OAKLAND -- Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani emerged victorious in his first Major League start on the mound, orchestrating an impressive six-inning showing that featured six strikeouts in a 7-4 win over the A's on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.The two-way rookie became the first Major League player to start as
OAKLAND -- Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani emerged victorious in his first Major League start on the mound, orchestrating an impressive six-inning showing that featured six strikeouts in a 7-4 win over the A's on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.
The two-way rookie became the first Major League player to start as a non-pitcher on Opening Day (designated hitter) and then start as a pitcher within his team's first 10 games since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1919.
The Angels supported him with 13 hits, including three each from Andrelton Simmons and Jefry Marte, to cap the four-game series with their third consecutive victory.
"We learned if we pitch, we're going to have a chance to win," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our offense is deep. Once we get Ian [Kinsler] back and get everybody swinging the way we can as we get into the season, we'll start to see how deep it is. I think we'll play good defense. If we get the starting pitchers giving us a chance to win and some guys who are going to hold leads, that's the foundation of what we need to do."
Ohtani gave up three hits in the second inning, including a three-run homer off the bat of Matt Chapman, but the A's would be denied any more thereafter. The right-hander, whose fastball topped out at 99.6 mph, went on to retire 14 of his final 15 batters, while the Angels went to work at the plate to shake off an early one-run deficit.
"Obviously I'm very happy, satisfied with my outing," Ohtani said via interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "I'm more happy the team got the victory."
Michael Trout, who enjoyed a second straight multi-hit game, delivered a game-tying double in the fifth, and Justin Upton's ensuing sacrifice fly put the Angels ahead for good, making a winner out of Ohtani.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double down: Outfield blunders plagued the A's all series, and the Angels managed to capitalize on even more on Sunday. With two outs in the second inning, Simmons dropped a bloop single in the middle of three A's players converging in shallow right field. Luis Valbuena then sent a line drive to left that deflected off of Khris Davis' glove. Valbuena was awarded an RBI double, and Marte followed with a double of his own, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead. Yet another double, again off the bat of Marte, bounced off of Davis' glove to open Los Angeles' two-run fifth.
"If the other team makes mistakes, that's the way to win ball games," Simmons said. "You've got to capitalize on it."
Tacking on: Clinging to a one-run lead, the Angels added insurance in the seventh. Right-hander Chris Hatcher was responsible for the three-run output. With one out, the A's reliever surrendered consecutive base hits to Trout and Upton to put runners at first and second for Jose Pujols, who popped out. But Kole Calhoun kept the inning alive with an RBI single, and Simmons followed with a two-run single.
It was needed insurance for right-hander Richard Parker, who allowed three of the four batters he faced to reach, including Stephen Piscotty on an RBI single, before Keynan Middleton bailed him out to close the game with the bases loaded.
"I think Blake right now is searching for some things," Scioscia said. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He's not that far off from where you expect him to be, but he's not as crisp right now as he will be."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Zack Cozart recorded three multi-hit games in the four-game series, hitting safely in all but one of the contests. He is batting .368 (7-for-19) to start the season.
Angels:JC Ramirez will make his season debut in Monday's home opener against the Indians at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Ramirez underwent stem-cell therapy to treat a partially damaged ulnar collateral ligament last year, but the right-hander showed no ill effects from the injury this spring, logging a 5.40 ERA with 13 strikeouts and one walk over 13 1/3 innings in four Cactus League outings.
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.