The Japan Times
Ohtani belts first career slam
Two-way star’s pair of home runs boosts Halos’ rout of Rays
Shohei Ohtani hit the first grand slam of his professional career in either Japan or the United States while adding another home run and five total RBIs in the Los Angles Angels’ 11-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
Ohtani, who is in his fifth season with the Angels, hit a solo homer off Jalen Beeks in the sixth, then followed with a grand slam off right-hander Calvin Faucher in the seventh. Tampa Bay starter Jeffrey Springs (1-1) was pulled after four innings.
“I felt good about my first at-bat (when I flied out) so I’m glad I was able to keep things going and get good results,” Ohtani said.
“I was ready to swing at any meaty pitch. I want to make sure every at-bat counts.”
Ohtani now has 99 homers in his Major League Baseball career. He hit just four homers in the Angels’ first 30 games of this season, well behind the pace he was on last season when he totaled 46 homers.
The stage for Ohtani’s grand slam — his sixth homer of 2022 — was set when the Angels loaded the bases and scored a run on a bases-loaded walk to Mike Trout that brought Ohtani to the plate.
It was the second two-home run game of the season for Ohtani. The other came on April 15 against the Texas Rangers.
The 27-year-old went 3-for-4 in the series opener at Angel Stadium on Monday.
The Angels’ offensive eruption, which included a three-run homer by Jared Walsh and a two-run homer by Mike Trout, backed another strong start by Noah Syndergaard (3-1), who gave up one run on seven hits and one walk in 5⅓ innings.
Randy Arozarena’s solo home run off Syndergaard gave the Rays a lead in the fourth inning, but it lasted only until the bottom of the fourth. Jeffrey Springs was perfect through three innings, then retired the first batter in the fourth before Trout ended the string with a single.
Ohtani followed with a single and one batter later, Walsh hit a three-run homer. In the sixth, Trout hit a two-run homer and on the very next pitch from Rays lefty Beeks, Ohtani hit his first homer of the night.
The Rays pushed across a couple runs in the top of the seventh, but the Angels responded with five in the bottom of the inning, the last four coming in on Ohtani’s slam.
In all, the Rays were 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position.
At PNC Park, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo went 2-for-3 with an RBI as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1. Tsutsugo hit an RBI sacrifice fly that gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.
At Petco Park, Seiya Suzuki went 1-for-3 with a run-scoring double, but he was replaced defensively in the sixth inning due to pain in his right ankle as the Chicago Cubs blanked the San Diego Padres 6-0.