ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 43rd home run and Jose Suarez pitched a five-hitter, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Ohtani connected for a three-run homer in the sixth inning, a 426-foot drive to right field to a chorus of “MVP!” chants. He homered on the same night Kansas City’s Salvador Perez homered twice to reach 40.
Ohtani needs four more homers to match the franchise record of 47 set by Troy Glaus in 2000. Of Ohtani’s homers this year, 25 have come at Angel Stadium, breaking the single-season team mark of Glaus, who had 24 at home during his big season.
Ohtani’s home run came a day after he pitched seven impressive innings to beat the Rangers 3-2.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani had no hesitation about being in Saturday’s lineup.
“We’re on the same wavelength,” Maddon said. “I know he can do it. He’s got to tell me where he’s at physically. (It’s) absolutely or something very positive. And he showed it and had some really good swings. You got to be tired after (117) pitches.”
Suarez (6-7) punched his glove several times and kept the ball from the final out in his first career complete game in the majors.
The 23-year-old lefty struck out eight, walked none and threw 100 pitches. The only run he permitted came in the ninth when Leody Taveras reached on an infield single to start the inning and later scored on Adolis Garcia’s groundout.
“I feel truly happy,” Suarez said through an interpreter. “I was out there in the eighth inning. I couldn’t believe I was still out there. It was very exciting.”
Kolby Allard (3-12), who grew up in Anaheim, retired the first seven batters of the game. Juan Lagares hit a solo home run in the third.
HOME SWEET HOME
Suarez is from Valenzuela and the ball from Saturday’s complete game win will be headed there as well. His dad has a collection of memorabilia from Suarez’s young career.
The sixth inning unraveled for the Rangers when Allard walked Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher reached on an error by Charlie Culberson.
“When you walk the nine-hole guy and get to the top of that lineup, Culby tried to rush that,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “The only reason he probably missed it was he tried to turn a double play knowing that Ohtani is coming up next. Unfortunately, it blew by him. At that point, first and second with nobody out with Ohtani coming up, we’re in trouble. Just didn’t execute a pitch.”
Rangers: RHP Spencer Howard (COVID-related IL) is expected back in the rotation to start on Tuesday.
Angels: OF Justin Upton (back pain) was scratched from Saturday’s lineup after experiencing pain during warmups … RHP Alex Cobb (right wrist) threw a bullpen session at Angel Stadium.
Rangers: LHP Taylor Hearn (4-4, 3.96 ERA) has won his last two starts and threw a season-high 6 2/3 innings last Sunday. He allowed two runs on six hits.
Angels: RHP Janson Junk (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his major league debut. Junk was a 22nd-round pick by the New York Yankees, who was acquired in the deal that sent Andrew Heaney to New York.
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