Ohtani’s legs help Angels past Rangers, who lose 100th game

Sep 29, 2021, 8:41 AM | Updated: 9:56 pm
Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani sprints to third after stealing second as Texas Rangers' Isiah Ki...

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani sprints to third after stealing second as Texas Rangers' Isiah Kiner-Falefa, rear, looks on in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. Ohtani advanced to third on a throwing error by Rangers catcher Jose Trevino on the play. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Shohei Ohtani sparked a four-run sixth-inning rally with his legs, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Texas 7-2 on Wednesday night to send the Rangers to their first 100-loss season since 1973.

With the score 2-2, Ohtani led off the sixth with a sharp grounder to first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and beat pitcher Taylor Hearn to the bag. Ohtani stole second, continued to third on a throwing error by catcher Jose Trevino and came home when Jack Mayfield singled through a drawn-in infield.

“His legs are fresh,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I mean, how does he do it? It’s playoff time and the guy’s still going like it’s spring training almost.”

Before the game, Maddon said the two-way star will not pitch again this season. Ohtani is hitting .258 with 45 homers, 98 RBIs and 26 stolen bases to go along with a 9-2 record with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts, and 156 strikeouts and 44 walks in 130 1/3 innings. He hit leadoff Wednesday for the 22nd time instead of his usual No. 2 hole.

Texas joined Baltimore (107 defeats) and Arizona (108) as 100-game losers, and Pittsburgh has 99 defeats with four games left. The only previous seasons with four 100-loss teams were 2002 and 2019.

“It’s a failure,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We will win a championship at some point, hopefully soon. So this hundred-loss season we’ll never forget but, obviously, will make that World Series championship a little bit sweeter.”

Jared Walsh and Juan Lagares added RBI singles in the sixth and Luis Rengifo hit into a run-scoring forceout.

Texas put runners on the corners with none out in the sixth against Austin Warren, but Jose Quijada (1-2) struck out the next three batters to earn his first win since July 2019.

Hearn (6-6) allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, throwing a career-high 91 pitches.

Angels rookie starter Janson Junk took a two-hit shutout into the fifth inning, then gave up four straight two-out singles that tied the score 2-2. Making his fourth big league start, Junk allowed seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked none in throwing a career-most 69 pitches.

Los Angeles led 2-0 in the second inning and had runners at second and third with two outs when Lagares was picked off third base by Trevino. When Lagares dove back toward the bag, his lead hand jammed into the foot of third baseman Yonny Hernandez.

Ohtani stole two bases and joined Jose Canseco as the only AL players with 45 homers and 25 steals. He is the first to also score 100 runs.

“This is the first year of a lot of ground-breaking stuff by him,” Maddon said. “I think it’s going to continue.”

“And I still think there’s room that he can get even better,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “It’s scary.”

SHORT HOPS

Four relievers retired Texas’ last 12 batters in order, striking out seven. … Rangers 2B Andy Ibanez went 2 for 4 and is hitting .422 in his last 22 games, raising his average from .200 to .277. … Angels OF Taylor Ward was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and played for Los Angeles for the first time since July 20, being on the minor league injured list July 30-Sept. 16 with a rib issue. Ward singled twice and walked. … The Rangers, with the third-worst record in the majors, became the third team to pass the 2 million mark in paid attendance.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: RHP Kyle Cody (shoulder impingement) had arthroscopic surgery done Wednesday. The earliest for Cody’s return is mid-season 2022.

UP NEXT

Angels RHP Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.46 ERA) has allowed no more than one earned run in each of his last six starts.

Rangers rookie RHP Glenn Otto (0-3, 8.02) will make his sixth start since coming to Texas in the July 29 trade that sent Joey Gallo to the New York Yankees. Otto allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings at Anaheim on Sept. 3, getting a no-decision in Texas’ 3-2 loss.

___

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Ohtani’s legs help Angels past Rangers, who lose 100th game