Ohtani reaches 400 MLB strikeouts, Angels beat Astros in 12


ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — After eight solid innings from Shohei Ohtani on Saturday night, the last thing Matt Duffy and the Los Angeles Angels wanted was to make sure that effort was wasted. Thanks to Duffy, that wasn’t the case.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — After eight solid innings from Shohei Ohtani on Saturday night, the last thing Matt Duffy and the Los Angeles Angels wanted was to make sure that effort was wasted.

Thanks to Duffy, that wasn’t the case.

Duffy’s 12th-inning bloop single led Taylor Ward with the winning run as the Angels rallied for a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros.

Earlier in the game, Ohtani reached 400 major league strikeouts. The Japanese two-way phenom threw a season-high 111 pitches, allowing six hits and striking out five. It was the fourth time in the majors – and the second this year – he went eight innings.

“You never want to ruin an outing like this. What he’s doing on the mound is crazy,” said Duffy, who had the fourth hit of his career and the first since 2018. “People were talking about (Yankees slugger Aaron) Judge for MVP, but he has to break (Roger) Maris’ (home run mark) to be in conversation for me. I mean, some people might think it’s ridiculous in New York, I’m sure. But what Ohtani does on both sides of the ball. I mean, just because it’s boring for you doesn’t mean it’s not exceptional.

With Ward as an autorunner in the 12th, Max Stassi walked Will Smith with two outs. Seth Martinez (0-2) came on and Astros center fielder Mauricio Dubon appeared to dive on Duffy’s fly ball, but first base umpire Jordan Baker said Dubon didn’t find it at time.

Instant replay confirmed the call as the ball hit the ground before Dubon could put his glove on it.

Ryan Tepera (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

Houston’s Ohtani and Luis Garcia were locked in an entertaining pitching duel as each allowed just one run. Garcia went seven innings, struck out seven and allowed just three hits with two walks.

“It’s hard to lose. You’re not going to keep beating these guys over and over and over again. But we would love to do it,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker.

Through 23 starts this year, Ohtani has 181 strikeouts, which is eighth in the majors, and his 2.58 ERA is ninth.

Only 10 pitchers in MLB history have reached 400 strikeouts faster than Ohtani. The roster includes Dwight Gooden, Hideo Nomo, San Diego’s Yu Darvish, Cleveland’s Shane Bieber and Noah Syndergaard, who started the year with the Angels before being traded to Philadelphia.

It’s the third time this season the Angels have won while being held to four hits or less.

Ohtani retired the Astros’ first 10 batters before Yuli Gurriel batted the quarterback and lined up a hit to right field in the fourth inning. The Angels were quickly out of the inning when Alex Bregman threw a double play.

“It was probably his best outing of the year, considering where we were and how the game was going,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Even the race was a soft touch. He was really good. Really, really good.

Houston managed to scratch a run in the fifth. Trey Mancini hit a line double against the wall at right center and JJ Matijevic followed with an RBI single into left field space.

“They have a nice lineup. I wanted to throw as long as possible,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “The defense made good plays to help reduce the number of pitches.”

The Angels were held to two hits in six innings before making the night in the seventh. Luis Rengifo had a first hit to right field and went second on Ward’s walk. Both players advanced on Mike Ford’s fly ball to deep center before Ryan Aguilar’s sacrifice flight to the right sunk Rengifo. It was also Aguilar’s first career RBI.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: DH Yordan Alvarez missed his fifth straight game with hand pain. He hit from the batting cages before Saturday’s game and could be back in the lineup on Sunday. … INF/OF Aledmys Díaz (left groin discomfort) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple A Sugar Land on Thursday. … RHP Justin Verlander (right calf) pitched on flat ground in Houston. … RHP Ryan Pressly (neck spasms) threw a 26-pitch bullpen session before the game and could be activated by Tuesday.

Angels: RHP Michael Lorenzen (strained right shoulder) did well on Friday’s rehab start with Class A Inland Empire and will be off the 60-day injured list in the next 5-7 days. Lorenzen’s last major league start was on July 1.

NEXT

Astros: RHP Jose Urquidy (12-5, 3.69 ERA) receives an average run support of 6.60 per start, which leads the majors.

Angels: LHP Tucker Davidson (2-4, 5.77) faces Houston for the first time.

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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press















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