OAKLAND, Calif. — Another home run, another pitching victory, another place in the history books. Just another night for Shohei Ohtani.
Japan’s two-way sensation weathered another injury scare and threw six scoreless innings to go with his team-leading 25th home run, reaching yet another monumental milestone as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Tuesday.
Ohtani joined Babe Ruth (1918) as the only players in major league history to have at least 10 home runs and 10 wins in the same season. According to the Angels, two players from the Negro Leagues also did it: Bullet Rogan of the 1922 Kansas City Monarchs and Ed Rile of the 1927 Detroit Stars.
“I feel like every time we’re out there, he’s doing something special,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “You try not to take for granted what we see every night, but it’s pretty amazing to be a part of. These things do not pass by us lightly.”
Ohtani singled and scored Taylor Ward‘s three-run home run in the fifth, then connected for a towering drive away Sam Selman leading from the seventh as a crowd of Red Clan fans sitting behind the Angels dugout roared.
That moved Ohtani past Ichiro Suzuki for the second most home runs (118) by a Japanese-born player. Hideki Matsui had 175.
“Obviously we’re very different types of hitters, but if I can get past Ichiro, I’m really honored,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.
On the mound, Ohtani (10-7) was mostly crisp. He had five strikeouts, allowed four hits and retired seven of his final eight batters. He has now recorded 25 home runs and 100 strikeouts for the second straight year — a feat no other player has accomplished in a season in MLB history.
“After that home run today, I turned to the umpire and third base coach and was just like, ‘I don’t know how he does it,'” the A’s third baseman. Vimael Machin said “Just being an elite player overall who can throw over 100 mph with foul velocity and hit the ball the way he hits it, I can’t even describe it. I wish I could do that too. It’s amazing what he does.”
The reigning AL MVP almost didn’t make it out of the third.
Two days after being stung on the top of his left foot after a collision with a Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales near the on-deck circle, Ohtani was hit near the same area by an 87 mph line drive from Ramon Laureano.
After making the play for the final out of the inning, Ohtani bent at the waist in obvious discomfort and then limped slowly off the field. He returned to the field a few moments later to test his leg, and remained in the game.
“It hit my foot pretty square, so at first I thought there was a good chance that could be tonight,” Ohtani said. “Got back there and it wasn’t as bad as I thought at first.”
Nevin said Ohtani’s foot became more and more painful as the game progressed. X-rays taken later were negative.
“He’s good. He’ll play tomorrow, like,” Nevin said. “It hit him right on the foot. Those things, if you sit for a while, a little chilly night, it stretched him a little.”
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.