On a night that would go down in baseball history, Shohei Ohtani came close to perfection.
He was throwing a perfect game before giving up one hit and one walk over six spotless innings — to go with 12 strikeouts — in the Los Angeles Angels’ 6-0 shutout victory over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
The Japanese Ace Created Headlines even Before He Took the Pitch on Wednesday.
Major League Baseball claims he made history by becoming the first starting pitcher since at least 1900 to bat twice before throwing a pitch.
Ohtani, speaking via an interpreter, said, “It’s sort of hard to get locked in and get the outs” after giving up six runs in the first inning. But I thought I could get one pitch, one batter at a time, and I did.
As a perfect game seemed imminent, Astros catcher Jason Castro managed to scratch out a single in the sixth.
“Since we have a day off tomorrow, I didn’t want to try to go deep into the game, but rather to get as many outs as possible and turn it over to the bullpen,” the starting pitcher explained.
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Jason Castro, catcher for the Astros, managed to squeeze out a single in the sixth inning just when it appeared that Houston’s pitcher was on the verge of throwing a perfect game.
Ohtani, who is now 27 years old, had two hits, two RBIs, and a run scored before he gave up his first hit.
Ohtani threw his devastating slider 35 times throughout the contest. It was his 12th strikeout of the game, which tied his 2018 Major League Baseball mark.
Angels manager Joe Maddon remarked, “He was at his best tonight, it was a tremendous performance.” He “had enough of Houston giving him a hard time and wanted to go out there and do something about it, both on the mound and at the plate,” as his manager put it.
To which Maddon commented, “Incredible work came from him. No words could ever do it justice. As before, the view was breathtaking from ground level. He has the most impressive work I’ve ever seen.”