(AP) — Shohei Ohtani became the first American League pitcher in nearly 60 years to hit two homers and strike out 10 batters in a game, leading the Los Angeles Angels past the Chicago White Sox 4-2 Tuesday night in his latest extraordinary performance.
Ohtani, who leads the majors with 28 home runs, hit solo shots in the first and seventh innings, the first time he has gone deep twice while also pitching. The superstar from Japan struck out 10 in a 6 1/3-inning start that ended because of a cracked fingernail.
The last AL player before Ohtani to hit at least two homers and strike out at least 10 was Cleveland’s Pedro Ramos on July 31, 1963. That came in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Angels.
It has been done four other times in the majors: by Baltimore’s Milt Pappas (1961), Philadelphia’s Rick Wise (1971), San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner (2017) and Arizona’s Zack Greinke (2019).
Ohtani (7-3) struck out at least 10 for the sixth time in 16 starts. He is third in the majors with 127 strikeouts.
Ohtani had half of Los Angeles’ six hits, going 3-for-3 with a walk and raising his batting average to .304. On the mound, he allowed one run on four hits and walked two, lowering his ERA to 3.02.
The last AL starting pitcher to hit multiple home runs was Boston’s Sonny Siebert on Sept. 2, 1971, against Baltimore. AL pitchers have not batted regularly since the designated hitter was introduced to the league in 1973.
Mike Moustakas had two hits and an RBI in his second start since being acquired from Colorado Saturday night.
Carlos Estevez picked up his 20th save despite allowing the first four White Sox batters to reach in the ninth and giving up an RBI single to Andrew Vaughn. Estevez then struck out Seby Zavala and induced a game-ending double-play grounder from Elvis Andrus.
Eloy Jimenez had three hits for the White Sox, who have dropped four of six. Gavin Sheets had an RBI single in the seventh inning.
In the first inning, Ohtani drove Kopech’s 95 mph fastball 418 feet into the elevated stands in right-center. It was the ninth time in his career and fourth time this season he homered while also on the mound.
His homer to right-center off Touki Toussaint in the seventh was his fourth homer in five games, extended the Halos’ advantage to 3-1 and gave Ohtani his third multi-homer game this season. Ohtani has 13 homers this month, which ties the franchise record for June.
Ohtani, who also had 13 home runs in June 2021, shares that mark with Albert Pujols (2015) and Tim Salmon (1996).
The Angels extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth. Luis Rengifo hit a one-out triple into the right-field corner and scored two batters later on David Fletcher’s grounder.