Shohei Ohtani’s Homer Helps Lift Angels Past Mariners 7-3
SEATTLE (AP) — Shohei Ohtani provided the first big punch and the Los Angeles Angels kept adding on from there.
Ohtani hit his second home run of the season, Taylor Ward added a two-run shot in the eighth inning and the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3 on Monday night.
Ohtani drove a 1-1 pitch from George Kirby (0-1) an estimated 431 feet into the right-center field seats in the fifth inning for a 4-2 lead. Ohtani had grounded out in his first two at-bats before the rare home run off Kirby, who surrendered only one long ball during the final three months of last season.
“It was a loud one,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “He got a lot of changeups there going into that at-bat and picked out a good one. That was a big home run and his swing looks good.”
Ward's homer came off Matt Festa with two outs and after Luis Rengifo had walked on a couple of borderline pitches. Rengifo also was a problem for Seattle with a pair of RBI singles earlier in the game, both scoring Jake Lamb.
Rengifo wasn’t in the original starting lineup, but was inserted after Anthony Rendon dropped the appeal of his suspension for an incident last week in Oakland and started serving his four-game punishment on Monday.
Mike Trout was also on base five times with a single, three walks and a hit by pitch.
“Obviously, the top of the lineup is as good as it gets, and I feel like it's really deep one through nine,” said Brandon Drury, who had three hits, including an RBI double in the ninth.
After losing on opening night, the Angels have won three straight while the Mariners have dropped four in a row after winning their opener.
Eugenio Suárez had an RBI double in the first inning and his run-scoring single in the fifth pulled Seattle within 4-3. Ty France also had an RBI double for Seattle and stole the first base of his career when he swiped third in the third inning. Among active players, France had the second-most times on base without a steal and he hadn’t attempted a stolen base since his rookie season of 2019.
Seattle has scored more than four runs only once in five games.
“It’s been a struggle here early on. It’s not for lack of trying or lack of effort or preparation. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to get it done, and we haven’t done it here,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.
Angels starter Reid Detmers was one out shy of getting through the fifth inning and qualifying for the victory. Ryan Tepera (1-0) recorded the final out of the fifth to get the victory.
“I've just got to get ahead in counts. That was the main thing tonight. I felt like I was fighting pretty much every at-bat,” Detmers said. “I've just got to get ahead, work ahead and life is a lot easier.”
Ohtani and former Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki reconnected before the game. Ohtani was photographed removing his hat and bowing toward Suzuki when the pair spoke before the game. It was their first public interaction since Ohtani and Japan won the World Baseball Classic last month. Suzuki helped Japan to WBC titles in 2006 and 2009.
Angels: LHP José Suarez will make his season debut. Suarez was 8-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 20 starts last season.
Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo makes his second start of the season. Castillo threw six shutout innings allowing one hit on opening day.