Civale outduels Ohtani, leads Tribe to win

May 20th, 2021

Before Wednesday's game, right-hander Shohei Ohtani was receiving the publicity because of what he can do on the mound and in the batter’s box. But right-hander outdueled Ohtani as the Indians edged the Angels, 3-2, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Ohtani didn’t last five innings and allowed two runs. He wasn’t throwing the blazing fastball that he is known to throw, but he competed. He threw cutters, sliders and splitters.

“They talked about him having a tired shoulder and he came out and he didn’t throw with the velocity that we were expecting,” manager Terry Francona said. “It seemed like as he got into the game, he started getting back into it.”

Civale, who earned his sixth win, pitched seven innings, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out eight batters. He retired the first eight batters he faced to start the game and then allowed a triple to David Fletcher, who then scored on a double by José Iglesias in the third inning.

His other blemish was a home run by Jared Walsh, who put the Angels ahead in the fourth inning. But Civale held the Angels at bay until he left the game after the seventh inning. Everything was working for Civale -- the cutter, slider and breaking ball. When he needed a strike, Civale threw that cutter. It looked like he could have gone another inning, but Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak blanked the Angels the rest of the way.

“He kept them off balance. He took the sting out of their bats,” Francona said.

How fun was it to work with Civale? Catcher Austin Hedges said the right-hander was able to mix and match throughout the game.

“I felt we did a nice job giving different looks each time through the order and he was able to execute,” Hedges said.

Civale said he is used to facing opposing pitchers with bigger names like Ohtani. It dates back to when he was in high school. Believe it as he loves the added pressure it brings.

‘I love pitching against those guys. At the end of the day, that’s what I want to do. That’s what everyone wants to do,” Civale said. “It’s just good baseball. Again, I take those challenges every time.”

The game was tied at 2 when Cleveland took the lead off reliever Tony Watson in the sixth inning. After he reached first on a walk and advanced on a groundout by Franmil Reyes, José Ramírez stole third base and then scored on a single by Josh Naylor.

“When Ramírez stole third, that changed the whole dynamic of the game,” Francona said. “The Angels have to play in. The ball hits off the pitcher and we score. Ramírez does those things all the time. He is a smart player. He is a good player.”