long way to go. We had an idea we were going to be in the postseason for a week now, but still, it feels good to celebrate, give that little teaser to all the guys, like, ‘This is what could happen if you continue to win.’ “
In Other Games
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 7
Rays 7, Athletics 5
White Sox 2, Orioles 0
Royals 10, Twins 3
Red Sox 5, Mets 3
Dodgers 17, Cardinals 4
Rangers 6, Padres 3
Astros 10, Diamondbacks 4
Nationals 7, Braves 1
Cubs 1, Reds 0
Phillies 5, Marlins 4
Pirates 3, Brewers 1
Giants 3, Rockies 0