ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani grinned and laughed after Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bounced a single to left discipline within the Toronto slugger’s first profession plate look in opposition to the Angels’ two-way celebrity.
When he struck out Guerrero with a depraved slider two innings later, Ohtani smiled and chuckled at that one, too.
Ohtani had loads of enjoyable in his first mound assembly with probably his strongest competitor for the AL MVP award. He additionally did a lot in opposition to the remainder of the Blue Jays to safe one other win for the Los Angeles Angels.
Ohtani pitched six innings of three-hit ball to win his third consecutive begin, and he additionally doubled and scored an early run within the Angels’ 6-3 victory Thursday night time.
Though Ohtani (7-1) issued three walks for the primary time since June and threw two wild pitches in his seventeenth mound begin of the season, he allowed simply two runs and struck out six to maintain his ERA at 2.93.
“I haven’t been feeling actually that nice, however after I don’t have my finest stuff, I’ve been discovering methods to get outs and getting by means of innings,” Ohtani mentioned by means of a translator. “Bodily I really feel actually good, however I simply really feel I’m getting higher every outing, and I really feel like I actually haven’t hit my potential but.”
Guerrero confronted Ohtani’s pitching for the primary time of their careers, and the majors’ No. 2 house run hitter went 1 for two with that bouncing single, a stroll and a strikeout in opposition to the majors’ chief in homers.
“I had lots of enjoyable dealing with him, however not simply him,” Ohtani mentioned. “Their entire lineup is basically good. They’ve bought top-notch hitters, so I had lots of enjoyable dealing with all these guys.”
Toronto manger Charlie Montoyo additionally watched the showdown intently.
“It actually was simply OK,” Montoyo mentioned. “Vladdy proper now could be struggling a little bit bit, so he’s not the Vladdy who’s locked in. It’s enjoyable to observe. It’s two guys preventing for the MVP, so it was good to observe.”
Guerrero and Ohtani are among the many AL leaders in quite a few offensive statistical classes. Guerrero leads Ohtani in OPS (1.123 to 1.017) and RBIs (88 to 84), whereas Ohtani is forward of Guerrero in homers (38 to 35) and slugging share (.655 to .617).
However Ohtani has dimensions to his sport which have by no means been matched in fashionable baseball, and Angels supervisor Joe Maddon mentioned it’s “overtly apparent to me” that Ohtani is the AL MVP.
“There’s no argument in opposition to it,” Maddon added. “Vladdy is having an excellent 12 months, and I actually like the child quite a bit, however what our man is doing has by no means been achieved earlier than and is unprecedented. That’s the place it ends for me, and I’m positive different individuals really feel the identical means.”
On the plate, Ohtani hit a 386-foot double off the wall for his main league-leading 68th extra-base hit as Los Angeles’ leadoff hitter within the first. He additionally walked and scored throughout the Angels’ four-run second as they break up 4 video games with Toronto on the Massive A.
Jared Walsh and Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs apiece to again Ohtani, who hasn’t misplaced in 10 begins since Might.
José Berríos (8-6) yielded six runs on eight hits for the Blue Jays whereas pitching into the fifth inning of his shortest begin since mid-April with Minnesota. Toronto misplaced for simply the fourth time in 16 video games.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered for the second straight sport, connecting within the ninth inning. Teoscar Hernández and Randal Grichuk drove in runs within the fourth for Toronto, however Berríos walked 4 whereas failing to final 5 innings for the primary time in 20 begins.
After Berríos walked three within the Angels’ four-run second, Suzuki added an RBI double within the third for the fourth multi-RBI sport of a season during which he has simply 11 whole RBIs.
“You all the time study from it,” Berríos mentioned. “You’ll be able to take some good issues about tonight, or you possibly can simply throw it out and prepare tomorrow to maintain working. There have been some nice hitters on the market.”