Angels’ Ohtani strikes out career-best 13 batters

MLB

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani struck out a career-high 13 over eight dominant innings of two-hit ball, and the AL MVP also reached base three times in the Los Angeles Angels‘ 5-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

After giving up two singles to start the first, Ohtani (6-4) retired 16 straight Royals and 23 of the final 24 batters he faced. While matching the longest start of his major league career, he allowed just one baserunner over his final seven innings — on a walk that was quickly erased by a double play.

With the backdrop of a rare Southern California lightning storm illuminating the sky far beyond center field at the Big A, Ohtani also had a single and two walks at the plate in his latest electrifying two-way performance.

One night after Ohtani hit two three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight runs in an extra-inning loss, he set a new career mark for strikeouts by fanning Emmanuel Rivera on his 108th and final pitch.

David MacKinnon got his first major league hit with an RBI single in the seventh for the Angels, who avoided a series sweep with their fourth victory in six games overall. Luis Rengifo had an RBI double in the seventh before scoring on that single to right by MacKinnon, who got his first career RBI two innings earlier with a sacrifice fly.

After scoring 18 runs in the previous two games at Angel Stadium, the Royals were shut out for the second time in four days and the 10th time this season. Kansas City still has won five of seven.

But Ohtani is unbeatable on the mound lately, allowing just one run in his past 20 innings over three starts. In his most recent home start two weeks ago, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball and also homered in a victory that snapped the Angels’ franchise-record 14-game skid.

Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi singled in the Royals’ first two at-bats against Ohtani, but the Angels’ two-way superstar then set down every batter he faced until Merrifield drew a one-out walk in the sixth — and Benintendi quickly grounded into a double play.

Ohtani’s fastball topped 99 mph twice in the second half of his start while he dazzled Kansas City, getting a whopping 34 combined strikes on swing-and-misses or called strikes.

Daniel Lynch (3-7) wasn’t as effective for the Royals early on, but the left-hander resourcefully shut down the Angels until they loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and an infield single. Lynch, who left after MacKinnon’s sacrifice fly, gave up three hits and five walks on a career-high 104 pitches.

Mike Trout got a rest day for the Angels, leaving their struggling lineup decidedly lacking punch. But MacKinnon came through as the team’s improbable cleanup hitter, getting his first major league hit after getting called up last weekend for his MLB debut.

Andrew Velazquez and Taylor Ward drove in insurance runs in the eighth for Los Angeles.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: C Salvador Perez sat out after reinjuring his left thumb on a swing Tuesday night, but manager Mike Matheny said the team is still determining the seriousness of the injury after an MRI exam.

Angels: RHP Jimmy Herget went on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement. Right-handers Elvis Peguero and Oliver Ortega came up from Triple-A Salt Lake, while inconsistent rookie Reid Detmers went down just six starts after throwing a no-hitter.

UP NEXT

Royals: Zack Greinke is expected to come off the injured list Friday to start when Kansas City opens a three-game weekend series at home against Oakland. Greinke (0-4, 5.05 ERA) went on the IL three weeks ago with a strained forearm.

Angels: After a day off at home, Los Angeles opens a three-game weekend series against Seattle on Friday night. Neither team had confirmed a starter.

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