Ohtani strong in return, Angels beat Mariners 8-2
SEATTLE — After nearly two weeks off the mound due to a sprained ankle, Shohei Ohtani was a bit surprised about how he felt.
He was less surprised by how he pitched.
“I had no worries about my command. I felt like today I had one of my better commands,” Ohtani said through a translator.
The two-way Japanese star took a shutout into the seventh inning while outpitching Felix Hernandez and got help from Mike Trout’s 12th home run in the Los Angeles Angels’ 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Ohtani (3-1) made his first start on the mound since April 24 and looked to be completely in rhythm and showed no effects. He struck out six and used a mix of his four pitches to keep Seattle’s hitters off balance.
Ohtani was able to keep the ball down in the strike zone against a Mariners lineup that typically fares well against fastball pitchers. And his breaking pitches left batters flailing.
“His stuff is really good. Stuff was real,” Seattle’s Kyle Seager said. “Definitely throws hard and has a good splitter. Was throwing some slow curveballs and seemed like he had his slider working pretty well today, too.”
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.
“The booing that didn’t faze me at all. The way I left the game, giving up the two runs and a walk like that is something I need to work on,” Ohtani said.