Oakland – Shohei Ohtani hit his 19th home run of the season and stole his 10th base of the year on Wednesday, but the Los Angeles Angels blew an early lead in an 8-4 loss that allowed the Oakland Athletics to complete a series sweep.
The Angels led by four after two innings, with Ohtani homering for the second straight day to drive in the fourth run, but then gave up eight runs from the fourth to the eighth to drop the series finale at Oakland Coliseum.
Ohtani now has sole possession of third place on MLB’s home run leaderboard, behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays (22) and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres (21).
“I think I’ve been doing alright these days,” Ohtani said of his hitting performance.
“The game could have gone either way (with the Angels up 4-1 in the top of the fifth) so I thought it would be advantageous for the leadoff hitter to reach base,” he said of his bunt single followed by his steal of second base.
Ohtani advanced to third on a Jose Iglesias groundout, but was left stranded when Taylor Ward lined out to end the inning. The Japanese two-way player, whose homer was a 435-foot (132-meter) solo shot off Athletics left-hander Cole Irvin, finished the day 2-for-4.
Angels starter Griffin Canning threw just 69 pitches, and Tony Watson (2-3), who was charged with six runs without retiring any of the six hitters he faced, was removed before he could get a single out in the sixth.
Oakland first baseman Matt Olson tallied three of the team’s 10 hits and Burch Smith (1-0) pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings for the win.
After the game, Ohtani expressed gratitude to those who contributed to him being top vote-getter among American League designated hitters in the first balloting update for the July 13 MLB All-Star Game. Ohtani has yet to be selected to an all-star game his MLB career.
“There are so many great hitters in the DH category, so I feel grateful to have received a lot of votes over them,” he said after the results of the first of two phases of fan voting were released.
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