Sho shakes off injury, makes Halos history

He's the first Angels player to hit 40 homers, steal 20 bases in a season

August 29th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Two-way sensation reached yet another incredible milestone on Saturday night, as he became the first Angels player ever to hit at least 40 homers and steal 20 bases in a season.

Ohtani reached the mark with his 20th stolen base of 2021, coming in the fifth inning of a 10-2 win over the Padres at Angel Stadium. Ohtani already had reached the 40-homer mark -- he leads the Majors with 41 home runs this year. And it doesn’t include the fact he’s also 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 105 innings as a pitcher this season.

"Every day for the rest of the season, he's probably going to do something that really stands out,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It's impressive. Because he's pitching, too. My God."

Ohtani became the first American League player with a 40-20 season since Curtis Granderson in 2011, and he reached the mark before September. The only other American Leaguers to reach 40 homers and 20 stolen bases prior to September were Alex Rodriguez in 2007 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999.

The last Major League 40-20 seasons were by Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich in 2019. Ohtani is just the fifth foreign-born player to reach those marks, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006), Jose Canseco (1988, ’91 and ’98), Larry Walker (’97) and Acuña.

“Shohei breaks another record every day,” said first baseman , who went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double and a walk. “According to our scoreboard, no one's done anything that he's done since 1885 or whatever. So every night with Sho, it's something different."

Ohtani drew a one-out walk against reliever Austin Adams and then stole second on an 0-1 fastball above the zone with Phil Gosselin at the plate. Gosselin was then hit by a pitch, and followed with an RBI double to bring home Ohtani from second. After Walsh was intentionally walked, followed with a sacrifice fly to center to reach a milestone of his own.

It was the 1,000th career RBI for Upton, who became the eighth active player to reach the mark, joining Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Canó, Nelson Cruz, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman and Joey Votto.

"It's quite an achievement for him,” Maddon said. “It really highlights what a great career he's had. It's not easy to do. I love guys who drive in runs, and I think it's an awesome achievement."

Ohtani received a scare in the first inning, when he was hit on his right hand by a 93 mph fastball from lefty Ryan Weathers. Ohtani was ruled to have made a swing on the pitch and was called out on strikes. He was visited by Maddon and assistant trainer Brian Reinker after being hit on his throwing hand but remained in the game. He underwent an X-ray exam during the game, and it came back clean.

"I didn't know what to expect,” Maddon said. “I was trying to decipher what happened. It's another one of those plays. The third-base umpire, Jerry Meals, called it a swing. I could've had it [reviewed] if it was a foul ball. And then I had to try to figure out how he was feeling. So all of these different elements were going on. But the way he was moving his wrist around was good."

Ohtani’s next start on the mound is scheduled for Tuesday at home against the Yankees. Maddon said he’s confident Ohtani will be able to make that start but that they’ll continue to monitor him in the coming days.

"As far as I know, he's OK,” Maddon said. “But he may get sore tomorrow. I'm not sure. But he handled the rest of the game well, so we'll find out. We'll find out more on Monday. I don't know the answer yet. I anticipate good, but I don't know the answer."

Ohtani and Upton were far from the only Angels players with a big night. Walsh was a triple shy of a cycle, went 3-for-4, homered and Adell doubled and also threw out Wil Myers at third base from right field in the fourth inning. Andrew Wantz picked up his first career win by throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of José Suarez.

"Wantz came in and did a really nice job; the bullpen was very good," Maddon said. "And on the offensive side of things, Mayfield's home run was very big. Up and down the lineup, we had great at-bats. Jo Adell looked really good again, and Marshy looked good. And Walsh is starting to get back that loving feeling, too. It's getting better up and down that lineup."