Ohtani hits milestone 32nd homer, Angels edge Red Sox 5-4

Jul 7, 2021, 4:18 AM | Updated: 5:51 pm

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani fouled a 2-2 pitch off his ankle in the fifth inning. He fouled the next pitch off his leg, just above his knee.

The Los Angeles Angels slugger shook off the pain, stepped back in and immediately hit a 433-foot homer that gave him a new place in Japanese baseball history.

“That’s how tough he is,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He stayed in there, got himself right and hit a homer.”

Ohtani hit his major league-leading 32nd homer and broke the single-season major league record for homers by a Japanese player during the Angels’ 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.

Fellow All-Star Jared Walsh homered twice for the Angels, who won for the sixth time in seven games and took two of three from the AL-leading Red Sox on another landmark day for Los Angeles’ two-way superstar.

A day after Ohtani pitched seven innings to beat Boston, he broke Hideki Matsui’s record with his solo shot to right off Eduardo Rodríguez (6-5), putting the Angels ahead to stay in the fifth inning.

Matsui hit 31 homers for the Yankees in 2004, but Ohtani surpassed the mark in just 81 games before the All-Star break with his 15th homer in his past 20 games.

“I’ve said it before, but he’s someone I’ve been watching as a child growing up, so it’s a huge honor to do something he’s done,” Ohtani said through his translator.

Matsui, who played for the Angels in 2010, returned the love.

In a statement issued by the team, Matsui said Ohtani “exceeds what is considered conventional for a major league player, and there is no one else like him. I hope he continues his success this season, as he carries the hopes and dreams of many fans and young children. As a baseball fan myself, I can’t wait to see what he is able to do next.”

Walsh homered right after Ohtani’s blast and added another solo shot in the seventh, giving him 22 homers in his breakthrough season as Albert Pujols’ full-time replacement at first base. Walsh drove in three runs for the Angels (44-42) as they moved two games above .500 for the first time since April 21.

Xander Bogaerts had three hits and drove in a run for the Red Sox, who lost for just the third time in 13 games while finishing 3-3 on their six-game California road swing. Boston hadn’t lost back-to-back games since June 24.

“We had our chances the last two days,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We had traffic all over the place. We weren’t able to get the big hit. That happens. We were so good offensively coming into this trip. We just haven’t had that big hit the last few days.”

After Mike Mayers escaped an eighth-inning jam with a lead, Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in the ninth for his 18th save.

Andrew Heaney (5-6) pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning for the Angels, bouncing back from three straight rough starts with a solid effort against the AL’s best team. He walked two and struck out five while giving up three runs.

Rodríguez yielded nine hits and four runs over five inconsistent innings for Boston, striking out five. The Angels made little solid contact against him until their back-to-back homers.

“It’s kind of hard when you know your pitches are working pretty good and they start hitting balls like that, but those things happen,” Rodríguez said. “I have to get out of those. Blooper, homer, whatever, that’s something you have to take out of the game.”


The Red Sox were unhappy when video review failed to conclude José Iglesias hadn’t touched second base while turning an inning-ending double play in the sixth.

Boston also got the benefit of two misplays by Angels outfielders during rallies.

Phil Gosselin misplayed Bobby Dalbec’s catchable fly to left in the fifth, allowing a run. J.D. Martinez then led off the eighth with a triple when Luis Rengifo apparently lost his fly ball in the sun, and Bogaerts doubled him home before Mayers got three straight outs.


David Fletcher singled in his first two at-bats, extending his hitting streak to a career-best 21 games and giving him a hit in seven consecutive plate appearances since Monday.

Fletcher’s hitting streak is the longest in the AL this season, and it matches the 21-game streak by Cincinnati’s Nick Castellanos for the longest in the majors in 2021. The streak is also the longest for the Angels since Garret Anderson went 23 straight in 2008.


Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck could return to Boston’s rotation after the All-Star break to keep the starters on proper rest. Houck hasn’t pitched in the majors since early May because of a right arm flexor injury, but he is making rehab starts for Triple-A Worcester.

Angels: LF Justin Upton will be out through the All-Star break. The veteran hasn’t played since June 22 because of lower-back tightness.


Red Sox: Longtime Angels starter Garrett Richards (4-5, 4.88 ERA) takes the mound Friday at Fenway Park against Philadelphia.

Angels: Alex Cobb (6-3, 4.60 ERA) takes the mound in Seattle on Friday, looking to continue his impressive 5-1 run in seven starts since returning from the injured list.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Ohtani hits milestone 32nd homer, Angels edge Red Sox 5-4