Shohei Ohtani retired the Oakland Athletics‘ first 19 batters Sunday before Marcus Semien’s seventh-inning single broke up the two-way Japanese sensation’s bid for a perfect game in his first home pitching start for the Los Angeles Angels.
Ohtani had 11 strikeouts during the first six innings, striking out the side twice in an overwhelming performance. But after retiring Matt Joyce to open the seventh, Ohtani yielded a clean one-out single to left by Semien.
Jed Lowrie then drew a four-pitch walk, but Ohtani ended the threat by inducing Khris Davis’ weak groundout before getting Matt Olson for his 12th strikeout of the day. Ohtani received multiple standing ovations from the Angel Stadium crowd.
Los Angeles led 6-0.
The performance was the latest in a series of early superlatives by Ohtani, who has taken the majors by storm in his attempt to become the first regular two-way player in decades.
Ohtani won his big league pitching debut with six strong innings at Oakland one week ago. He was even better at home, mixing 99 mph fastballs with precipitous breaking pitches.
Although he isn’t hitting in the same games in which he pitches, Ohtani homered in three consecutive games earlier in the Angels’ homestand. He is 6 for 13 at the plate over the past week.
He was sharp from the start Sunday, striking out the side in the first inning on 15 pitches. He struck out the side again in the fifth inning, and he fanned every Oakland batter except Jonathan Lucroy at least once.
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