ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani hit two three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight runs, but Whit Merrifield led off the 11th inning with an RBI double before the Kansas City Royals hung on for a 12-11 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Ohtani crushed a 423-foot homer in the sixth and a game-tying, 438-foot shot in the ninth, giving him the biggest RBI game of his five-year stateside career. The AL MVP then set the single-game major league record for RBIs by a Japanese-born player with a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.
Daniel Mengden struck out Mike Trout with two Angels on base before Ohtani’s flyout, and he retired Jared Walsh on a game-ending popup. Mengden earned his first save of the season and the second of his career as Kansas City held on for its fifth victory in six games despite blowing a five-run lead in the sixth and a three-run lead in the ninth.
Carlos Santana had four hits and drove in a season-high five runs for the Royals, while rookie Bobby Witt Jr. had his first multi-homer game while driving in a career-high four runs. Despite losing slugger Salvador Perez to a thumb injury in the third inning, Kansas City led 6-1 midway through the sixth before the Angels’ star hitters finally came alive.
Dylan Coleman (2-1) stranded two Angels runners in the 10th.
Ohtani trimmed the Angels’ deficit to 6-4 in the sixth when he drove his 14th homer to right-center. Royals starter Jonathan Heasley had pitched four-hit ball into the sixth inning before Ohtani’s shot chased him.
Kansas City then led 10-7 entering the bottom of the ninth after Santana’s late RBI single and Witt’s two-run homer, but Tyler Wade singled and Trout walked before Ohtani drove them home with that no-doubt blast to right.
Jared Walsh doubled, tripled and homered while driving in two runs for the Angels, but fell just short of hitting for his second cycle in 11 days.
Santana began his monster game with an RBI double and a two-run homer before adding RBI singles in the sixth and eighth. Witt homered in the first inning, added an RBI double in the seventh and delivered a two-run homer in the ninth.
The Royals’ offense was solid early against rookie Reid Detmers, who has struggled since throwing a no-hitter last month. Witt connected for his ninth homer after a 10-pitch at-bat in the first, and Santana added a two-run shot in the fourth.
Walsh got three extra-base hits in four innings midway through the game, but couldn’t get a hit in two additional at-bats. He finished a single shy of matching his first career cycle on June 11 against the Mets.
Two Japanese players had previously driven in seven runs in a major league game. Tadahito Iguchi did it for the White Sox in 2006, and Hideki Matsui matched it for the Yankees in 2009.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin was ejected during a pitching change in the seventh inning after arguing vociferously with the umpiring crew. The source of his anger was unclear.
Ohtani (5-4, 3.28 ERA) looks to string together three straight mound victories in the series finale against Kansas City’s Daniel Lynch (3-6, 5.19). Ohtani’s only previous pitching start against Kansas City was back in his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2018.