Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani Stirred MLB Fans With Memorable Duel

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Paul Skenes allowed three runs on six hits in his first career game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. The highly-anticipated showdown between Skenes and Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani lived up to the hype.

Skenes struck out Ohtani on three straight pitches (all triple-digit fastballs) in the first inning, but Ohtani returned the favor with a two-run homer to center field in his next at-bat, setting the internet ablaze. Even Skenes watched the ball fly out with a smile on his face.

Per's Sarah Langs, that 100.1 mph fastball was the fastest pitch Ohtani has homered on in his career. In his third at-bat against Skenes, Ohtani won the final battle when he singled. Skenes won the war, finishing with eight strikeouts and another win on his ledger as the Dodgers lost, 10-6.

"His stuff that first at-bat was really good," Ohtani said of Skenes via his interpreter Will Ireton. "I couldn't put together good swings, but overall just really good stuff."

Skenes grew up in Orange County attending Angels games and admiring Ohtani as a two-way player. He was even in attendance for Ohtani's home pitching debut at Angels Stadium. He wasn't too upset that his idol took him deep.

“Kind of got to tip your cap,” Skenes said. “He’s a good player. Stuff like that is going to happen. They have other really good players, too. And frankly, that’s why we play the game, for matchups like that. Not happy I gave it up, but it’s part of the game.”

Maren Angus-Coombs


Maren Angus-Coombs was born in Los Angeles and raised in Nashville, Tenn. She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State and has been a sports writer since 2008. Despite growing up in the South, her sports obsession has always been in Los Angeles. She is currently a staff writer at the LA Sports Report Network.