CHICAGO – Shohei Ohtani shared few details about his recent hitting adjustments. The results speak for themselves.
Ohtani hit a three-run home run and drove in a career-high five runs to help the Los Angeles Angels to an 8-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.
“I’m not only happy with the results but the process and how I’m feeling at the plate,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.
Ohtani finished with three hits and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
“He struggled there for a bit and started working on some things in Oakland with some mechanics in his swing,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He seems to be reaping the benefits of it. We seem to be reaping the benefits.”
Albert Pujols and Kevan Smith added two hits apiece for the Angels, who have won 10 of 11 against Chicago.
Jose Abreu homered and drove in four runs, and Yoan Moncada had three hits for the White Sox, who have dropped 10 of 12. Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 to raise his AL-leading average to .334, six points ahead of DJ LeMahieu of the New York Yankees.
Abreu hit a three-run home run — his 30th — off Luis Garcia to pull the White Sox within one run in the seventh.
The Angels loaded the bases in the ninth with a single, intentional walk to pinch-hitter Mike Trout and another walk. Brian Goodwin lined out to first to end the threat.
Hansel Robles pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 23 opportunities.
Ohtani homered off Dylan Covey (1-8) to give the Angels a 5-2 lead in the third. The opposite-field shot was the designated hitter’s 17th homer of the season. Ohtani is 11-for-24 against the White Sox this year.
“I feel like it’s just a coincidence,” Ohtani said. “Yesterday, today, faced really good pitchers. Balls just found holes.”
He became the first Japanese-born player to have five RBIs and a stolen base in a major league game.
Ohtani, who started in the cleanup spot, hit a two-run double off Covey (1-8) in his first at-bat in the first inning to give the Angels an early lead at Guaranteed Rate Field.
In his second at-bat in the third inning, he connected off Covey again, this time for his go-ahead three-run drive, his first homer since Aug. 18.
“I wasn’t aiming for a homer. I just wanted to swing well,” said Ohtani.
“It’s been a while (since I hit a homer). I feel like I’ve done my job. It was close but it’s good that we won,” he said.
Ohtani, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, also said he will resume throwing after the Angels return to Anaheim on Monday. He has not pitched this season.
Los Angeles starter Andrew Heaney (4-4) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings for the win. He struck out eight and walked none.
Astros 2, Mariners 1
In Houston, Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi was relieved after he gave up a game-tying solo homer to Alex Bregman in the sixth inning of his team’s loss to the Astros. He was charged with one run on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in five-plus innings of work. He didn’t factor in the decision.,
“We dropped the first two games (of the four-game series) so I didn’t want the same thing to happen today. It (the pitch to Bregman) wasn’t a bad one, he was better,” Kikuchi said.
Astros starter Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings to get his MLB-leading 18th win in his first start since throwing his third no-hitter.
Verlander (18-5) allowed four hits with one run and fanned seven in his 30th start of the season. He leads the American League with a 2.52 ERA and his 264 strikeouts are second in the majors behind teammate Gerrit Cole.
Brewers 3, Cubs 2
In Milwaukee, Yu Darvish pitched five scoreless innings for Chicago but did not figure in the decision as the Brewers beat the Cubs on a walk-off double by Christian Yelich.
Darvish, who skipped a start due to right forearm tightness, yielded just three hits while striking out seven and walking one.
“My forearm hasn’t been in good condition for two months and I was worried, but I was able to pitch without feeling any tightness. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow, but I’ll just do what I can,” Darvish said.
Brewers pinch hitter Tyler Austin reached on shortstop Addison Russell’s ninth-inning throwing error. Before Yelich batted, Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy came out to talk with pitcher Brandon Kintzler (3-3). Whatever was said didn’t work as Yelich recorded his 500th career RBI.
Yelich walked three times and swiped second each time, extending his career-best to 30 steals. He became the 10th player in major league history with 40 home runs and 30 stolen bases, a feat that’s been accomplished 12 times, the last by Ryan Braun in 2012. Yelich, who has 44 homers, was on in the first, sixth and eighth, getting the record-setting swipe off Rowan Wick.
In Other Games
Phillies 5, Mets 0
Diamondbacks 2, Reds 0
Braves 5, Nationals 4
Cardinals 10, Pirates 1
Giants 1, Dodgers 0
Padres 3, Rockies 0
Yankees 5, Red Sox 1
Rangers 9, Orioles 4
Twins 5, Indians 3
Athletics 10, Tigers 2
Rays 5, Blue Jays 3
Royals 7, Marlins 2
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5