Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shakes off slump with homer in win

Mike Trout delivered a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels rebounded from a rough start for their third straight victory, 4-3 over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

Shohei Ohtani homered in his first plate appearance in eight days for the Angels (23-30), who have won 11 of 16 to stay on the fringes of the AL playoff race. Ohtani had two hits and scored two runs for Los Angeles, which remained 3½ games behind Houston for second place in the AL West with seven games left.

“We’ve got to win out,” said Angels starter Andrew Heaney, who recovered for 6⅔ impressive innings of six-hit ball after getting rocked in the first inning. “We’ve got to win every game, and that’s how everybody feels. We’ve got our backs against the wall, so we’ve got to win.”

David Fletcher led off the eighth with a walk from Brett Martin (0-1) and got to third on an error at first by Sherten Apostel. Trout then lined a clean single left, extending the three-time AL MVP’s hitting streak to five games.

Taylor Ward and Fletcher drove in runs in the fifth inning for Los Angeles. Mike Mayers (2-0) pitched the final two innings, striking out pinch-hitter Joey Gallo looking to end it.

Ohtani trimmed the Rangers’ lead to 3-1 with a solo shot to right in the second inning of his first chance to play since Sept. 11. The Angels benched Ohtani for a week after the designated hitter struggled through much of the middle of the season, particularly against left-handers.

Ohtani said he worked on his stance and his overall approach during his week off, improving his ability to see pitches. The Angels’ entire coaching staff reached out to him, including Maddon and all three hitting coaches.

“They gave me a lot of good advice,” Ohtani said through his translator. “There was definitely some good stuff that they told me.”

After his sixth homer of the season, Ohtani singled in the fifth and scored from first on a hard-hit double by Ward. Fletcher tied it moments later with an RBI single.

“The team has been playing really well,” Ohtani said. “There’s a good flow with the team, and the last thing I wanted to do was interrupt that flow.”

Leody Taveras and Rougned Odor homered in a three-run first inning for the Rangers, who dropped to 5-21 on the road. Texas has lost three straight overall, including the first two in this four-game series at the Big A.

“Just because it’s the last week doesn’t mean you can shut her down and think you’ve done enough,” said starter Lance Lynn, who pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball. “We’ve got a lot of guys who are fighting for jobs next year. A lot of guys need to improve in the offseason, so every day that you show up, if you’re not trying to improve, then we’re going to have a talk. But so far they’ve been doing that, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Jared Walsh extended his hitting streak to 11 games for the Angels, but failed to drive in a run for the first time in that streak.

Twins 8, Cubs 1

In Chicago, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano and Josh Donaldson homered as the Minnesota Twins clinched a second straight postseason berth with a victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.

The Twins are guaranteed at least a wild-card berth. They trail the Chicago White Sox by three games in the AL Central with six games to play. The White Sox have eight games remaining.

Coming off a no-hitter on Sunday against Milwaukee, Cubs starter Alec Mills (5-4) allowed four runs and six hits in six-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked one as Chicago’s five-game winning streak ended.

Rosario and Mitch Garver had a two-run pinch-hit single as Minnesota rebounded after dropping four of five on the current road trip against both Chicago teams.

The Twins, who won the division last year, will make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2009-10.

Minnesota starter Michael Pineda (2-0) permitted one run on four hits in five innings.

Donaldson added a solo shot in the ninth.

White Sox 5, Reds 0

In Cincinnati, Tim Anderson hit two of Chicago’s five solo homers, and the White Sox — already guaranteed a playoff spot — took another step toward the AL Central title by overpowering Cincinnati.

Chicago has won eight of its last 10 games, securing at least a wild card and its first postseason appearance since 2008.

José Abreu hit his fifth homer in eight games as the White Sox piled them up, including three in a row in the eighth off Robert Stephenson. Abreu has 18 homers overall.

The Reds managed six hits as they had their season-high winning streak snapped at six games.=

Yankees 8, Red Sox 0

In Boston, J.A. Happ pitched eight scoreless innings, Clint Frazier hit a two-run home run and accounted for three of New York’s 11 hits as the Yankees beat Boston for their 10th consecutive win.

The victory is New York’s 12th straight over Boston dating to last season, tying the Yankees’ longest winning streak in baseball’s most historic rivalry. It also dropped New York’s magic number to one to clinch its fourth consecutive postseason berth.

The Yankees improved to 31-21 and ensured their 28th consecutive winning season, the second-longest streak in big league history behind their 39 in a row from 1926-64.

Happ (2-2) allowed four hits and struck out nine. Happ has a 3.25 ERA over 44 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Boston starter Chris Mazza (1-2) lasted four innings, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks.

Tigers 5, Indians 2

In Detroit, Eric Haase and Daz Cameron hit RBI singles during a four-run eighth inning, and Detroit won their first game following manager Ron Gardenhire’s retirement.

Gardenhire abruptly stepped down before the game, saying it had been a stressful season for him and that he needed to focus on his health.

Jose Cisnero (3-3) earned the win. Bryan Garcia struck out three in the ninth for his third save. Phil Maton (2-3) took the loss.

The loss snapped a streak of 12 straight victories for Cleveland at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

Bench coach Lloyd McClendon took over as Detroit’s manager for the remainder of the season.

Rays 3, Orioles 1

In Baltimore, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo homered on a 1-for-3 day as Tampa Bay defeated the Orioles for their fourth win in as many games.

Tsutsugo launched his eighth homer of the season, a solo shot off Orioles starter Jorge Lopez (2-1) that tied the game 1-1 in the third inning. Tsutsugo walked and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

In Other Games

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2

Athletics 6, Giants 0

Marlins 7, Nationals 3

Phillies 3, Blue Jays 1

Brewers 5, Royals 0

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1

Mets 7, Braves 2

Mariners 4, Padres 1


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Source : Baseball – The Japan Times

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