The Never-ending Sho (Angels-Athletics; 05.15.22)

Chris Tuite/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

OAKLAND — Less than 24 hours after hitting a historic home run, Los Angeles Angels all-everything superstar Shohei Ohtani began his quest for another century of homers in the most jaw-dropping of fashions.

Ohtani cranked a 425-foot home run to drive in two runs in the first inning, and starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval gave Los Angeles’ fatigued bullpen a much-needed boost by going 6 1/3 innings while allowing just one run as the Angels defeated the Oakland Athletics 4-1 at RingCentral Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. Mike Trout drove in two runs as Los Angeles took three out of four against the A’s in the weekend series.

Ohtani became the third Japanese-born player to hit 100 home runs in the majors when he homered in the second game of a double header on Saturday night, and he wasted no time moving the count to 101, driving a 2-1 pitch from Athletics starter Frankie Montas into the upper deck in right field, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead after Mike Trout had singled before Ohtani’s at-bat.

“That had some great hang time to it,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Not many people hit Montas but I don’t know, that was 97 mph elevated and he got all of it. When he’s starting to get to that, heads up.”

Opponents are quickly learning to be fearful of the Angels lineup, not only because of Trout and Ohtani in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in the order, but also because of lead-off man Taylor Ward, the American League’s leader in batting average. Ward went 2-for-5 with a run scored to raise his average to .385.

The first-inning runs proved to be enough for Angels starter Patrick Sandoval, who issued four walks but consistently weaved his way out of trouble, allowing just four hits and one run — a Sean Murphy ground out in the third inning — while striking out four and pitching into the seventh inning. The heavy usage of the bullpen in yesterday’s doubleheader ruled out a number of the Angels’ most-reliable relievers for today, including closer Raisel Iglesias, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera.

“I didn’t have the changeup. I had to find something that worked and slider was the pitch,” Sandoval said. “I don’t want to get in those jams in the first place but when you’re in them you have to get out of them and I think I did a pretty good job today of doing that.”

Ohtani’s home run proved to be the only runs of the game allowed by Montas, who struck out 12 in six innings of work but got the hard-luck loss in a quality start. Chad Pinder went 2-for-2 with a double, but those two hits made up almost half of the hits the A’s had on Sunday, as they ended up with five.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Bay Area-based photographer Chris Tuite. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 26 pictures in total.

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Tags : Los Angeles AngelsMLBOakland AthleticsShohei Ohtani

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