Shohei Ohtani’s 30th homer lifts Angels over Yankees

Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge lost in the pitching duel between Angels starter Patrick Sandoval and New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole. With their first two at-bats, Ohtani and Judge were unbeaten. The judge batted twice and Ohtani hit a flyout and a popout.

Then, in the sixth inning, Ohtani declared himself MVP.

With two ons and an out and the Angels two runs behind, the baseball titan four-seamed Cole’s 2-and-0 fastball and slammed it into the hedges behind the center field wall at 107 mph. Ohtani trotted around bases and David Fletcher, who reached with a single, and Mike Trout, who reached base with a field error, were waiting to greet him after he touched home plate.

His homer was no doubt as he left his bat and fueled the Angels’ 3-2 comeback win. Cole didn’t have to look around to know where Ohtani was sending his pitch. In reaction to his mistake, Cole hit his gauntlet lightly. And Yankee midfielder Aaron Hicks could only stand and watch the ball disappear behind the wall.

Ohtani had been itching for a big extra base hit all night.

He was robbed by Cole in the first inning of a potential two-run home run. His flyout was secured in one fluid motion by Hicks, who jumped up to make the catch before crossing the midfield wall.

Ohtani didn’t muster enough on Cole in his second at-bat either, hitting Josh Donaldson for a third in the fourth inning.

Cole kept the Angels scoreless until his error against Ohtani in the sixth. The Angels scored six hits from Cole, in addition to the three runs (only two earned). .

Sandoval, meanwhile, had picked apart the Yankees, who were top of the American League East, down to a tricky fifth inning.

He beat Judge on four pitches in the first inning, the final touch coming from Sandoval’s signature 1-and-2 switch. In the fourth inning, he got the judge again with his equally sharp 1-and-2 slider, which the judge fouled into the catcher’s glove for the third hit.

In Judge’s final meeting with the Angels’ left-handed pitcher, he pulled a seven-pitch walk but was knocked out in second on a grounder by fellow batter Giancarlo Stanton.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge steals second base before throwing to Angels shortstop David Fletcher.

Aaron Judge (99) of the New York Yankees steals second base before a throw at Angels’ David Fletcher (22) in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium on Wednesday.

(Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

Sandoval threw a 1-2-3 first inning, including back-to-back strikeouts by Andrew Benintendi and then Judge, followed by a clean second inning. When Sandoval broke the top of the Yankees order for the second time – with the final two outs falling on strikeouts by Judge and Stanton – Sandoval was on fire.

After the last out of the fourth inning, he came off the mound, screaming and clenching his fist in celebration.

It was Hicks who scored Sandoval’s first hit in the third inning, a groundball that slipped back and forth between third baseman Matt Duffy and shortstop David Fletcher. Hicks didn’t get much further than first base. Sandoval got Isiah Kiner-Falefa to hit a grounder on Fletcher, who quickly threw the ball to Luis Rengifo in second to force out.

Donaldson doubled Sandoval in the fifth inning and later scored the first run of the game.

Donaldson’s double, a grounder who hopped erratically along the third baseline, hit the dirt just yards from Duffy, who failed to catch the ball before bouncing past him and headed for the corner, where onfield safety and the ball boy sat on the left.

This was followed by Sandoval’s wild pitch against Gleyber Torres that allowed Donaldson to move up to third place. Torres doubled Sandoval and scored Donaldson. Hick’s sacrificial fly allowed Torres to score and the Yankees took a 2-0 lead over the Angels in the fifth inning.

Ohtani’s home run gave Sandoval a chance to get off the hill with the Angels in the lead.

Sandoval ended his night after seven innings, giving up three hits, two earned runs, walking two and knocking out seven.

Judge and Stanton worked in Angels reliever Jimmy Herget’s ninth inning walks but were stranded, securing the Angels victory. Shohei Ohtani’s 30th homer lifts Angels over Yankees

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