New York – Shohei Ohtani retook the sole lead in Major League Baseball’s home run chase on Tuesday night, hitting his 27th and 28th of the season and driving in three of the Los Angeles Angels’ five runs in an 11-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
The Japanese two-way player homered in back-to-back at-bats at Yankee Stadium, with a solo shot in the third inning trimming the Angels’ deficit to 5-3, and a two-run drive in the fifth making it 10-5. Both homers came off Jameson Taillon.
Both starting pitchers surrendered three homers, but while Taillon (3-4) went 5⅓ innings Andrew Heaney (4-6) lasted only three-plus innings.
Ohtani’s efforts at the plate were not enough to overcome the Angels’ poor pitching as Heaney was charged with seven runs, and then reliever James Hoyt gave up three more in the fourth.
Ohtani entered the night tied at 26 home runs with Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who has not homered since Saturday. It was the third time this season that Ohtani homered in three straight games.
Ohtani, who started as designated hitter in the No. 2 spot, finished the day 2 for 5. He flied out twice and grounded out once in his other at-bats.
The 26-year-old is set to make his long-awaited first Yankee Stadium mound appearance Wednesday when he is expected to both hit and pitch.
“Is there still a doubt who the MVP is?,” MLB Network insider Jon Heyman tweeted, as Ohtani-mania again swept social media.
“We have run out of ways to tweet about Ohtani home runs,” Fox Sports tweeted.
Ohtani, who advanced to the second phase of All-Star voting, leads as the American League designated hitter with 63% of the votes in the standings update released Tuesday. The All-Star starters will be announced on Thursday.
At Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Kenta Maeda had a rough start and was tagged with the loss in the Minnesota Twins’ 7-6 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.
Maeda (3-3), whose start was pushed back twice due to rainouts, gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4-2/3 innings with five walks and four strikeouts.
At the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Shogo Akiyama went 2-for-4 with an RBI, but the San Diego Padres hung on to beat the Japanese player’s Cincinnati Reds 5-4 in a game of bullpens. Akiyama had two singles, including one run-scoring, and two groundouts.
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