MINNEAPOLIS - One week into Shohei Ohtani’s return to the Los Angeles Angels, the lineup is looking sharp.
Minnesota ace Jose Berrios bore the brunt of their batting success on Monday night.
Ohtani hit his first home run of the season, a towering two-run shot in the third inning against Berrios, and Tommy La Stella hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth to give the Angels a 5-4 victory over the Twins.
“I’ve been hitting the ball in the air recently,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I think it showed today that I’m improving.”
The Angels are 5-2 on this nine-game trip that started with Ohtani’s 2019 debut following Tommy John elbow surgery.
“We’ve been waiting to get him back. You see how different the lineup is when he’s in there, and hopefully he’s starting to get his timing,” La Stella said.
Ohtani went 2-for-3 and walked twice. His 131-meter blast off the video board facade beneath the second deck in left-center field was the highlight of the three-run, five-hit third. The AL Rookie of the Year homered 22 times in 326 at-bats in 2018.
“We all know the power’s there, and that was a no-doubter to the opposite field,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “You don’t see a lot of balls hit the other way from many people in this game that way.”
Ohtani also singled in the ninth.
La Stella hit his team-leading 10th homer of the season, in 36 games, and went 3-for-5. The 30-year-old second baseman, who came to the Angels in a largely unnoticed trade with the Chicago Cubs, had 10 home runs in 396 major league games entering this season.
Just as impressive as the power was the way Los Angeles continually beat the shifts employed by the Twins. Albert Pujols, who went 3-for-5, poked a single off an 0-2 curveball past the glove of Berrios (6-2) and through the empty right side of the infield in the fifth for a 4-2 lead.
Jorge Polanco and Marwin Gonzalez each hit two-run homers off Angels starter Tyler Skaggs (4-3), but Minnesota wasn’t able to overcome this uncharacteristic vulnerability by its All-Star right-hander.
“Today was one of those days where the ball found open spaces against us, and that’s just part of the game,” said Berrios, who gave up five runs and a career-high 12 hits in 5⅔ innings, his shortest start of the year, while walking three. He induced two groundball double plays.
The Twins went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including a fly ball by Mitch Garver with two on and two out in the fourth that left fielder Brian Goodwin caught with his glove stretched to the top of the wall and his back pressed against it.
“It’s going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if our guys bounce back well and have the same good at bats they have been having all year tomorrow,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Mariners 6, Athletics 5 (10)
In Seattle, Domingo Santana hit a tying two-out RBI double in the bottom of the 10th and then scored the winning run on Omar Narvaez’s single as the Mariners rallied past Oakland.
Ramon Laureano hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the 10th, the last of the Athletics’ five solo homers, to give the visitors the lead. But Seattle had one rally left, all of it coming with two outs against Joakim Soria (1-3).
Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi got a no-decision. He pitched six innings of five-hit ball, allowing three runs with two walks and five strikeouts.
Phillies 7, Brewers 4
In Philadelphia, J.T. Realmuto doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and the Phillies beat Milwaukee.
Lorenzo Cain had a career-high five hits and Mike Moustakas homered for the Brewers.
Diamondbacks 9, Pirates 3
In Phoenix, Eduardo Escobar homered, tripled and drove in three runs for Arizona.
In Other Games
White Sox 5, Indians 2
Astros 8, Tigers 1
Orioles at Yankees — ppd.