In just his second major league start, Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani threw a perfect game through six and 1/3 innings against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday, striking out 11 batters in the process.
Ohtani recorded one out in the seventh inning before allowing a sharp base hit to left field by Marcus Semien, ending his bid at history. He finished the day allowing one hit and one walk with 12 strikeouts through seven innings of work, leaving to a roaring standing ovation by the home crowd.
Ohtani opened the game by striking out the side in the first inning, setting down Matt Joyce, Semien and Jed Lowrie on 15 pitches. The Angels would quickly provide him with run support, as Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun recorded RBI base hits in the bottom half of the inning.
The 23-year-old then struck out seven batters through the next four innings including striking out the side again in the fifth inning.
In the seventh inning, Ohtani needed just two pitches to retire Joyce, but quickly fell behind 2-0 on Semien before he raked a 96 MPH fastball to left field for a single. After a four-pitch walk to Lowrie, Ohtani settled down, getting Khris Davis to ground out before striking out Matt Olsen for his 12th and final strikeout.
Ohtani signed for the Angels in December and was the MVP of Japan’s top league, NPB, in 2016, after hitting 22 homers with a .322 batting average and recording a 1.86 ERA in 140 innings pitched. His dominance on the mound and at the plate led to the only slightly hyperbolic nickname “the Japanese Babe Ruth.”
Through two starts in the majors, Ohtani is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 18 strikeouts. Offensively, the versatile star has hit .389 with three home runs and seven RBIs in just four games.