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Shohei Ohtani sets career high for strikeouts; dazzles in win over Royals


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Shohei Ohtani adheres to a strict routine in almost every aspect of his life. When his final start to the mound was delayed 12 minutes by a pre-game ceremony honoring the 2002 World Series champions Angels, his meticulous preparation took a hit before he even threw a pitch. .

A slightly bumpy start still led to an incredible second night in a row for the two-way superstar.

Ohtani hit a career-high 13 in eight two-hit ball-dominant innings, and the AL MVP also hit base three times in Los Angeles’ 5-0 win over the Kansas City Royals Wednesday.

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Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

After giving up two singles to start that delayed first inning, Ohtani (6-4) has struck out 16 straight Royals and 23 of the last 24 batters he’s faced. While tying the longest start of his major league career, he allowed just one base runner in his last seven innings — on a walk that was quickly obliterated by a double play.

“I think the biggest thing was getting that zero in the first inning after giving up those first two hits,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “I was able to do that, and that set the tone for the game. I wanted to go as long as possible, but I wasn’t really thinking about the pitch count at the start of the game.”

Against the backdrop of a rare Southern California thunderstorm lighting up the sky far beyond Big A center field, Ohtani also had a single and two walks at home plate in his last electrifying two-way performance.

A night after Ohtani hit two three-run homers and had a career-high eight runs in an overtime loss, he set a new personal best for strikeouts by stoking Emmanuel Rivera on his 108th and final pitch .

ANGELS LOSE WILD GAME IN EXTRA INNINGS AGAINST ROYALS

Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (7) throws first against Los Angeles Angels Andrew Velazquez in the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 .

Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (7) throws first against Los Angeles Angels Andrew Velazquez in the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 .
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

“He just pissed us off,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “I thought about taking him out in eighth, and he was adamant, ‘No. It’s mine. I’m staying. “…What a day. What a performance from him.

David MacKinnon got his first major league hit with an RBI single in the seventh for the Angels, who avoided a series sweep with their fourth win in six total games. Luis Rengifo had an RBI double in the seventh before scoring on that single to the right of MacKinnon, who got his first career RBI two innings earlier with a sacrifice fly.

After scoring 18 points in the previous two games at Angel Stadium, the Royals were shut out for the second time in four days and the 10th time this season. Kansas City still won five of seven.

“It was a show,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s a very unique throwing repertoire. I don’t think you’ll find as many guys with as many weapons as what we saw today. He was throwing three different sliders, plus a cutter and a curve. When the split started to go, that’s when the strikeouts really started to happen, and he’s got 100 (mph) in the tank that he almost never showed…. It’s okay be a tough day at home plate.

Ohtani has been unbeatable on the mound lately, allowing just one run in his last 20 innings in three starts. In his last home start two weeks ago, he pitched seven one-run innings and also homered in a victory that broke the Angels franchise record in 14 games.

Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi singled in the Royals’ first two fights against Ohtani, but he then put down every batter he faced until Merrifield walked in the sixth – and Benintendi got away with it. is quickly thrown into a double game.

Ohtani’s fastball exceeded 99 mph twice in the second half of his start as he baffled Kansas City, landing a whopping 34 combined strikes on swing-and-misses or call strikes.

ANGELS’ MICHAEL LORENZEN PROPOSES BASEBALLS SLICKNESS: ‘THEY MADE SOMEBODY HURT’

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts after the start of the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts after the start of the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Daniel Lynch (3-7) wasn’t as effective for the Royals early on, but the southpaw ingeniously stopped the Angels until they charged in the fifth on two walks and a single on the ground. Lynch, who left after MacKinnon’s sacrificial volley, allowed three hits and five walks on a career-high 104 pitches.

Mike Trout got a day off for the Angels, leaving their struggling roster lacking punch. But MacKinnon became the team’s unlikely cleanup hitter, earning the first major league hit after being called up last weekend for his MLB debut.

MacKinnon was thrilled with his game-changing outbursts, but other aspects of the game also thrilled him.

“I have to play in the field behind Shohei and see how good he is,” MacKinnon said. “It’s crazy to be here.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: C Salvador Perez sat out after injuring his left thumb on a swing on Tuesday night, but Matheny said the team is still determining the severity of the injury after an MRI scan.

Angels: RHP Jimmy Herget went on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement. Right-handers Elvis Peguero and Oliver Ortega came from Triple-A Salt Lake, while inconsistent rookie Reid Detmers lost just six starts after throwing a no-hitter.

Los Angeles Angels' Taylor Ward (3) slips home to score a sacrificial fly hit by David MacKinnon in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22 2022.

Los Angeles Angels’ Taylor Ward (3) slips home to score a sacrificial fly hit by David MacKinnon in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Anaheim, Calif. on Wednesday, June 22 2022.
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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Royals: Zack Greinke is expected to be off the injured list on Friday to start when Kansas City opens a three-weekend home series against Oakland. Greinke (0-4, 5.05 ERA) went to IL three weeks ago with a strained forearm.

Angels: After a day off at home, Los Angeles opens a three-weekend series against Seattle on Friday night. Neither team had confirmed a starter.

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