Shohei Ohtani homers again, Angels beat White Sox 5-2
By MATT CARLSON
Sep. 08, 2018
CHICAGO (AP) — Nothing seems to bother two-way star Shohei Ohtani at the plate.
Not bad news. Not a hard-throwing, up-and-coming left-hander.
Ohtani homered for the third straight game after learning he will probably need Tommy John surgery, launching a three-run shot to cap the Los Angeles Angels' four-run third inning in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Shut down as a pitcher because of the right elbow problem, the left-handed hitting Ohtani smacked his 19th homer of the season of Carlos Rodon to break a tie with Kenji Johjima for the most by a Japanese rookie in the majors. It was Ohtani's second home run this season off a lefty.
"The more at-bats I get, the more comfortable I feel, the better I see the ball," Ohtani said through a translator. "It's just seeing a lot of pitches over and over."
"He's been swinging the bat well against righties, lefties anybody in the last week," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Ohtani, in the lineup as the designated hitter, has four homers in his last three games. Before the game against the White Sox, Ohtani said he plans to finish the season as the DH and hasn't decided yet if he'll have Tommy John surgery.
"He's got some big decisions coming up when we get to Southern California," Scioscia said. "But he wants to play baseball and he's excited to be in there to swing the bat."
Fellow slugger Mike Trout is impressed.
"When got injured on one thing, he can do another," Trout said. "It's pretty amazing. He could easily shut the season down, but he wants to finish out strong and he's worked hard in the (batting) cage and just in general coming to the field."
Andrelton Simmons added a solo shot in the seventh, and Felix Pena pitched seven strong innings to help the Angels win for the third time in their last four. Pena (2-4) allowed two runs while scattering seven hits and walking none. The righty fanned six.
"Felix was terrific, everything you look for in a starter," Scioscia said.
Avisail Garcia hit a solo shot as Chicago's DH after missing four games with a sore right knee. Omar Narvaez drove in a run with a single.
Rodon (6-5) lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks. It was the left-hander's second straight rocky outing following a run of nine straight quality starts when he was 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA.
"The first inning went pretty good, Rodon said. "Wish the whole game went that way but just no feel for nothing."
Garcia homered to center to lead off the second and give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Angels capitalized on Rodon's wildness in the third. Rodon walked Kole Calhoun and David Fletcher, and then hit Mike Trout with a pitch to load the bases.
Justin Upton hit a sac fly to center to plate the Angels first run, then Ohtani drove Rodon's 2-0 pitch just over the center field fence as Adam Engel jumped high and narrowly missed catching it.
The White Sox cut it to 4-2 in the fourth when Narvaez singled in a run. Simmons homered to left-center off Aaron Bummer in the seventh.
Jose Alvarez pitched a scoreless eight and Ty Buttrey tossed a perfect ninth for his first career save.
The White Sox learned Friday that top pitching prospect Michael Kopech has an injured right elbow and probably will need Tommy John surgery that will cause him to be sidelined through the 2019 season.
GM Rick Hahn expects the 22-year-old right-hander to be ready for spring training in 2020.
Kopech was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Aug. 21 and made four starts with the White Sox, going 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA. Two of the right-hander's first three starts were shortened by rain, but the 6-foot-3 Kopech was impressive in all three, allowing just one run in 11 innings.
Before his last start, Wednesday against Detroit, Kopech had trouble getting loose during his warmups. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in in the loss, then reported discomfort in his arm to the team Thursday.
Angels: CF Trout was back in the lineup after missing Wednesday's game at Texas to rest his right leg. Trout was hit by a pitch in the calf on Tuesday. He was hit again (on the arm) on Friday and was walked twice intentionally. ... Upton (concussion) also returned Friday. He'd been out since Sept. 1 after colliding with Simmons in the field.
White Sox: Kopech was surprised to learn that he had a significant tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, leading to the Tommy John surgery recommendation. ... Garcia is usually the White Sox right fielder. He's expected to have knee surgery after the season. "We're going to do everything we can, whatever we have to do, to spell him and just keep him off his legs as much as possible," manager Rick Renteria said
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 2.53) faces White Sox RHP James Shields (6-15, 4.39) on Saturday.