Ohtani goes into HR Derby mode as Angels rout Tigers

Jun 18, 2021, 11:34 AM | Updated: Jun 19, 2021, 12:26 am

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani celebrated his appointment to next month’s All-Star Home Run Derby in fitting style, connecting twice during the Los Angeles Angels’ 11-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Ohtani clubbed his 20th and 21st homers of the season hours after announcing he would take part in MLB’s annual home-run spectacle July 12 at Coors Field in Denver.

The first blast from Ohtani was a line drive to right field that was part of the Angels’ three-homer fifth inning. His second went the opposite way to left-center field in the eighth, helping bring the team back to the .500 mark at 35-35.

“The first one was like 15 feet off the ground and the second one was a great spot for him,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “When he’s hitting the ball like that to left-center, you know he’s got his A-hack going on. Wonderful to watch.”

Luis Rengifo and Jared Walsh also homered in the fifth, with Rengifo’s first of the season coming in his second game since he returned from Triple-A. Walsh, who has taken over as the Angels’ everyday first baseman following the early-May departure of Albert Pujols, hit his 16th.

Tigers starter Jose Urena (2-7) was rocked for seven runs on seven hits with three walks over 4 1/3 innings. It was the second-consecutive start Urena gave up seven earned runs, also doing it Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.

“(Urena) was OK in the beginning but he hasn’t been able to sustain it throughout and they put some really good swings on him,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “They beat us in every facet. It wasn’t all Jose Urena. I know he gave up some damage in his last inning but … obviously back to the drawing board for him.”

This was the second game the Angels were at full capacity this season, with a crowd of just 22,734 announced.

The second Ohtani homer of the game came off Tigers right-hander Joe Jimenez and gave him his fourth career multihomer game and his first this season. He entered Friday three back of the the major league lead held by the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr.

“(Ohtani) hit a ball to the pull side, he hit a ball oppo,” Hinch said. “He’s a very dynamic hitter. It’s very must-see TV type.”

Only four Angels players have ever hit 20 home runs with 10 stolen bases before the All-Star break, with Ohtani now joining Mike Trout (2014, 2018), Troy Glaus (2000) and Don Baylor (1978-79).

Ohtani did not speak to reporters afterward.

Angels starter Alex Cobb (5-2) gave up one run on three hits over 5 2/3 inning with two walks and eight strikeouts. The run was not earned. Cobb’s outing came after he gave up five runs in consecutive starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners.

The Angels received an RBI single from Kean Wong in the second inning and a run-scoring double from Taylor Ward in the third to take a 2-0 lead, before Rengifo, Ohtani and Walsh all went deep in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers finally broke through off Cobb in the sixth inning when Miguel Cabrera hit an RBI double off the right-field wall. Cabrera, who has 492 career home runs, just missed tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th on the career list.

Ward added a two-run double in a three-run sixth inning as the Angels took a 10-1 lead, while the Tigers’ Willi Castro had an RBI single in the seventh off Angels right-hander Chris Rodriguez. The Tigers scored their final run on a Robbie Grossman ground out in the ninth.

“That’s what we’re looking for,” Maddon said of the Angels’ overall offensive approach. “Of course you love the home run. Everybody does. But you also love the ball being moved and action on the bases and everything we’re clamoring for in a real baseball game again. Up and down, guys hit the ball well.”

TRAINERS’ ROOM

Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd was diagnosed with muscular tendonitis, according to manager A.J. Hinch, after an examination by elbow specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Boyd will be out at least through the All-Star break before the team works on a timetable for his return. … SS Niko Goodrum left the game in the sixth inning with a finger sprain on his left hand.

Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon has made some progress with a triceps injury, but he was out for a fourth consecutive game after manager Joe Maddon delayed announcing his starting lineup to get a late update on his infielder’s status.

UP NEXT

After earning his first career victory as a starter in 20 tries Sunday at Arizona, LHP Patrick Sandoval (1-2, 3.51 ERA) starts for the Angels on Saturday against the Tigers. RHP Wily Peralta (0-0, 0.00) will make his second appearance for Detroit and his first start since 2017 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

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