CLEVELAND -- Shohei Ohtani has had a lot of success against the Indians, and he continued that remarkable trend with a career night in the Angels' 7-4 win over the Tribe at Progressive Field on Friday night.The two-way standout finished a career-best 4-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs.
CLEVELAND -- Shohei Ohtani has had a lot of success against the Indians, and he continued that remarkable trend with a career night in the Angels' 7-4 win over the Tribe at Progressive Field on Friday night.
The two-way standout finished a career-best 4-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs. He also delivered a key one-out single in the eighth inning, which opened the door for a four-run rally to lead the Halos (55-56) over the American League Central-leading Indians (59-49), ending the Angels' four-game losing streak and a 10-game skid against the Tribe in Cleveland.
"That's what Shohei can do, that's his talent," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a great pickup game for us. We had a rough series [against the Rays], but we're turning the page against a good team. We had to play well to beat them, and we did."
Ohtani entered the contest slashing .294/.364/.595 against right-handed pitching, compared to .170/.254/.245 vs. lefties. He was sidelined with a UCL sprain in his right elbow earlier this season, which landed him on the disabled list from June 8-July 3.
Ohtani delivered the eighth-inning knock off left-handed specialist Oliver Perez. Perez was lifted for newly-acquired right-hander Adam Cimber, who was charged with three earned runs over one-third of an inning in the eighth.
Though Ohtani has struggled as of late, he said he's been working at changing his swing to break out of the slump. In three games against the Tribe this season, he's hitting .643 (9-for-14) with eight RBIs and six runs, and he said he hopes his hot hitting can carry over after the series ends.
"I'm not trying to think too much about righty-lefty, but I've been having better at-bats against righties and lefties," Ohtani said. "The ball has been going in the right direction and I'm starting to feel more comfortable."
The Angels sent 10 batters to the plate in the eighth to break a 3-3 stalemate. After reaching on a single, Ohtani stole second, forcing the Indians to intentionally walk Jose Pujols, whom Cimber had already given a 3-0 count. Andrelton Simmons reached on a fielder's choice, and David Fletcher delivered a go-ahead double to score Ohtani and make it 4-3. Cimber then allowed two more intentional walks and two hits before getting pulled.
"That's a great eighth inning, and I think with Shohei being aggressive, that's a big run at the time," Scioscia said. "Obviously it set the table for a bigger inning, which we needed. ... They kind of just piggybacked off one other. You don't get to their bullpen often, but we did tonight."
Ohtani opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a two-run homer over the left-field wall off Tribe starter Mike Clevinger. Cleveland's right-hander left a 96.1-mph fastball in the middle of the zone, allowing the left-handed-hitting Ohtani to go the opposite way. It was his first career home run on the road and 10th overall.
Ohtani added another homer in the third, a 443-foot solo shot to right off a 3-2 offering from Clevinger to tie the game at three runs apiece.
"Both [home run] pitches were pretty poorly executed," Clevinger said. "I mean, he's got tremendous power -- don't get me wrong. I still think if I executed like my third [at-bat] against him, he's not peppering the ball like he did in his first two. The first one was inside and he still put it the other way, so that's pretty impressive on his part."
Starter Jaime Barria lasted five innings, throwing 92 pitches -- 55 for strikes -- but was not awarded a decision after allowing three runs and six hits while walking two and striking out three. Though Ohtani's homer opened the scoring, Barria surrendered a pair of runs in the first -- allowing a leadoff walk to Francisco Lindor, who came home one batter later on a double from Michael Brantley. One hitter after Brantley, Jose Ramirez singled to tie the game at two runs apiece.
"I threw a lot of pitches in the first inning, then I made the adjustments I needed to make," Barria said.
Barria was charged with another run in the second after giving up back-to-back hits to Yan Gomes and Leonys Martin. Gomes knocked a one-out double and Martin delivered a run-scoring single to Kole Calhoun in right to make it 3-2.
Reliever Justin Anderson (3-2) picked up the win after a perfect seventh inning. The Angels' bullpen held Cleveland hitless after Barria's exit until the ninth, when Martin homered, marking his first home run with the Tribe since being traded from the Tigers on Tuesday.
Richard Parker, who gave up the homer to Martin, also gave up a single to Lindor, but was able to end the game with minimal damage.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Fletcher's clutch knock
Ohtani's single and subsequent stolen base set up the intentional walk to Pujols and a fielder's choice by Simmons. Fletcher (1-for-4) followed Simmons' knock with a double that sliced down the right-field line, allowing Ohtani to score to give the Angels their first lead since the first inning. Fletcher's double bounced into the seats down the right-field line just before Simmons rounded third, forcing the shortstop to stay put.
"I think David puts the ball in play, and I think that's one of the things we like about him, especially with guys on base," Scioscia said of Fletcher's hit.
Ohtani's four home runs against the Tribe marks the most he has struck against any Major League team, surpassing the two he hit against the White Sox on July 23 and July 25. Four of his home runs have had an exit velocity of at least 110 mph, and four have gone at least 440 feet.
HE SAID IT
"Our jaw dropped on that one, but we see Shohei hit balls hard. He got one elevated and that was one of the longest we've seen. It was a long way, but the one in left field was the one that was impressive, because it's tough to get it out to that part of the park. It's almost like a Green Monster out there, but it's normal length -- it's not short like in Fenway Park. I mean, you have to hit it hard to get it out to that part of the park, and he hit it like a right-handed pull hitter." -- Scioscia, on Ohtani's home run-hitting ability
Right-hander Felix Pena (1-2, 5.23 ERA) will get the ball in a 4:10 p.m. PT contest on Saturday at Progressive Field. Pena was charged with the loss Sunday, after allowing seven earned runs, six hits and two walks in one-third of an inning. The Tribe will counter with ace Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.79 ERA), who gave up one run in 7 1/3 innings against the Tigers in his last start.
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. You can follow him on Twitter @Casey_Harrison1.