Ohtani celebrates Angels decision to keep him with historic feats
Los Angeles Angels star pitcher Shohei Ohtani accomplished unprecedented feats in MLB history on Thursday, just a day after being pulled from the trade block.
In the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, Ohtani threw his first complete game. He also allowed only one hit while striking out eight batters. Meanwhile, in Game 2, which began only 40 minutes after Game 1, he produced double home runs.
Ohtani became the first player to throw a shutout in one game of a doubleheader and hit not just one but two home runs in the other. It also made him the second player since 1900 to make a one-hit shutout or better on the mound and hit a home run on the same day.
Before him, this rare feat was achieved by Rick Wise of the Philadelphia Phillies, who hit a two-run homer during his no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on June 23, 1971.
Ohtani's performance led the Angels to 6-0 and 11-4 victories. The win completed a three-game sweep in Detroit and marked his team's ninth win in 11 games overall.
The double home runs added to Ohtani's season tally, bringing his total to 38. The updated count extended his lead as MLB's top home run hitter. This also raised Ohtani's home run pace from 57.4 to 59.8 for the season, bringing him closer to Aaron Judge's American League record of 62 home runs.
On the pitching front, it had been nearly six years since Ohtani last pitched for more than eight innings in a game. He last did so in 2017 with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan's NPB. In MLB, he had completed eight innings five times in his career, the last being on September 29, 2022.
Game 1 was Ohtani's best outing in the majors. On top of allowing only one hit, he walked three and struck out eight batters on 111 pitches.
Transitioning to Game 2, Ohtani resumed his role as the designated hitter. In the second inning, the left-handed hitter smashed a two-run homer to left field. He followed it up with a powerful line drive to right-center in the fourth. Eventually, Angels manager Phil Nevin removed him from the game when he showed discomfort.
Out of the trade block just hours before
Angels manager Phil Nevin recalled that after the eighth inning of what would be Ohtani's first complete game, the pitcher had told him that he would "finish it."
Just hours before this, the Angels decided to retain Ohtani for the season and avoid any trade before he became a free agent. They also plan to actively pursue acquisitions before the upcoming trade deadline on August 1.
General manager Perry Minasian discussed the team's approach to the situation, saying they decided to "roll the dice" and observe the outcome.
The Angels are also anticipating outfielder Mike Trout's return in mid-August after recovering from a broken hamate bone. This sets the stage for a potential final run with Trout and Ohtani as teammates, with Ohtani becoming a free agent after the season ends.