Baseball / MLB

Shohei Ohtani lifts Angels to win over Athletics with two-run single in ninth inning

AP, Kyodo

Joakim Soria took issue with a 1-2 curveball he believed should have been strike three to Shohei Ohtani, who two pitches later lined a go-ahead single, and Oakland’s best winning streak in 13 years had all but ended.

Ohtani hit the tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels snapped the Athletics’ 10-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory Tuesday night.

The Angels’ Tommy LaStella singled with two outs in the top of the ninth and Mike Trout walked. They advanced on Soria’s wild pitch. Ohtani got the hit and when the inning ended, Soria immediately went to home plate and yelled in the face of umpire James Hoye and was ejected. A’s manager Bob Melvin then came out to speak with Hoye, with Melvin saying later “it’s a tough way to lose.”

“There’s a human factor in the game and that’s the beauty of the game. I understand he’s human,” Soria said. “He thought it was a ball, he called it. The only problem is because of the mistake I gave up two runs and we lost the game. . . . In that specific situation you cannot miss. I understand he’s human. He’s there for a reason, too.”

Ohtani realizes he might have caught a break.

“It was a really close pitch. I think it could have gone either way,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “The umpire called it a ball and whatever the umpire says goes. Sometimes I’ll get the wrong end of it. Today I guess I got the better end of it.”

Padres 5, Yankees 4

In New York, Masahiro Tanaka recovered after getting roughed up early, but the damage lingered as the Yankees were unable to rally in the rain at home.

After Padres leadoff man Greg Garcia reached on a mishandled grounder from New York third baseman DJ LeMahieu, Tanaka (3-4) allowed four runs, three earned, in the first inning at Yankee Stadium on two singles and a three-run homer from Eric Hosmer.

Tanaka regrouped with four scoreless innings before yielding an RBI single to Garcia in the sixth.

“Three of the first-inning runs were the result of careless pitches,” Tanaka said. “I think the game would have been completely different if I could have gotten through that giving up just one run. Those were four big points for the team.”

New York tried to rally in the rain, getting three runs in the seventh inning during a stretch when Padres manager Andy Green used six pitchers to face eight batters — not exactly endearing himself to fans huddled under ponchos and umbrellas.

San Diego escaped the seventh on Gary Sanchez’s flyout, Craig Stammen pitched the eighth and former Yankee reliever Kirby Yates pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 21 chances.

The game ended when video review overturned a safe call on LeMahieu’s grounder, giving the Padres a double play.

Sanchez hit a solo homer in the fourth for the AL East-leading Yankees, who lost for the third time in 15 games. It was Sánchez’s 17th homer, one shy of his total from an injury-spoiled 2018.

Eric Lauer (4-4) pitched one-run ball over 5⅓ innings for San Diego, getting four strikeouts and allowing four hits. The Padres stopped a two-game slide that followed a five-game winning streak.

Lightning struck nearby during the next inning break, and a burst of showers sent fans scrambling in the top of the seventh.

That’s when Green got the bullpen parade going.

Brad Wieck opened the seventh for San Diego, walked one and got a strikeout, then handed off to Phil Maton. He walked a batter and was replaced by Robbie Erlin, and Erlin allowed a single to load the bases before Green signaled for Stammen.

DJ LeMahieu greeted Stammen with a two-run single, Voit grounded a single off the third base bag to re-load the bases and Hicks made it 5-4 on a fielder’s choice before Sánchez cut comeback short with a harmless fly to left.

Stammen pitched a perfect eighth before handing off to Yates.

Twins 5, Brewers 3

In Minneapolis, Devin Smeltzer added another chapter to his inspiring comeback story, pitching six shutout innings in his big league debut and helping the Twins beat Brewers.

Diagnosed with a grapefruit-sized cancerous tumor against his bladder when he was just 9 years old, Smeltzer wasn’t deterred in his goal to reach the majors. The 23-year-old got his chance this week after the Twins put pitcher Michael Pineda on the injured list with right knee tendinitis.

Smeltzer allowed three hits, walked none and struck out seven. Showing a funky, three-quarter style delivery, the lanky left-hander threw 69 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Smeltzer left with the game scoreless and got a no-decision.

Eddie Rosario homered and Max Kepler added a two-run double for Minnesota, which has won 12 of 14 and has the best record in the majors.

Astros 9, Cubs 6

In Houston, Alex Bregman homered twice, with his second a tiebreaking two-run shot in the sixth inning that propelled injury-weakened Houston over Chicago in a win that gave manager AJ Hinch his 500th career victory.

Bregman, who is tied for the American League lead with 17 homers, got his first one in the third inning off starter Jon Lester (3-4). It was tied at 6-6 when he connected on Brad Brach’s first pitch for the second.

Roberto Osuna struck out one in a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Tigers 3, Orioles 0

In Baltimore, Matthew Boyd took a five-hitter into the seventh inning, Niko Goodrum homered and Detroit interrupted a prolonged slump by defeating Baltimore.

JaCoby Jones had two doubles and an RBI for the Tigers, who won for only the second time in 14 games since May 12.

Indians 7, Red Sox 5

In Boston, Roberto Perez and Greg Allen homered during a five-run ninth inning as Cleveland beat Red Sox.

Jordan Luplow added a two-run double after the Indians tied it and Brad Hand survived a bit of a shaky ninth for his 14th save, completing a rare come-from-behind win for Cleveland.

White Sox 4, Royals 3

White Sox 2, Royals 1 (susp.)

In Chicago, Lucas Giolito struck out 10 while winning his fifth straight start and the White Sox posted two victories over Kansas City.

Hours after Yolmer Sanchez hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to give Chicago a 2-1 win in the resumption of a suspended game, Giolito (7-1) put on quite a performance.

The right-hander gave up a three-run homer to Alex Gordon in the first, then dominated the rest of the way. He allowed three hits over eight inning and improved to 6-0 in his past eight starts.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 1

In St. Petersburg, Florida, Austin Meadows homered for the third straight game and five Rays pitchers combined to beat struggling AL East rival Toronto.

The second-place Rays won for the fourth straight time, improving to a season-best 13 games over .500 before an announced crowd of just 5,786 — smallest ever for a Rays home game at Tropicana Field.

The Blue Jays have dropped six of seven and fell to 0-8-1 in their series against Tampa Bay, dating to August 2017.

Rangers 11, Mariners 4

In Seattle, Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman homered and Texas beat Seattle to improve to 3-1 this season when using an opener instead of a starting pitcher.

Reliever Jesse Chavez opened the game for the Rangers, striking out three of the four batters he faced. He turned the ball over to Adrian Sampson (3-3) in the second inning. Sampson worked five innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out six.

The Rangers are 6-3 using the opener approach since last September.

Nationals 5, Braves 4

In Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg matched his season high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings and Washington took the lead on three straight walks to beat Atlanta.

Howie Kendrick had three hits, including his ninth homer, for the Nationals. Trea Turner also had three hits.

Braves rookie Austin Riley’s two-run homer in the eighth cut Washington’s lead to 5-4. Riley had three hits.

Sean Doolittle earned his 10th save in 12 chances.

Reds 11, Pirates 6

In Cincinnati, Derek Dietrich hit three homers — all two-run shots for the Reds — and Pittsburgh suffered yet another injury to its rotation.

Dietrich connected in the fourth off Jordan Lyles (5-2), who left after the inning with discomfort in his left hamstring. Dietrich then connected off Geoff Hartlieb in the fifth and again in the seventh for his first three-homer game. His 17 homers set a career high, and 12 of his last 17 hits have been home runs.

Scooter Gennett was the last Reds player with so many homers, matching the major league record with four on June 6, 2017.

Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 2

In Denver, Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer in the seventh, sending Colorado past Arizona.

Iannetta was a late addition to the lineup due to Tony Wolters’ bruised finger.

Marlins 11, Giants 3

Phillies 4, Cardinals 3

Mets 7, Dodgers 3