ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani, the hitter, is starting to get fired up at the plate.
Ohtani went 5-4 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs in the Angels 11-7 loss to Mariners on Wednesday, a day after hitting 3-for-4. It was his second straight game with a 3-pointer for Ohtani, who had never hit 3-pointers in successive games in the Major Leagues or Japan.
He also extended his hit string to five games, and is hitting .526 (10-for-19) with two home runs, two triples and six RBIs in that span.
“He had a tremendous day and he’s swinging really well,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He took advantage of some of the formations that were put on him defensively. He understands that he has to do with runners on base”.
With his 3-pointer, Ohtani joined his own exclusive club as the only player in AL or LN history to make at least 20 starts and hit five 3-pointers in the same season. He did too when he won AL MVP last year, when he finished tied for the AL lead with eight 3-pointers and posted a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts. This year, Ohtani has made five 3-pointers and has a 2.69 ERA in 20 starts. And he once again is a top contender for the MVP award, along with the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
It was also the 20th triple of his career, which helped him make even more history. He is only the second player debuting in 1920 or later to hit 20 3-pointers and win 20 games as a pitcher, joining Johnny Cooney, according to Stats by STATS. Cooney hit 26 3-pointers and won 34 games during a career from 1921 to 1944.
Ohtani, 28, is hitting .265/.356/.519 with 27 home runs, 17 doubles and 72 RBIs in 114 games. His .875 OPS is the highest for him so far this season. He left a .965 OPS in 2021.
Ohtani singled at 104.6 mph in the first, another single at 101.5 mph in the fifth and a triple in the seventh at 102.3 mph. The home run, in the ninth off right-hander Matthew Festa, came off the bat at 102.9 mph.
Ohtani’s next start will be Sunday in Detroit against the Tigers. His 2.69 ERA is 10th-best in the majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings, while he is tied for sixth with 165 strikeouts.
“He’s someone special,” said right-hander Touki Toussaint, who took the loss. “You don’t see things like that. I’ve hit in the National League and it’s not easy. But he makes it look easy.”
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As usual, Ohtani returned to rewrite the record books