ANAHEIM, Calif. – Shohei Ohtani seemed to be the only person in Angel Stadium who wasn’t incredibly impressed while he mowed down the Oakland Athletics’ first 19 batters in order.
But when Ohtani finally yielded a hit and then struck out Matt Olson with two runners on to end the seventh inning, he gave a fist pump and a celebratory scream at the ground while the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
Even the two-way Japanese sensation realized his first home pitching start was a thrilling moment in his increasingly incredible rookie season.
Ohtani threw seven shutout innings of one-hit ball in his home debut on the mound, propelling the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 victory Sunday.
Marcus Semien’s clean one-out single to left broke up Ohtani’s bid for a perfect game, but he finished the inning with his 12th strikeout. Mixing 99 mph fastballs with precipitous breaking pitches and tremendous professional cool, Ohtani (2-0) was too much for Oakland – until the seventh, when he showed resilience, too.
“I wanted to keep a clean zero on the board,” Ohtani said. “One hit would (mean) two runs, and it’s a huge difference. I wanted that strikeout, and I got it.”
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