PHOENIX – Shohei Ohtani was injured while walking around home plate after fouling a ball from the inside of his right knee.
Turns out there wasn’t much wrong. In fact, the two-way star just got stronger.
Ohtani scored eight runs, put two doubles at the plate and, fearing injury, pushed the Los Angeles Angels ahead of the 6-5-backed Arizona Diamondbacks in 10 innings on Friday night.
“When he faces a dilemma, he turns the dial,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon. “Loving it. He knows what he’s doing all the time, I mean perfect.”
Max Stacey’s RBI groundout scored Jared Walsh in the top of 10th to put the Angels ahead for good. Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar needed extra innings after two dismissals, tying a homer to Raicel Iglesias (4-2) in the ninth.
Alex Claudio earned his first save of the season by getting out in the final when Stefan Vogt got out on a check swing with two. Arizona lost eighth place in a row.
It was another big night for Ohtani after some worrying moments in the third innings.
Ohtani – who was batting second – fell to his knees and was in pain after a foul ball hit his knee hard. Talking with the team’s training staff, he eventually got up and stood limp for a few minutes.
The 26-year-old remained in the game and a few pitches later made an RBI double to right center that came off the bat at 114.9 mph. He also threw a fastball that hit 99.6 mph in the lower half of the innings.
“It’s pretty tough right now, but I don’t think it affected me too much during the game,” Ohtani said.
Added Madon: “Very wonderful night for Shohei.”
Ohtani conceded five hits and two runs in two walks in five innings. He ran into trouble with a run with first and second on the mound in fifth.
The right-handed batsman balked twice in the span of a few pitches that Josh Rojas brought home. Ohtani looked as though he finished third in the innings, dismissing Escobar, but the pitch was in the dirt and left catcher Kurt Suzuki behind. Escobar took first place while Ketel Marte scored.
Ohtani was out with a 3-2 lead, then went on to play right field. He added a double in seventh to push Justin Upton to third base. Upton later scored on a wild pitch to give the Angels a 5-4 lead.
The Diamondbacks leveled the game in sixth place after Rojas scored an RBI single from Nick Ahmed. Arizona lost, beating Los Angeles 10–9.
“We just couldn’t get that big knock,” said Arizona manager Torre Lovullo. “There was a lot of traffic today.”
Arizona has lost 31 of its last 36. The team’s record of 20–44 is one of the worst among the major leagues.
D-back starter Merrill Kelly conceded three runs in five innings.
not so fast
After facing just two batsmen in the 10th, Lovulo tried to remove left-handed pitcher Ryan Butcher. The umpires did not catch the error at first, but eventually forced Butcher to face Kurt Suzuki.
Butcher immediately hit Suzuki with his next pitch. Lovullo then replaced Butcher with right Riley Smith (1-4).
Since 2020, MLB has changed the rules requiring pitchers to face at least three consecutive batters unless there is an injury or end of the innings.
The Diamondbacks were playing their first game since firing hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske.
The team announced co-hitting coaches to replace the fired pair. Rick Short was promoted from Triple-A Reno and Drew Heidman was Arizona’s run production coordinator.
D-Back came into the game batting. 231 and scored just 12 runs on the last six-game road trip.
more pitch pain
Kelly feared his own injury in the fifth inning when he took a line drive from his left shoulder that hit 108.7 mph with Ohtani’s bat.
In a stroke of luck for the D-back, the ball went straight out of Kelly’s hand to first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who tagged Ohtani for a dismissal. Kelly remained in the game and got the next batsman Anthony Rendon to pop up for the third out.
Angels: Suzuki left the game in the 10th on Friday after being hit by the pitch for the second time. He had a left hamstring injury. He was replaced by pinch-runner Griffin Canning, who is usually a pitcher. Maddon said he thought Suzuki would be fine and that the pitch caught him in an awkward spot behind the knee.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zac Gallen (elbow sprain) recently threw a bullpen and is about to throw a mock game on Saturday. … LHP Madison Bumgarner (Shoulder Swelling) has resumed catching. He hasn’t pitched since June 2 after being dropped after two innings against the Mets.
The Diamondbacks will send LHP Caleb Smith (2-2, 3.14 ERA) to the mound to face Angels RHP Alex Cobb (4-2, 4.24) on Saturday.
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