SEATTLE -- It had been 12 days since Shohei Ohtani last took the mound, but he showed little rust against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, allowing two runs over six-plus innings as the Angels rolled to an 8-2 win to secure a series victory against their division rivals at Safeco
SEATTLE -- It had been 12 days since Shohei Ohtani last took the mound, but he showed little rust against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon, allowing two runs over six-plus innings as the Angels rolled to an 8-2 win to secure a series victory against their division rivals at Safeco Field.
Ohtani dominated early and blanked the Mariners through six innings before Ryon Healy spoiled his shutout bid with a two-run home run in the seventh. Ohtani allowed six hits while walking two and striking out six in his first outing since April 24, lowering his ERA to 4.10.
"His stuff looked great," manager Mike Scioscia said. "For not being out there for a while, his command was really sharp. Might have gotten a little bit tired in the seventh leading off, but outside of that, it's a great outing for Shohei."
Ohtani threw 98 pitches and departed with the Angels leading, 6-2, buoyed by a trio of home runs from Zack Cozart, Chris Young and Michael Trout. Trout crushed a three-run shot to break the game open in the sixth and went 3-for-4 to collect his third consecutive three-hit game. The 26-year-old superstar is now batting .545 (12-for-22) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and six RBIs over six games this month.
With the win, the Angels improved to 21-13 and moved ahead of the Astros for sole possession of first place in the American League West. They are 12-4 against AL West opponents and have won all five of their divisional series this year.
Ohtani had been scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Orioles, but the Angels decided to push back his start after he suffered a mild left ankle sprain while attempting to beat out a grounder against the Yankees on April 27.
Despite the layoff, Ohtani looked sharp from the outset, needing only 11 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first inning. He received early run support from Cozart and Young, who each launched solo home runs off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the second.
"[I felt] a lot more normal than I expected," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "I felt like I was on normal days' rest."
Ohtani struck out Nelson Cruz swinging on three pitches to begin the second before Kyle Seager singled for the Mariners' first hit of the afternoon. After whiffing Mitch Haniger on a nasty splitter, Ohtani issued a four-pitch walk to Healy to put runners on first and second with two outs.
Still, the Mariners couldn't cash in on the scoring opportunity, as Ohtani got Mike Zunino to ground into a forceout to end the inning.
Seattle also threatened in the fifth after Ben Gamel and Dee Gordon hit back-to-back singles with two outs, but Trout threw out Gamel at third to end the inning, allowing Ohtani to emerge unscathed.
"Ohtani threw the ball well," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He got good results. He was about what I expected. The fastball has velocity. There were certain stretches he was commanding it better than others. The secondary pitches are real -- the curveball and slider and split-finger all have depth and are hard. He's very poised. But he gave us chances. He made a few mistakes that we didn't turn into hits or big hits at all. Credit him. He got the job done today."
Ohtani took the mound in the seventh with a comfortable 6-0 lead, but he surrendered a leadoff single to Haniger and then threw a low slider to Healy, who cranked it out to left field for a two-run homer. Ohtani subsequently walked Zunino, bringing his afternoon to an end.
"I didn't feel fatigued at all, my command was off," Ohtani said. "I left some pitches up in the zone. I was really frustrated with myself, the way I ended the game. It's something I need to work on for my next start."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Angels capitalize on miscue: Hernandez nearly secured a 1-2-3 sixth after striking out Young with two outs, but the ball got away from Zunino, allowing Young to reach on a wild pitch. Rene Rivera followed by lining an RBI double to right-center field to extend the Angels' lead to 3-0.
After Ian Kinsler walked to knock Hernandez from the game, the Mariners brought in Chasen Bradford to face Trout, who crushed an 0-1 slider to left field for a three-run homer that made it 6-0. It was Trout's 12th home run of the season, which tied him with the Rangers' Joey Gallo for second in the American League.
"Just getting pitches and not missing them," Trout said. "Getting my foot down in time. My timing is good right now. Seeing pitches. Putting good at-bats together."
Ohtani has 32 strikeouts over 26 1/3 innings in five starts this season. The only other Angels pitchers to reach 30 strikeouts through five career games are Bo Belinksy (35, 1962) and Jered Weaver (31, 2006).
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With two outs in the fifth, Ohtani leaped to try to snag a comebacker off the bat of Gamel, but the ball deflected off his glove and allowed Gamel to reach on an infield single. Gamel then tried to advance from first to third on Gordon's single to center field, but Trout threw him out with a 91.7-mph strike to Cozart.
Gamel was initially ruled safe, but the Angels successfully challenged the call after replay showed that he came off the bag on his slide, permitting Cozart to tag him out for the final out of the inning.
"Just came out, made a good throw," Trout said. "Obviously he beat the throw, but he came off the bag and Zack did a good job keeping the tag on him."
The Angels will enjoy an off-day before opening a two-game Interleague set against the Rockies on Tuesday at 5:40 p.m. PT at Coors Field. Left-hander Andrew Heaney will start opposite right-hander Jon Gray in the series opener. Heaney tossed a season-high six innings and allowed one run in his most recent outing against the Orioles on Wednesday. The Angels are 11-2 all-time at Coors Field and have won eight consecutive games there dating to 2001.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.