Shohei Ohtani smacks two homers to end drought

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani blasted his first two home runs of the season Friday as the Los Angeles Angels came from behind to beat the Texas Rangers 9-6.

The reigning American League MVP had not homered in his first seven games of the season for the first time in his five-year MLB career. He ended the drought by connecting on the first pitch on his 31st trip to the plate this year.

Ohtani, who was tagged with his second straight loss as a pitcher a day earlier, drove a high Matt Bush fastball over the wall in right-center at Globe Life Field.

The Rangers took a 6-2 lead in the fourth, but Ohtani again went deep as the Angels immediately regained the lead in a five-run fifth, sparked by Kurt Suzuki’s one-out solo shot.

With a runner on, Ohtani this time pulled a 0-1 cutter from Texas’ third pitcher Kolby Allard (0-1) before his team added two more runs for a 7-6 lead. Jared Walsh’s two-run homer in the seventh completed the scoring.

“I’m happy to have hit two,” Ohtani said. “The biggest thing for me was our managing to get the win in the end, especially (with the second home run) helping to turn the tide after we fell behind.”

Ohtani had 46 homers and batted .257 last year. After going 2-for-5 Friday, Ohtani is batting .206. It was the first time he had two homers in a game since July 2 against the Baltimore Orioles.

“He’s started to do Shohei things again,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He looked really good, missed one down the left-field line too. You’ve just got to leave him alone, and he’s going to hit like he did last year.”

Seiya Suzuki, meanwhile, was left out of the Chicago Cubs starting lineup for the first time. The former Hiroshima Carp slugger drew an intentional walk as a pinch hitter as his team lost 6-5 to the Colorado Rockies.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo went 1-for-4 as the Pittsburgh Pirates lost 7-2 to the Washington Nationals. Hirokazu Sawamura allowed two runs over two innings as a reliever in the Boston Red Sox’s 8-4 defeat to the Minnesota Twins.

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