BOSTON (AP) — Shohei Ohtani stepped to the plate, trying to keep his slumping team in the game.
He did more than that, delivering what he called the most important home run of his four-season career in the majors.
Ohtani hit a two-out, two-run drive in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied past the Boston Red Sox 6-5 Sunday, ending a four-game losing streak.
“Coming off a losing streak and the first two games of the series, the way we lost, it wasn’t a good way to lose,” Ohtani said through a team translator. “So, it was huge for us and the team to come up with this. We showed that we can beat any team.”
Boston closer Matt Barnes (1-1) retired the first two batters in the ninth before giving up a bloop single to Mike Trout.
Ohtani followed with his major league high-tying 12th home run, tucked just inside the Pesky Pole in right field. It was Ohtani’s second homer of the series and stopped Boston’s three-game winning string.
“I personally think he’s the most physically gifted baseball player that we’ve ever seen,” Barnes said.
“I don’t know that you’re ever going to see someone who can throw 100, 101 and hit the ball 600 feet. He’s a special player and incredibly talented. Hopefully, he stays healthy and has a long career," he said.
Raisel Iglesias (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Mike Mayers recorded his second save of the season.
Drew Butera’s two-run single capped a four-run second off Nathan Eovaldi that put the Angels ahead 4-0.
Rafael Devers hit a three-run drive and Kevin Plawecki hit his first homer in a four-run fifth that gave Boston a 5-4 lead.
Eovaldi allowed four runs with six strikeouts in five innings. Angels starter Jose Quintana gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven.
Angels: Ohtani’s next pitching start has been pushed back a day, to Tuesday against Cleveland, because of fatigue. ... OF Justin Upton was not in the lineup. Manager Joe Maddon said it was a scheduled day of rest… INF David Fletcher was not in the starting lineup because he is dealing with what Maddon called an issue in the groin/hip area…RHP Alex Cobb (right middle finger blister) is progressing and could return later in the week.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock was reinstated Sunday from the COVID-19-related injured list. ... OF/INF Kiké Hernandez continues to rehab from a right hamstring strain. He played center field for Triple-A Worcester Sunday, recording five RBIs on two homers, including the first grand slam in the history of the team’s new park. ... INF Christian Arroyo (left hand contusion) was scheduled to hit off a tee on Sunday with a plan to take batting practice by Wednesday. ... Manager Alex Cora said OF/INF Danny Santana (severe right foot infection in spring training) is “almost there.”
Angels: Open a 10-game homestand Monday, facing Cleveland for the first time this season. LHP Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 6.14 ERA) is scheduled to make his first start of the season, limited to 60-65 pitches after throwing 40 pitches in a two-inning relief appearance May 12. Indians rookie LHP Sam Hentges (1-0, 3.29 ERA) is scheduled to make his sixth career appearance, second career start.
Red Sox: After an off-day Monday, Boston faces Toronto for the start of a six-game road trip. Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (5-1, 4.15 ERA) and Toronto LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (3-2, 2.95) are scheduled to face off for the second time this season. Rodriguez earned the win on April 20 at Boston, with six strikeouts in six innings, while Ryu took the loss, allowing four runs in five innings.
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