Ohtani’s pinch-hit homer lifts Angels over Dodgers 4-3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s versatility was on display again Sunday.
The two-way star launched a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning that sent Andrew Heaney and the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bothered by a sore knee, Ohtani drove his first career pinch-hit homer a projected 443 feet to center field, breaking a 3-all tie. It also was the Angels’ first pinch-hit home run of the season.
“It was going to be hard for me to run all out, so I was glad I was able to hit the home run and not have to run too hard,” Ohtani said through a translator.
He’s got a sense of humor, too.
Albert Pujols also went deep for the Angels, tying the score at 3 in the sixth. Justin Upton had a two-run single.
Heaney allowed only three hits and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings to help the Angels take two of three at home in the Freeway Series. He gave up a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig, who later left with an oblique injury.
“After that inning (when Puig homered), he could tell I was pretty hot,” Heaney said of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “He said, ‘Hey, keep ‘em at 3. We’re going to score some runs and win this game.’”
Thanks to Ohtani.
The touted rookie from Japan, unavailable to pitch lately because of an elbow injury, fouled a ball off his knee one day earlier and experienced soreness. He was not in the starting lineup and it was unclear if he would be able to come off the bench. But he did, and Ohtani hit a 2-2 pitch from reliever JT Chargois (2-2) for his seventh home run of the season.
Ohtani was walking around before and during the game and felt good. He told Scioscia in the second inning he was available to play in whatever role was needed.
“That’s obviously a clutch hit and certainly at the time of the game and we’re a little thin on pitching, so to have a chance to get the lead and hold it, which we did, was huge,” Scioscia said. “Shohei had treatment all morning. He said he felt good (by) the second inning.”
Puig homered in the second after Heaney (5-6) walked two batters in the inning. The left-hander was dominant after that.
“That’s been the story of my season,” Heaney said. “I’ve given up some big, crooked numbers early in games and then I’ve been able to settle down and give us a chance to win. I’d love to not do that. I’d rather just give up one here or there. Sometimes that puts our offense back on their heels whenever I dig us a hole like that. It’s great to get a win.”
Justin Anderson allowed a single in the ninth but got Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play for his fourth save.
Puig exited during an at-bat in the fifth with a strained right oblique. He grimaced in pain and hunched over after taking a swing.
In the third inning, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Mike Trout to load the bases with two outs. Upton, who had struggled with runners in scoring position, hit a two-run single to pull the Angels to 3-2.
Pujols tied the game with his 627th career home run in the sixth.
Alex Wood had won four consecutive starts before Sunday, but didn’t factor into the decision. He allowed three runs and four hits in six innings.
“It was a little frustrating,” Wood said. “I didn’t think I was very good. Battled through. ... Can’t help but feel like that one’s on me. They have a couple special players there. We’ll see them next weekend and hopefully we’ll take care of the series at home.”
WALK THIS WAY
Trout has been walked intentionally 16 times this season, ninth-most before the All-Star break in American League history. John Olerud had the most in the AL with 22 in 1993.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib micro fracture) threw a five-inning simulated game of 75 pitches. He’ll throw a bullpen Wednesday and make a start next weekend against the Angels.
Angels: X-rays on Ohtani’s knee were negative. ... RHP Matt Shoemaker (right forearm) will start a throwing program Tuesday with hopes of returning this season.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-4, 2.86 ERA) pitches at San Diego on Monday. In 32 career starts against the Padres, he’s 17-6 with a 1.94 ERA.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (5-4, 3.42) returned from the disabled list and struck out eight in his first start back Wednesday against the Mariners. He has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last five starts. He’ll start against Seattle on Tuesday.
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