SEATTLE (AP) — Shohei Ohtani held Seattle to one run in six innings and drove in a run at the plate, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-3 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday.
Ohtani (1-0) kept the Mariners scoreless after allowing a run in a bumpy first inning, finishing his day having allowed three hits while striking out eight.
Ohtani drove in Taylor Ward with a single in the top of the seventh against Mariners reliever Andrés Muñoz to put the Angels lead 4-1.
Ohtani walked four and hit two batters, but his contributions both on the mound and at the plate were plenty good enough to lead the Angels to victory.
“He just didn’t have the command that he normally does,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “I’m sure he’ll tell you the same, but when he’s not on his game and pitches like that, we’ll take that every day against a good lineup.”
After struggling to find his command early, Ohtani settled down in his final three innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five batters.
“The biggest thing for me was I couldn’t command my fastball,” Ohtani said. “That was the biggest issue I was seeing throughout the game.”
Ohtani struck out the side in the sixth, finishing his day by whiffing A.J. Pollock with his 111th and final pitch.
“He’s a special talent, and he makes adjustments on the fly as well as anybody I’ve seen,” Nevin said. “That’s why he’s where he’s at.”
After Julio Rodriguez scored in the bottom of the first to give Seattle the early lead, Logan O’Hoppe hit a two-run homer against Mariners starter Chris Flexen (0-1) to put the Angels on top 2-1.
Ohtani and Mike Trout both drove in runs off Muñoz in the seventh, but the Mariners pulled within one run in the bottom half of the inning as Ty France and Eugenio Suarez drove in runs.
The Mariners brought the possible winning run to the plate in the ninth inning, but France struck out against Jose Quijada to end the game. Quijada picked up his first save.
“Offensively, I thought we did a really nice job against Ohtani,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “That was the plan going in kind of grind through at bats, get the pitch count up there. I think the thing that hurt us today a little bit, we made a couple outs on the bases and took us out of possibly some bigger innings there, when we did have a chance to score runs.”
Ohtani was hit with a pitch clock violation as both a pitcher and a hitter, the first time that has happened in MLB history. His violation as a pitcher came in the top of the first against Cal Raleigh. He was flagged again in the top of the sixth before his at-bat against Mariners reliever Matt Brash … Ohtani hit two batters in the third inning, after hitting only two batters in 166 innings pitched last season … Ohtani’s 111 pitches are the most of any pitcher in the big leagues this season.
Angels: LHP Patrick Sandoval will pitch Friday against Toronto. Sandoval allowed two hits and one earned run over five innings against Oakland in his last start on April 1.
Mariners: RHP Logan Gilbert will pitch for Seattle on Friday at Cleveland. He struck out seven batters over six innings against the Guardians on April 1.