Ohtani breaks out for career-best 5 RBIs

Japanese star's mechanical adjustment pays off in big way for Halos

September 8th, 2019

CHICAGO -- Following a session in Oakland recently to refine his swing, says he is feeling better at the plate.

He showed exactly how good Saturday night, homering and driving in a career-high five runs as the Angels hung on for an 8-7 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“The last few days he’s picked it up,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “He had struggled there for a bit. He started working on some stuff trying to clean up the mechanics in his swing. He seems to be reaping the benefits of it -- we're reaping the benefits of it.”

The five RBIs also are the most for a Japanese-born player since Ichiro Suzuki had five for the Yankees on Aug. 10, 2012, in Toronto.

“I’m not only happy with the results, but the process and how I’m feeling at the plate,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I feel a lot better.”

also homered as the Angels won their second straight in the series.

(4-4) allowed four runs on six hits in six innings to get the win. He struck out eight and walked none. Heaney gave up two runs in the fifth, but he finished strong by striking out the side in the sixth.

“He was solid,” Ausmus said. “Heaney always gives you a chance to win.”

After the lead was trimmed to a single run in the seventh, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and got the final three outs for his 20th save.

Ohtani had a two-run double in the first inning to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

In the third inning of a tied game, Ohtani stroked a three-run homer -- his 17th -- to left for a 5-2 margin. The Angels then added two more runs in the inning -- on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch -- for a five-run inning and a 7-2 advantage.

Ohtani also singled in the fourth before lining out to pitcher Jose Ruiz in the sixth. Ohtani finished 3-for-5 and was a triple shy of the cycle -- he became the first Japanese player to hit for the cycle back in June against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

“I actually didn’t think about the triple,” Ohtani said. “The way I’ve been hitting recently, I can’t really think about those things.”

After the solo shot by Smith, the Angels took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh before Chicago scored three unearned runs off reliever .

With one out, pinch-hitter Ryan Goins struck out on a ball in the dirt. Smith, the catcher, scrambled after it and threw to first to complete the play, but his low toss bounced and first baseman Albert Pujols couldn’t handle it and that allowed Goins to reach safely. Smith was charged with an error.

Garcia struck out the next batter, Tim Anderson, but Yoan Moncada singled and Jose Abreu followed with a three-run homer.

The Angels' bullpen, however, recovered to retire the next seven batters to close it out.