OAKLAND, California – Shohei Ohtani took his first loss of the season Friday, giving up three runs over six-plus innings as the Los Angeles Angels fell 3-1 to the Oakland Athletics.
A day after his scheduled start was postponed because of a traffic jam en route to the Oakland Coliseum, the two-way star received little offensive support as he lost a pitching duel with A’s lefty Sean Manaea.
Kept out of the batting lineup, Ohtani (1-1) struck out five while allowing three hits, walking four and hitting one. He exited the mound with none out in the seventh after walking a pair and giving up the go-ahead run on a Matt Chapman single.
“Midway through it felt like I was able to get easy outs. It was also good that I kept my pitch count down,” said Ohtani, who has a 2.72 ERA and 50 strikeouts after seven games.
“I wanted to keep them scoreless (in the seventh inning). If I could have done that in a good rhythm, I may have been able to continue into the eighth or ninth. So that was an important inning, not only for the team, but for me.”
The right-handed pitcher sparked a heated moment in the third when he threw a 93.3 mph (150 kph) fastball that flew up and in near batter Mark Canha’s head.
The Oakland outfielder shouted his disapproval at Ohtani, before exchanging angry words with Halos catcher Kurt Suzuki as both benches briefly emptied. Ohtani remained calm throughout the incident, raising his hand to signal an apology to Canha.
Ohtani struck out Canha a few pitches later, with Suzuki getting a double play by throwing out Elvis Andrus at second on a stolen base attempt.
In a bizarre twist, Ohtani hit Canha in the back in his next plate appearance in the sixth inning, having lost his footing while delivering a fastball. The gaffe was clearly accidental, however, with Ohtani once again offering his apologies, though he was showered with boos from the home fans. The A’s then took a 1-0 lead after a bunt and a Matt Olson sacrifice fly.
Manaea allowed six hits and three walks while striking out eight over 6⅔ innings, but did not factor in the decision after the Angels tied the game in the top of the seventh, on two singles and a sacrifice.
Righty Yusmeiro Petit (7-0) got the win, throwing 1⅓ scoreless innings after relieving Manaea.
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