ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani allowed two runs, struck out eight and threw a stateside career-high 117 pitches in seven innings, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 Friday night.
The Japanese two-way star leads the majors with 42 homers and dropped his ERA to 2.97. He went at least seven innings for the fifth time in 20 starts this season. He reached at least 100 pitches for the fourth time in 32 big league starts. His previous high pitch count was 110 against Tampa Bay on May 20, 2018.
The last time Ohtani (9-1) threw at least 117 pitches was his last regular-season game in the Japanese League, when he had 124 for the Nippon Ham Fighters against Sapporo in October of 2017.
In his 11th start at Angel Stadium this season, Ohtani’s only bad pitch came in the second inning, when Jason Martin drove a fastball over the wall in right-center on the first pitch of the at-bat for a tying two-run homer.
Texas had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth, but Ohtani struck out Martin and got Leody Taveras to ground out to first to end the inning.
It looked like Ohtani might have a short night after he was hit on his right hand by Nate Lowe on a comebacker in the first inning, but he was able to shake it off and stayed in. Ohtani was originally scheduled to pitch Tuesday night, but his start was pushed back three days after he was hit in the same hand by a pitch in last Saturday’s game against San Diego.
Ohtani — who is 6-0 in his last eight starts — allowed seven hits and walked two. He also had two pitches of 100 mph, marking the first time he had done that for the Angels since he had eight in his first start on April 4 against the Chicago White Sox.
Ohtani was hitless in four at-bats, although two of his outs were hit over 100 mph.
The game remained knotted until the sixth inning, when Jo Adell got aboard on an infield single with two outs, advanced to third on Brandon Marsh’s double and scored when Max Stassi hit a deep grounder to short off Dennis Santana (2-4). Isiah Kiner-Falefa tried to make a play at first, but the throw was wide and brought Lowe off the bag.
Steve Cishek worked the eighth and Raisel Iglesias the ninth for his 30th save in 35 opportunities.
Texas’ Glenn Otto rebounded from early trouble and was solid in his second major league start. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
OFF AND RUNNING
The Angels jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI singles by Phil Gosselin and Jared Walsh. A big key to the early lead was two stolen bases in the inning. Leadoff hitter David Fletcher stole third and scored on Gosselin’s single while Gosselin stole second and scored on Walsh’s base hit.
Rangers: RHP Spencer Howard (COVID-19 protocols) allowed one run on three hits and struck out three during a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday night at El Paso.
The Angels released José Iglesias before the game after he lost his starting job at shortstop a couple weeks ago. Iglesias was batting .259 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs in 114 games. Los Angeles selected the contract of right-hander Janson Junk to fill the roster spot.
Angels LHP José Suarez (5-7, 4.10 ERA) is seeking his second win against the Rangers this season after allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings in an 11-3 victory on Aug. 3. He will be opposed by Texas LHP Kolby Allard (3-11, 5.01 ERA), who had four quality starts in his five outings last month.
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