SEATTLE – Shohei Ohtani returned from a sprained ankle and took a shutout into the seventh inning while outpitching Felix Hernandez, Mike Trout hit his 12th home run and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 8-2 on Sunday.
Ohtani (3-1) made his first start on the mound since April 24. The two-way Japanese star looked to be completely in rhythm and showed no effects, striking out six.
Ohtani was able to keep the ball down in the strike zone against a Seattle lineup that typically hits well against fastball pitchers. And his breaking pitches left batters flailing.
It was 6-0 going into the seventh, and Ohtani had been nearly flawless before running into trouble after a lengthy break on the bench. He gave up a leadoff single to Mitch Haniger, watched Ryon Healy hit a two-run homer and issued a four-pitch walk. Manager Mike Scioscia quickly made a switch, pulling Ohtani after 98 pitches to a mix of boos from Seattle fans and cheers from those that showed up in red.
Ohtani allowed six hits, walked two and didn’t allow a runner past second until Healy homered in the seventh. It was the second time in his five starts Ohtani allowed less than three earned runs.
Trout’s home run, which put him one behind Boston’s Mookie Betts for the major league lead, was the last of three hit by the Angels. Zack Cozart and Chris Young connected for solo drives off Hernandez (4-3) in the second.
But what became Seattle’s undoing was a wild pitch on a strikeout that should have ended the sixth. Hernandez got Young swinging for what should have been the third out, but the breaking ball was spiked in the dirt and catcher Mike Zunino had little chance to keep it from bouncing to the backstop. Young was safe and first and scored on the next pitch as Rene Rivera doubled.
Hernandez walked Ian Kinsler on four pitches, the final batter he faced. Chasen Bradford entered and on his second pitch Trout hit a towering shot into the Angels’ bullpen for a 6-0 lead.
Hernandez was tagged with five earned runs. He struck out five and walked four.
Rivera added a two-run single in the ninth off reliever Casey Lawrence.