Angels' Ohtani dazzles in Fenway Park pitching debut

·2-min read

Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani followed in the footsteps of Babe Ruth again on Thursday with an impressive pitching debut at Fenway Park.

Ohtani struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings in the Angels' 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

He also had two hits, slamming a run-batted-in single off the Green Monster outfield fence as part of a five-run eighth inning for the Angels.

Batting third in the lineup, the reigning American League MVP from Japan became the first player to both pitch and bat in one of the top four spots in the lineup at the Red Sox's historic ground since Ruth did it on September 20, 1919.

"That’s one of my favorite ballparks," Ohtani said. "I was looking forward to pitching here, and I felt like it left a really good impression on me."

Ohtani made quite the impression himself.

He threw 82 percent of his 99 pitches for strikes, a career high, without a walk. He generated 29 swings and misses from the Red Sox -- also a career-high.

He gave up six hits, but was able to escape every whiff of trouble.

After Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts reached on opposite field ground balls in the third inning, Ohtani struck out J.D. Martinez with four fastballs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the fifth with a double, but Ohtani induced a fly out from Kevin Plawacki -- right-fielder Taylor Ward making the catch -- then struck out Trevor Story and Devers.

After retiring Devers with a sequence that included his first 100 mph fastball of the year, Ohtani walked off the mound with a scream.

"He's the best player in the league," Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill said. "I think that's one thing everybody can pretty much unanimously agree upon. It's pretty special to see somebody like that come along.

"I think everybody should be really appreciating what we're seeing, because it's something we haven't seen in 100 years, and we may never see it again for another 100 years."

Ohtani was on the mound after his scheduled start on Tuesday was pushed back in the wake of his early exit from a game on Sunday with tightness in his groin.

He wasn't in the lineup on Monday against the Chicago White Sox but did pinch hit in that contest.

While Ohtani kept the Red Sox batters at bay, the Angels didn't notch their first run until the seventh inning, when Jared Walsh belted a two-run homer.

After their five-run eighth, Brandon Marsh homered in the ninth.

bb/caw

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