HOUSTON – Two-way star Shohei Ohtani pitched perfect ball into the sixth inning, tied a career-best with 12 strikeouts and also had two hits and two RBIs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Houston Astros 6-0 Wednesday night.
Ohtani (1-2) didn’t allow a baserunner until Jason Castro lined a single to center field with one out in the sixth – it was his first hit of the season, and the only one Houston got in the game. Rookie Jeremy Pena walked with two outs to elicit a visit to the mound before Ohtani retired Michael Brantley on a groundout with his final pitch.
Ohtani’s big night gave him his first win of the season after entering the game 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in his first two starts. He struck out six in a row at one point.
The reigning AL MVP made history Wednesday before he even took the mound. He batted twice in a six-run first inning as the Angels sent 10 to the plate – that made him the first starting pitcher since at least 1900 to bat twice in the first before throwing a pitch, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Angels immediately jumped on Jake Odorizzi (0-2). Ohtani drew a leadoff walk and the first five batters reached, putting Los Angeles up 2-0 before Odorizzi recorded an out.
There were two outs in the inning when Odorizzi’s fourth walk, to Tyler Wade with the bases loaded, ended his night.
Los Angeles took the series after beating Houston 7-2 Tuesday night following an 8-3 loss in the opener.
The Japanese star then struck out six in a row before Alvarez flied out to start Houston’s fifth. Tucker and Gurriel fanned to end the inning.
Ohtani matched his career high for strikeouts set on April 8, 2018, getting his 12th when Niko Goodrum struck out on a foul tip to start the sixth before Castro’s hit. The veteran catcher had been 0 for 9 to begin the season.
Houston struck out a season-high 15 times as the team was blanked by the Angels for the second time in this young season.
Angels: Manager Joe Maddon said Trout felt better Wednesday but was still sore, so they decided to give him another game off. He expects the star to return Friday.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, retroactive to Tuesday, with a strained left hamstring. Manager Dusty Baker said he didn’t think the injury was too serious, but that Altuve would probably need more than a week to recover. … Houston selected the contract of infielder J.J. Matijevic from Sugar Land of the Pacific Coast League and transferred infielder Taylor Jones to the 60-day injured list to make room for Matijevic on the 40-man roster.
Both teams have a day off Thursday before Houston opens a series with Toronto at home Friday and the Angels return home to host the Orioles.