ANAHEIM, Calif. – Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani pitched no-hit ball into the eighth inning and extended his hitting streak to 14 games as he led the Los Angeles Angels over the Oakland Athletics 4-2 Thursday night.
In his final home start of the season, Ohtani (15-8) issued a leadoff walk to Tony Kemp before retiring the next 22 batters in order. Conner Capel broke up the no-hit bid with a sharp grounder that deflected off sliding shortstop Livan Soto’s glove and into left-center field with two outs in the eighth.
Even if Soto had been able to field it, he would have had trouble throwing out Capel.
Dermis Garcia followed with a clean single to left before Ohtani retired Shea Langeliers on a grounder to third to end the inning.
Ohtani had a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings at Houston on April 20 before Jason Castro lined a single to left field in the sixth. It was Houston’s only hit in the game.
The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings to match his longest outing of the season. He also went eight innings in a no-decision against Houston on Sept. 3.
The two-way superstar from Japan and reigning AL MVP also extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single in the first. It is the longest current streak in the majors. Ohtani has 26 hits this season in games he also pitched.
Luis Rengifo, Taylor Ward and Max Stassi had solo home runs for the Angels, who have won four straight and five of six.
It was Oakland’s 100th defeat of the season, marking the first time since 1979 it has reached triple digits in the loss column. Seth Brown had an RBI grounder and Jonah Bride scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to avert the shutout.
After winning the American League MVP award last season, Ohtani is a leading contender again this year — probably the top challenger to New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who hit his 61st home run Wednesday night to match the AL record set by Roger Maris in 1961.
Ohtani is at 161 innings pitched, one inning shy of assuring he will qualify among the league leaders when the season ends. Ohtani is likely to pitch in the season finale at Oakland on Oct. 5 so he does.
On the mound, Ohtani’s 15 victories are tied for third in the AL, his 213 strikeouts are third and 2.35 ERA is fourth. At the plate, he is fourth in the league with 34 home runs and sixth with 94 RBIs.
The Angels immediately jumped on Cole Irvin (9-13). The first four batters reached, putting Los Angeles up 2-0. Rengifo led off with a homer into the Angels’ bullpen in left field, then Trout drove a double to the center-field wall and scored on Ohtani’s hit.
Ward extended Los Angeles’ lead to 3-0 in the third when he drove a hanging curveball from Irvin over the wall in left-center. Stassi then went deep to right on the first pitch by Norge Ruiz to lead off the sixth.
Irvin went four innings and allowed three runs on nine hits with six strikeouts.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Ohtani was trying for the Angels’ second no-hitter of the season. Los Angeles rookie Reid Detmers did it against Tampa Bay on May 10.
There have been two other no-hitters this season, with five New York Mets pitchers combining against Philadelphia on April 29, and three Houston Astros hurlers against the New York Yankees on June 25.
Angels: RHP Archie Bradley (right forearm strain) and OF Mickey Moniak (bruised left hand) were placed on the injured list, ending their seasons. … INF David Fletcher was activated off the IL after missing 10 games due to a bruised right hand.
Athletics: Head to Seattle for a weekend series. LHP Ken Waldichuk (1-2, 7.15 ERA) picked up his first big league win last Saturday in Oakland’s 10-4 victory over the New York Mets.
Angels: Host Texas for three games. Detmers (6-6, 3.88 ERA) is 4-3 with 69 strikeouts in 12 starts since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on July 8.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism