Ohtani (31st, 32nd HRs), Trout (30th) put on a show

September 6th, 2022

ANAHEIM -- Angels superstars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout couldn’t be contained by the Tigers in Monday’s series opener at Angel Stadium.

Ohtani went 3-for-5 with two homers, a double and three RBIs, while Trout went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double in the Halos’ 10-0 win. It marked the 21st time that Trout and Ohtani have gone deep in the same game, and the seventh time this season.

With Trout reaching 30 homers for the seventh time in his career, this marks the first time that Trout and Ohtani have each gone deep 30 times in the same season, as Ohtani has a team-leading 32 homers this year. It was also Ohtani’s sixth multi-homer game of the season, which ties Troy Glaus for the club record set in 2000.

"When they hit them, they sound a little different,” interim manager Phil Nevin said of Trout and Ohtani. “The balls that Shohei hit to right in his first two at-bats, he was staying back on offspeed pitches. And then the one to left-center, there's not too many guys who can hit them that far there from that side of the plate."

Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, remains in a race for the award again this season, along with Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who hit his 54th homer of the year on Monday. Ohtani has been heating up both at the plate and on the mound, as he has five homers over his past seven games and he held the Astros to one run over eight innings while pitching on Saturday.

Trout, a three-time AL MVP, said it’s fun competing with Ohtani because the two push each other to succeed, and he’s excited to see how the AL MVP race shapes up down the stretch.

"You're always coming to the ballpark trying to compete and push for everybody to do well,” Trout said. “He's a special, special baseball player. It's going to be a fun stretch over the next [27] games. ... It's fun to watch."

Ohtani doubled in the first inning on a slider that was down and away from Tigers left-hander Tyler Alexander, as Ohtani still pulled the ball 364 feet off the right-field fence. In the third, Trout had a one-out double off Alexander, and Ohtani followed with a two-run homer on a first-pitch fastball. It was crushed to center field, as the ball left the bat at 111.4 mph, per Statcast. 

Ohtani's second homer of the night was a leadoff shot in the seventh on a first-pitch slider from right-hander Garrett Hill. It was an opposite-field home run to left-center field with an exit velocity of 108.6 mph, and it traveled a Statcast-projected 416 feet.

Ohtani is batting .270/.360/.537 with 32 homers, 85 RBIs, 78 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 130 games. He's also pitched like an ace in 23 starts, posting a 2.58 ERA with 181 strikeouts in 136 innings. Ohtani ranks second in the AL in homers and fifth in pitching strikeouts.

"Overall, I've been able to look at the pitches and swing the bat pretty well," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "And I'd like to continue what I've been doing."

Trout's seventh 30-homer season extended his own club record. Tim Salmon ranks second with five 30-homer seasons for the Angels.

"It's pretty cool,” Trout said. “We swung the bats well tonight and scored a lot of runs. It's just good to come back after a big loss [Sunday].”

Trout’s solo homer off Alexander was part of a two-run fifth. Trout didn’t miss on a 1-2 changeup, pulling it down the left-field line. It was the second straight game with a homer for Trout, who also hit a solo blast against the Astros on Sunday.

Trout has batted .302 with six homers, two doubles and nine RBIs in 16 games since returning from his back/rib cage injury on Aug. 19.

"I feel pretty good,” Trout said. “Just being out there with the guys and getting at-bats every day has been big for me. I feel fine, I feel great."

Trout now has 5,001 career at-bats and a career OPS of .999. The only players in AL/NL history to play in at least 1,000 games and retire with an OPS above 1.000 are Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg and Rogers Hornsby.

"Everybody talks like he's having a down year, but he has a [.968] OPS,” Nevin said. “That's pretty good, especially for a guy who played hurt for quite a long time and had a lull of about 40 at-bats where he didn't do much. So all in all, he's still one of the best players in the game."