It’s been a long season for Shohei Ohtani. And on his 20th start of 2022, his 112th game played on the season overall, the two-way star needed more than his usual amount of deep breaths to get through Monday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners.
In the first inning, he gave up a solo home run to Jesse Winker, then at the plate in his first at-bat fouled not one but two balls off himself — the first on his foot, which caused him to yelp and buckle over, and the second off his leg, which made him step away from the batter’s box and wince.
He came back the next inning, still grinding through his time on the mound. He finished with eight strikeouts and gave up two earned runs, seven hits and one walk over six innings. It was another quality start that ended in an Angels 6-2 loss to their division rivals.
Angels reliever Aaron Loup and poor defense behind him resulted in the Mariners being able to pull away with four runs in the ninth.
Sam Haggerty, Dylan Moore, Julio Rodríguez and Ty France were all able to score on: a series of errors (one throwing, one catching) by Max Stassi; miscommunication between Stassi and third baseman José Rojas, who tried to trap Haggerty between third and home; and two hits and two walks (one intentional) given up by Loup.
Ohtani started the game by getting Rodríguez to pop out and then striking out France, but after the home run by Winker, his third batter of the game, he labored, needing 97 pitches in total for his outing. The third inning in particular proved challenging.
Rodríguez sent Ohtani’s 0-and-1 four-seam fastball down the right-field line for what was thought to be a home run. Ohtani saw otherwise and called for interim manager Phil Nevin to check. A review of the play revealed a foul ball and Ohtani went on to strike out Rodríguez, but he wouldn’t get out of the inning without another Mariners run added to the scoreboard.
He got the second out of the inning, then gave up a single to Winker and walked Mitch Haniger. The single he gave up to J.P. Crawford, which the Mariner hit out to center field, was enough for Winker to score, comfortably reaching home plate before catcher Stassi got the inbounded ball from Magneuris Sierra.
For Ohtani’s sake, the Angels’ offense did pick him up after every run given up and he left the mound with a 2-2 score.
In the first inning, after Ohtani fouled those two pitches off himself, concluding that at-bat with a groundout, Luis Rengifo hit a home run off of Mariners starter Luis Castillo. The ball went into and popped out of Rodríguez’s glove above the yellow, home run-signaling line along the right-center-field wall. Rodríguez and Haggerty knocked into each other, both attempting to make a play on Rengifo’s hit, which was at first ruled just a triple.
And in the fourth inning, the Angels scored another run. Taylor Ward got a double off Castillo. Jared Walsh hit a single the next at-bat, but then a throwing error allowed Ward to continue home to score.
The Angels had a chance to pull ahead of the tie score in the eighth. Ohtani got a single on ball that bounced off the dirt in front of him and lingered between the mound and the plate. Walsh hit another single to put the go ahead runner in scoring position. But Steven Duggar struck out, leaving Ohtani and Walsh stranded.