Ohtani hits 31st HR, Lagares ends Angels’ 6-5 win over O’s
Jul 4, 2021, 4:31 AM | Updated: 4:48 pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 31st homer in the third, and Juan Lagares ended it with a two-run double in the ninth inning of the Los Angeles Angels’ 6-5 comeback victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
Cedric Mullins hit a tiebreaking homer for Baltimore in the ninth in his first game after making his first All-Star team, but the Angels jumped all over Cole Sulser (2-1) without making an out in the bottom half.
After Los Angeles loaded the bases on a walk and two short singles, Lagares doubled to the gap in right-center, extending the Angels’ winning streak to five games and putting them back above .500.
Ohtani tied the MLB record for the most homers in a season by a Japanese-born player when he blasted a 459-foot solo shot off Thomas Eshelman to straightaway center. It was his 14th homer in 17 games overall.
With his drive over the ficus trees beyond the center-field fence, Ohtani matched Hideki Matsui’s major league record for homers by a Japanese slugger. Matsui did it over 159 games with the Yankees in 2004, while Ohtani only needed 81 games while also making 12 mound starts.
Less than an hour later, Ohtani became the first player in major league history to be picked for an All-Star Game as both a hitter and a pitcher.
Mullins delivered the tying RBI single as a pinch hitter in the sixth while Baltimore erased a four-run deficit, and he cracked a solo shot off the videoboard above the right-field fence in the ninth off Raisel Iglesias (6-3).
DJ Stewart had a two-run double for the AL-worst Orioles, who hadn’t been swept by the Angels since May 2018.
Anthony Rendon also homered for Los Angeles in the third before leaving with left hamstring tightness.
Jared Walsh hit an RBI double shortly before he was named to his first All-Star team — part of a fun day for the Angels in their first home game on July 4 in seven years.
David Fletcher extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games with a double on the first pitch by Eshelman, who yielded seven hits over four innings and left trailing 4-0. Fletcher’s streak is the Angels’ longest since Torii Hunter went 18 straight in August 2011.
Patrick Sandoval pitched two-hit ball into the sixth inning with seven strikeouts for the Angels, but he faltered along with two relievers when Baltimore tied it in the sixth.
The Angels hadn’t been at home on the Fourth of July since 2014 — also the year of their last playoff appearance. The Dodgers, who play 35 miles away, had been at home on this holiday every year from 2015-19, and MLB typically alternates homestands between the LA area’s two teams. The Dodgers were at Washington this year.
Orioles: RHP César Valdez came off the injured list. He had been out since June 21 with a strained lower back … LHP John Means allowed one hit — a homer — and had two strikeouts in two innings during his first rehab start for High-A Aberdeen. He has been out since June 6 with a strained left shoulder.
Angels: The oft-injured Rendon left during a pitching change in the sixth. OF Taylor Ward then left for a pinch hitter to get his right index finger examined. … OF Justin Upton’s lower back strain is healing slower than expected, so the club recalled 3B José Rojas to fill out its full 26-man roster. Upton has been out since June 22.
Orioles: The Toronto Blue Jays visit Camden Yards on Tuesday. Baltimore hasn’t announced a starter.
Angels: José Suarez (3-1, 1.98 ERA) returns to the rotation when LA opens a three-game series Monday at home against the AL-leading Boston Red Sox.
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