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Ohtani powers Angels offense in win vs. Tigers

Rookie's 12th homer sparks 7-run 1st inning in Anaheim
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani is still working his way back to the mound for the Angels, but he continues to find ways to make an impact with his bat in the interim.

Ohtani's three-run home run off right-hander Jacob Turner sparked a seven-run first inning that helped spur the Angels to an 11-5 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- Shohei Ohtani is still working his way back to the mound for the Angels, but he continues to find ways to make an impact with his bat in the interim.

Ohtani's three-run home run off right-hander Jacob Turner sparked a seven-run first inning that helped spur the Angels to an 11-5 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

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Detroit jumped out to a lead by scoring a pair of runs off left-hander Andrew Heaney in the top of the first, but the Angels quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning. After Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton delivered back-to-back singles, Ohtani crushed a 2-0 fastball from Turner 411 feet to left field to put the Angels ahead, 3-2.

"It may look like I'm taking easy hacks, but I'm swinging the bat pretty hard," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. "If it looks like [I'm swinging effortlessly] and the ball's flying far, that's a good sign. My timing is good. I'm seeing the ball well."

It was Ohtani's 12th home run and his second to the opposite field this season.

Video: DET@LAA: Ohtani belts opposite-field 3-run homer

"He leverages the ball very well," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got great leverage in his swing. When he gets extended and barrels it up, the ball comes out very hot."

Ohtani's latest display of power came hours after the Angels announced that the 24-year-old rookie is expected to throw off the mound on Saturday for the first time since receiving stem-cell and platelet-rich plasma injections to treat his sprained elbow ligament on June 7.

"I've been waiting for this day," Ohtani said. "I've been very eager, ever since I got injured. I'm very excited. Looking forward to it. Just hoping there's good results and no setbacks."

Following Ohtani's homer, the Angels loaded the bases with no outs against Turner, who allowed the first eight batters he faced to reach base. Kaleb Cowart forced in another run with a bases-loaded walk, and Francisco Arcia followed with a two-run single to right field that made it 6-2. Arcia later capped the big inning by swiping home as part of a well-executed double steal. The seven runs were the most the Angels had scored in the first inning since April 20, 2013, which also came against the Tigers.

The early outburst allowed the Angels to overcome an uneven start from Heaney, who gave up five runs on eight hits over five innings. The Tigers pulled within two after Jeimer Candelario launched a two-run homer off Heaney in the fifth, but the Angels padded their lead with a three-run sixth that was highlighted by Upton's two-run shot just inside the right-field foul pole.

"It's nice to not pitch all that well and get a win," said Heaney, who earned his career-high seventh win. "It's always great to have run support like that. … Those guys see me pretty well. I fell behind in some counts and kind of got just complacent with a pitch, and it cost me. It happens."

Video: DET@LAA: Heaney strikes out Gerber swinging in 1st

With their second consecutive win, the Angels improved to 57-58 and secured a series victory over Detroit. Even with Mike Trout out of the lineup for the sixth straight game due to a bruised right wrist, the Angels pounded out 13 hits against six Tigers pitchers. Ohtani went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base, while Calhoun, Upton, Arcia and Andrelton Simmons chipped in with two hits apiece.

Heaney entered Tuesday having logged a 1.60 ERA in his last nine home starts, but he wasn't as sharp against Detroit. He struck out Mike Gerber to open his outing but then yielded back-to-back singles to Jose Iglesias and Nicholas Castellanos. After Candelario opened the scoring with a ground-rule double to left field, Heaney uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Castellanos to score from third to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Victor Martinez followed with a walk to put runners on the corners with one out, but Heaney managed to avoid further damage by coaxing a 4-6-3 double play from Niko Goodrum to end the inning. The Tigers added another run in the second after James McCann singled and scored from first on JaCoby Jones' RBI double to left field.

Gerber subsequently walked to put runners on first and second with one out, but Kole Calhoun and Simmons quashed the threat by turning an impressive inning-ending double play. After Iglesias flew out to right field, Gerber attempted to tag up and advance to second, but Kole Calhoun quickly fired to Simmons, who slapped a tag on Gerber for the third out.

Video: DET@LAA: Simmons makes slick tag to complete DP

In the sixth, the Tigers flew into yet another double play. After Ronny Rodriguez drew a one-out walk off Jim Johnson, Eric Young Jr. made a brilliant diving catch in center field to rob McCann of extra bases. Young then lobbed a one-hop throw to Albert Pujols to pick off Rodriguez at first base, ending the inning.

"At that particular point in time, it's a 7-5 game," Young said. "The game just shifted back in our favor when the Tigers seemed like they were picking up some momentum."

Video: DET@LAA: Young makes terrific diving grab to start DP

JEREZ DEBUTS
Left-hander Williams Jerez, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Ian Kinsler trade on July 30, made his MLB debut in the eighth and worked around a two-out double to Martinez to post a scoreless inning. Jerez returned to the mound in the ninth and retired Rodriguez, McCann and Jones in order to end the game.

"There's always going to be butterflies, and if there were, he masked it very well," Scioscia said. "He went out there and threw strikes, showed good stuff. That's two good innings for him to open up his Major League career. Hopefully, there's many more."

Video: DET@LAA: Jerez fans Castellanos for first K in Majors

SOUND SMART
Eight of Ohtani's 12 home runs this season have come against American League Central teams.

UP NEXT
The Angels will send rookie Jaime Barria (6-7, 3.84 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday as they close out their three-game series against the Tigers at 1:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Detroit will counter with left-hander Blaine Hardy (4-3, 3.25 ERA). Barria is set to make his first career start against the Tigers. He did not factor into the decision in his last start on Friday after yielding three runs over five innings against the Indians.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani