In the first inning alone, Shohei Ohtani threw a ball nearly 162kph and hit a homer that jumped off his bat at 185kph.
By the time he left, the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star had dazzled on the mound and at the plate in a historic two-way performance, and after “Sho-time” ended, Jared Walsh put on his own impressive effort to secure another win for the Halos.
Ohtani on Sunday both smashed a 137m homer and pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning, before Walsh hit a walkoff homer to end the Angels’ 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“I’m glad I got one game like this under my belt, and it’s going to lead to a lot of confidence for me,” Ohtani said through his translator.
Ohtani reached another milestone in his unique career when he took the mound and occupied the No. 2 slot in the batting order for the Angels.
He was just the third pitcher in 45 seasons to hit for himself in a game with the designated hitter available, and the first to bat second since Jack Dunleavy did it for the Cardinals in 1903.
Although he lost a three-run lead and narrowly avoided injury in a home plate collision during the fifth inning, Ohtani left both teams amazed by his abilities.
“He’s everything we thought he could be, right?” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the complete baseball player. He just needed the opportunity to do it... What he did tonight was pretty special, and you’re going to see a lot more of that.”
Chicago’s Leury Garcia put it more succinctly: “Oh, he nasty.”
So was Walsh, who hit two homers — including a big three-run shot off Matt Foster to end the Angels’ third win over Chicago in their four-game, season-opening series.
In that wild first inning, Ohtani both threw the hardest pitch by any starting pitcher in baseball this season and produced the hardest hit by any batter this season.
Ohtani’s first-pitch homer off Chicago’s Dylan Cease was the hardest-hit homer by the Angels since the Statcast database started tracking in 2015.
Ohtani did not allow a run through the first four innings, but his control problems abetted Chicago’s three-run rally in the fifth.
Ohtani left after a passed ball and a throwing error by catcher Max Stassi led to a collision between Ohtani and Jose Abreu.
Ohtani finished with seven strikeouts and five walks.
David Fletcher and Justin Upton drove in early runs for the Angels.
After Chicago tied it in the fifth by scoring three runs without an RBI, Walsh reclaimed the lead for Los Angeles in the fifth — but new Angels closer Raisel Iglesias (1-0) could not quite come up with a five-out save.
Chicago tied it in the ninth when Nick Madrigal scored from second on a throwing error by Iglesias.
The White Sox scored four runs despite going none of 11 with runners in scoring position.
“I just told them, this is one of the most impressive losses that I can remember being a part of,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said. “You look at all the stuff that went on in that game, and the fact that they didn’t give up is a great sign of the toughness and the guts that this club has as we move forward.”
Elsewhere, the Astros thrashed the Athletics 9-2, the Orioles routed the Red Sox 11-3, the Phillies edged the Braves 2-1, the Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-1, the Indians tamed the Tigers 9-3 and the Rangers defeated the Royals 7-3.
The Cubs sank the Pirates 4-3, the Reds crushed the Cardinals 12-1, the Dodgers defeated the Rockies 4-2, the Twins battered the Brewers 8-2 and the Diamondbacks downed the Padres 3-1.
TAKE TWO: Tainan TSG are the favorites going into this season, which starts on Sunday. They have fearsome forwards and national ’keeper Pan Wen-chieh between the posts Defending champions Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) face a tough challenge from their southern neighbors Taipower and CPC FC when the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) season starts this weekend with four matches on Sunday. Promoting grassroots soccer, and organizing relegation and promotion between the top and second divisions last year was important for the progression of Taiwanese soccer, CTFA chairman Chiou I-jen told a news conference in Taipei yesterday. “We are going in the right direction ... and becoming more competitive” for international competitions, Chiou said. Still the favorites, Tainan TSG have the league’s most fearsome forwards, with three international star players.
INSULT: Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby was involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee that he was leaving the pitch Valencia’s players on Sunday walked off during their La Liga game with Cadiz in protest against racist abuse, with coach Javi Gracia later claiming they were told they would be punished if they refused to resume the match. The fixture was stopped in the 37th minute after Valencia said their player Mouctar Diakhaby was the victim of a racial insult. Diakhaby had been involved in a heated exchange with Cadiz’s Juan Cala before indicating to the referee David Medie Jimenez that he was leaving the pitch. The Frenchman’s teammates followed him off and Cadiz also went down the tunnel soon after. About 15
Nine-year-old Thai kickboxer Pornpattara “Tata” Peachaurai is eager to get back in the ring after COVID-19 curbs brought his fight season to a halt more than five months ago. The money he earns is vital income for his family. “All the money from boxing, the regular payment and the tips, it all goes to mum,” the lean young fighter said. “I’m proud to be a boxer and to earn money for my mum.” Tata’s last fight was in October last year, before a second COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand shut down sports events as bans on large gatherings were reimposed. “I cannot box. I
After several humbling losses to the West Division leaders, the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday sent quite the message to the Colorado Avalanche in their last of eight regular-season matchups. Eight was more than enough for the Wild to slow the Avalanche. Kevin Fiala notched his first career hat-trick, while Kirill Kaprizov had two of Minnesota’s three power-play goals as the sharp-shooting Wild beat Colorado 8-3 to hand the Avalanche their first regulation loss in 16 games. “We can play against you guys,” Fiala said. “If we’re going to meet them in the playoffs.” Luke Johnson, Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored as