• Kyodo


Shohei Ohtani delivered an RBI single in the eighth inning but the Houston Astros snuffed out hopes of a late rally by the Los Angeles Angels to win their series opener 4-1 on Friday.

Batting leadoff and serving as the designated hitter, Ohtani singled off Kendall Graveman with two outs and two on to score Brandon Marsh and bring the tying run to the plate.

The two-way superstar, who leads the majors with 38 home runs, swung for the fences but did not get solid contact on the 0-1 fastball, hitting the ball into shallow left. Ohtani took a big turn around first and sped to second when the fielder was not in a position to make a throw.

The Astros put the clamps on a comeback when Graveman got next batter David Fletcher to ground out and end the inning.

Kyle Tucker did the damage for the Astros with a grand slam in the top of the fourth, while Houston starter Zack Greinke (11-3) struck out seven over seven scoreless innings, with two hits and no walks.

Ohtani, who earned his seventh win a day earlier, received his second straight American League Player of the Month Award in a ceremony at Angel Stadium before the game.

He is the first Japanese player to claim the honor in consecutive months and the first major league player since 2012 to receive the award back to back.

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