Ohtani's latest HR amazes Angels: 'I haven’t seen many like that'

Suarez gets himself back on track with 'best outing of the year'

April 30th, 2023

MILWAUKEE -- Angels superstar displayed his astounding power at the plate in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Brewers, leaving his teammates, coaches and fans shaking their heads.

Ohtani belted a towering solo home run to straightaway center field with two outs in the third off Brewers pitcher Colin Rea that arched its way toward the closed roof of American Family Field. The Statcast-projected 413-foot home run had an exit velocity of 114.3 mph and a hang time of 6.98 seconds, the longest tracked in the Major Leagues this year. Overall, just 10 tracked homers so far this season had a hang time of more than 6.5 seconds. 

“I kept waiting for it to hit somewhere up on the scoreboard,” manager Phil Nevin said. “I haven’t seen many like that. He’s special, and we see something new each day with him.”

Nevin chuckled as he thought about something that happened with Ohtani right before the home run, but he wouldn’t provide any specific details.

“I’ve made reference to his personality that you guys don’t get a chance to see,” Nevin said. “It was just something that happened right before that. He was cracking up and we cracked up with him.”

The home run, Ohtani’s seventh of the season, gave him 18 RBIs as he finished off a productive first month -- with the Angels sitting at 15-14, good for third place in the AL West after Sunday’s victory in the series finale.

Ohtani’s home run turned out to be his only hit on Sunday. He struck out in the first, walked and was picked off in the sixth and grounded out in the eighth. 

But his home run helped extend the lead in a tight game. Los Angeles gets a day off on Monday before taking on the Cardinals in a three-game set in St. Louis starting Tuesday.

The Angels had held leads in 23 of 28 games coming into Sunday, and they took a 1-0 advantage against the Brewers in the second inning on ’s solo home run, his first of the season. 

The long balls were two of only three hits surrendered by Rea over five innings, the other being ’s first-inning single.

The Angels got a much-needed boost from , who made his fifth start of the season and third on the road. Suarez pitched five scoreless innings, limiting the Brewers to two hits. He struck out a season-high six and walked three.

Those numbers alone made for a very effective outing, but it's even more impressive considering Suarez’s rocky start to the season.

Suarez took a no-decision in his last start on Monday against Oakland after allowing seven earned runs on eight hits over five innings. He surrendered five home runs in the outing, tying a franchise record for a single game. It marked his second start this season in which he allowed seven runs.  

In eight career Interleague games, including seven starts, Suárez was 0-5 with a 10.29 ERA (32 earned runs in 28 innings pitched) and, until Sunday, Suarez had never won a game in April during his time in the Majors, which began in 2019.

“Credit to him. It’s hard to take your lumps like that for several starts,” Nevin said. “He made some adjustments with some things, but I’m just really proud of him. He pitched his butt off today. He was focused. You could just see it in his face.”

Nevin said he had no intention of letting Suarez return to the mound in the sixth. 

“That was a great five. I wasn’t going to let him go any further,” Nevin said. “I had a short leash with him today.”

Suarez said he was using a mix of pitches, including what Nevin described as a “baby slider,” as part of an arsenal that kept Milwaukee hitters at bay throughout his outing.

“I’m very happy because I found myself,” Suarez said through a team translator. “I was focused on every pitch and tried to throw it perfect.”

The Angels had high expectations for Suarez entering the season after he went 8-8 with a 3.96 ERA and 103 strikeouts last season over 20 starts (22 appearances overall).

“I thought he was great. That was absolutely his best outing of the year,” catcher said. “It was shades of what he did [during] the back half of last year. The most important thing, I thought, is that he was confident. He believed in his stuff.”