NEW YORK (AP) — Shohei Ohtani doubled to key a two-run third inning, leading the Angels to a 3-1 win over the New York Mets on Friday night in the first game after Los Angeles announced the two-way superstar had torn an elbow ligament.
“The guy loves the game — he loves us,” winner Patrick Sandoval said. “It’s obvious — he’s out there playing after the news that he got and what he’s dealing with. It’s pretty special.”
Ohtani, hurt while pitching Wednesday against Cincinnati, finished 1 for 2 with three walks.
“I saw it on the news just like everybody else and I was shocked,” Mets pitcher Kodai Senga said through an interpreter. “I think the whole world was shocked by that news.”
New York (59-70) dropped below Washington (60-69) into last place in the NL East — the latest the Mets have been in sole possession of the cellar this late in a season since 2005. The Mets and Yankees are both in last place this late in the season for the first time.
A crowd of 38,271 turned out on Japanese Heritage Night at Citi Field and greeted Ohtani with a warm ovation in the first. Ohtani, facing countryman Senga, made a tipping motion towards the Mets dugout and toward Senga, who held him to a .227 average with two homers in 22 at-bats in Japan.
“I think he’s a very special player and I think that in itself makes everything special,” Senga said. “I faced him a few times in Japan and I was excited to face him again here.”
Ohtani drew a four-pitch walk in the first. After Nolan Schanuel was hit by a pitch leading off the third, Ohtani ripped a 115.4 mph double that glanced off the glove of right fielder Jeff McNeil. Ohtani advanced to third on Brandon Drury’s sacrifice fly and scored on Mike Moustakas’ single.
Ohtani walked on five pitches in the fifth and grounded out leading off the eighth. The crowd booed in the ninth, when Ohtani was intentionally walked with runners at the corners after Schanuel’s two-out RBI single.
Sandoval (7-10) allowed one run and struck out seven over six innings of two-hit ball. He threw 107 pitches, his most since a career-high 115 on July 30, 2021.
“Just better feel with my fastball today,” Sandoval said. “I have to be able to finish guys when I have two strikes and today I was able to execute a lot more.”
Matt Moore wriggled out of a first-and-third, no-outs jam in the seventh,when left fielder Randal Grichuk threw out Danny Mendick at home for the final out as he tried scoring on Brandon Nimmo’s 232-foot flyout.
Carlos Estévez earned his 27th save in 29 chances with a one-hit ninth.
Francisco Lindor homered in the third to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest for the Mets this season.
Senga (10-7) gave up two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings and struck out 10 — his third double-digit strikeout effort of the season.
“It’s a good night for them and baseball, and they both presented themselves well,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.
WAIT AND SEE
Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Ohtani will continue to serve as designated hitter while pursuing the second opinion that will help him decide whether to have his second Tommy John surgery. Ohtani also underwent the procedure following the 2018 season.
“Him and his representation are going to come up with a plan,” Minasian said. “But as we sit here today, he’s going to play until he tells us he’s not.”
The Mets aired a tribute video prior to the game for Angels infielder Eduardo Escobar, who hit .240 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs in 176 games for New York before his June 24 trade. The video ended with Escobar singing “I Will Always Love You,” the Dolly Parton song made famous by Whitney Houston.
Angels: CF Mike Trout (left hamate) went back on the injured list, retroactive to Wednesday. Trout, who fractured his left hamate on July 3, went 1 for 4 but felt pain while swinging upon his return Tuesday. INF Trey Cabbage was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. ... C Matt Thaiss (right shoulder) was placed on the injured list, retroactive to Thursday. C Chad Wallach, who was on the taxi squad, was added to the active roster and 40-man roster while RHP Chris Devenski was activated from the injured list and designated for assignment.
Mets: INF Mark Vientos (left wrist tendinitis) went 1 for 4 with a double Friday in his first rehab game for Triple-A Syracuse. ... Showalter said RHP John Curtiss underwent successful surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow. ... RHP Edwin Díaz is expected to throw off an outside mound Sunday for the first time since he tore his right patellar tendon during the World Baseball Classic.
The three-game series continues Saturday night with Angels RHP Chase Silseth (4-1, 4.00 ERA) opposing Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-7, 6.42 ERA).
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