SEATTLE – Shut down from stepping on the mound, Shohei Ohtani needed one at-bat to show he's still a threat in the batter's box.
Ohtani homered in his first plate appearance since being shut down as a pitcher, Dylan Bundy struck out 10 in the third complete game of his career and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1 on Thursday.
Ohtani drove a 1-0 pitch from Seattle starter Taijuan Walker to the opposite field just beyond the leap of left fielder Dee Gordon leading off the second inning. It was Ohtani’s third home run of the season, all coming against the Mariners. Ohtani homered twice last week at home against Seattle.
“I saw the best swing I've seen out of him in person and not just the home run," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He's on the verge right now. I like a lot of what I saw today and I'm curious if he can keep this path going. He was very focused, very convicted in everything he was doing.”
The Angels shut down Ohtani's arm for the rest of this truncated season after he strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow. His recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.
Walker felt he'd made a good pitch on the ball Ohtani hit out.
“I went back and looked at it. It was just middle, middle away, on the plate still. Good hitter,” Walker said. “I mean, it was a mistake pitch, 1-0, his count. I need to get that down a little lower.”
Max Stassi added a two-run homer in the eighth inning, his fourth of the season.