ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Shohei Ohtani struck out nine after an uneven first inning on the mound, in addition to scoring three runs and producing two in an outing like no other since Babe Ruth 100 years earlier. The Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 on Monday.
The day after hitting his seventh home run to equal the Major League lead, Ohtani (1-0) became the first home run leader to start a game since Ruth started for the New York Yankees against Detroit Tigers, June 13, 1921. It was the second time this season that Ohtani pitched and hit second.
The Japanese right-hander allowed four runs in the first inning before retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, with all his strikeouts in that stretch.
After getting a one-out walk and scoring on a Jared Walsh single in the Angels’ first to make the score 1-0, Ohtani pitched 28 times in the bottom of that inning, walked four, hit a batter and made a wild pitch. But the game was even at 4 in the second after Ohtani hit a two-run double and scored on a Mike Trout single.
Justin Upton and Albert Pujols led the Angels with consecutive home runs to open the third off Texas starter Jordan Lyles (1-2), who allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. Later, José Iglesias homered off Hyeon-Jong Yang, the South Korean left-hander making his major league debut.
Trout also added an RBI double among his four hits on his return to the roster to raise his average to .426. He had missed three games this weekend in Houston with a sore left elbow after being hit by a ball Thursday in the first game of the series against the Houston Astros.