The Associated PressMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — One week into Shohei Ohtani’s return to the Los Angeles Angels, the lineup is looking sharp.
Minnesota ace Jose Berrios bore the brunt of their batting success on Monday night.
Ohtani hit his first home run of the season, a towering two-run shot in the third inning against Berrios, and Tommy La Stella hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth to give the Angels a 5-4 victory over the Twins.
“I’ve been hitting the ball in the air recently,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I think it showed today that I’m improving.”
The Angels are 5-2 on this nine-game trip that started with Ohtani’s debut following Tommy John elbow surgery that has shelved the two-way sensation’s pitching prowess for now.
“We’ve been waiting to get him back. You see how different the lineup is when he’s in there, and hopefully he’s starting to get his timing,” La Stella said.
Ohtani reached base on four of his five plate appearances. His 131-meter drive off the videoboard facade beneath the second deck in left-center field was the highlight of the three-run, five-hit third. The AL Rookie of the Year homered 22 times in 326 at-bats in 2018.
“We all know the power’s there, and that was a no-doubter to the opposite field,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “You don’t see a lot of balls hit the other way from many people in this game that way.”
La Stella hit his team-leading 10th homer of the season, in 36 games, and went 3-for-5. The 30-year-old second baseman, who came to the Angels in a largely unnoticed trade with the Chicago Cubs, had 10 home runs in 396 major league games entering this season.
Just as impressive as the power was the way the Angels continually beat the shifts employed by the Twins. Albert Pujols, who went 3-for-5, poked a single off an 0-2 curveball past the glove of Berrios (6-2) and through the empty right side of the infield in the fifth for a 4-2 lead.
Jorge Polanco and Marwin Gonzalez each hit two-run homers off Angels starter Tyler Skaggs (4-3), but the Twins weren’t able to overcome this uncharacteristic vulnerability by their All-Star right-hander.
“Today was one of those days where the ball found open spaces against us, and that’s just part of the game,” said Berrios, who gave up five runs and a career-high 12 hits in 5⅔ innings, his shortest start of the year, while walking three. He induced two groundball double plays.
The Twins went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including a fly ball by Mitch Garver with two on and two out in the fourth that left fielder Brian Goodwin caught with his glove stretched to the top of the wall and his back pressed against it.
“It’s going to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if our guys bounce back well and have the same good at bats they have been having all year tomorrow,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Though Ohtani’s homer immediately after the gaffe rendered it moot, Gonzalez committed a two-base error when he slightly overran Mike Trout’s line-drive single and allowed the awkwardly bouncing ball to skip past him into the corner as La Stella scored. This was Gonzalez’s first career start in right field.
M’s rally past A’s in 10th
SEATTLE (AP) — Domingo Santana hit a tying two-out RBI double in the bottom of the 10th inning and then scored the winning run on Omar Narvaez’s single, and the Seattle Mariners rallied for a 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics.
Ramon Laureano hit a solo home run with two outs in the top of the 10th, the last of Oakland’s five solo homers, to give the A’s the lead. But Seattle had one rally left, all of it coming with two outs against Joakim Soria (1-3).
Daniel Vogelbach, whose three-run homer in the eighth tied the score at 4-4, walked. Pinch-runner Dee Gordon stole second and jogged home when Santana hit a 2-2 pitch from Soria just fair down the left-field line to pull Seattle even at 5-5. Narvaez followed with a single to left field and Santana scored.Speech