Los Angeles (AFP) – Shohei Ohtani, who returned from a sprained ankle, struck out six batters and took a shutout into the seventh inning as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Seattle Mariners 8-2 on Sunday.
The Japanese two-way star improved to 3-1 on the mound this season in making his first Major League Baseball start since April 24.
He threw a combination of fastballs and breaking pitches that left the Mariners’ batters befuddled in front of a crowd of 47,400 at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
“His stuff looked great,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “For not being out there for a while, his command was really sharp. Might have gotten a little bit tired in the seventh leading off, but outside of that, it’s a great outing for Shohei.”
Ohtani allowed six hits and walked two in what was his second time in five starts allowing less than three earned runs. He outdueled Seattle starter Felix Hernandez and didn’t allow a runner past second until Ryon Healy homered in the seventh.
“I felt a lot more normal than I expected,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I felt like I was on normal days’ rest.”
Ohtani got plenty of help from the Angels batting order as Mike Trout, with his 12th, Zack Cozart and Chris Young hit home runs.
The first signs of trouble for Ohtani came in the seventh as he gave up a leadoff single to Mitch Haniger. He then surrendered the homer to Healy and delivered a four-pitch walk. He was pulled after throwing a total of 98 pitches.
“I didn’t feel fatigued at all, my command was off,” Ohtani said. “I left some pitches up in the zone. I was really frustrated with myself, the way I ended the game. It’s something I need to work on for my next start.”