Having demonstrated his prowess on the mound, Shohei Ohtani will get another opportunity to pad his gaudy batting numbers when the visiting Los Angeles Angels face right-hander Paul Blackburn and the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday afternoon.
After getting Monday off as a rest on the eve of a pitching start, Ohtani dominated the A’s both with his arm and bat in a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.
While the right-handed pitcher was shutting out the hosts on four hits over six innings, he was helping his own cause by scoring twice, one after a single and the other on his 25th home run of the season.
The night was memorable for more than just Ohtani pitching and homering in the same game for the second time this season. The win was his 10th of the year, making him the first player since Babe Ruth in 1918 to have 10 wins and 10 homers in the same year.
Ohtani also got nailed on the left leg by a line drive off the bat of Ramon Laureano in the third inning but was able to stay in the game. Coupled with having been spiked atop the left foot Sunday in Seattle, Ohtani was limping at different stages of Tuesday’s win but insisted afterward that he’s fine.
“There’s been some accidents here and there recently,” he said. “But as long as I feel ready to go, I want to play in as many games as possible, hitting and pitching.”
Ohtani had a home run and a single in three at-bats against Blackburn (7-6, 4.28 ERA) last Thursday in the finale of a series in Anaheim. The A’s won the game 8-7.
Blackburn got the win in the high-scoring affair despite allowing four home runs in five innings. All were solo shots among the seven the Angels hit in the loss.
The 28-year-old has been roughed up by Ohtani in nine career head-to-heads, allowing four hits, including a double and a home run, and a walk.
Blackburn also started a pair of earlier 4-3 and 4-2 wins over the Angels but didn’t get a decision despite allowing just three runs in 11 1/3 innings. He has never lost to the Angels in four career starts, going 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA.
Touki Toussaint (1-0, 4.32) is slated to get his first Angels start when the visitors go for the sweep on Wednesday.
The right-hander has faced the A’s just once in his career, in relief last Thursday when he allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings in the 8-7 loss.
He’ll see an Oakland squad that has totaled just eight hits in the first two games of the series, with just one — Chad Pinder’s ninth-inning homer Tuesday — going for extra bases.
Despite a fourth straight loss, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay left the ballpark Tuesday more impressed with Ohtani than disappointed in his own team.
“It’s exceptional. It shows his athleticism, shows his talent,” Kotsay said of Ohtani’s 10/10 feat. “At this point, you can say it’s one-of-a-kind in the game, because it is. He’s the only player doing it right now, and doing it well.”