NEW YORK — It didn't take long for two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to leave a lasting impression on baseball fans in the Bronx.
In his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium of the season, under the lights on Monday night, the Angels designated hitter crushed a booming solo home run high into the right-field bleachers, giving Los Angeles an early lead.
The blast left Ohtani's bat at 117.2 mph, soaring 416 feet while garnering oohs and ahhs from fans in attendance.
Ohtani's 26th home run of the season is also his first hit in the Bronx of his career. While there was once a chance he would don pinstripes coming over from Japan, Ohtani started his big-league career 0-for-9 in Yankee Stadium (over three games in 2018).
With the kind of season Ohtani is having this year, a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player Award as we approach the All-Star break, success on the biggest stage comes as no surprise.
The Japanese star entered play on Monday hitting .277 (71-for-256) with 25 homers, 59 RBI, 52 runs and an incredible 1.031 OPS.
"He's elite in the batter's box," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before first pitch on Monday afternoon. "Obviously, tremendous power, play discipline, really elite speed. He puts pressure on the defense with his speed and then obviously, he's a dominant power pitcher on the mound. To have that all wrapped up in one guy is truly impressive what he's doing here in 2021."
Ohtani is scheduled to toe the rubber on Wednesday, making his 12th start of the season. The right-hander has a 2.58 ERA over 59.1 innings to start the regular season.
While the left-handed hitting version of Ohtani got the best of Yankees starter Michael King in the first inning, it was King that got the last laugh. After flying out to deep left in his second at-bat, Ohtani struck out by climbing the ladder, swinging through a 96-mph fastball in the fifth.
That was the final out King recorded as he was taken out by Boone after giving up a double to Anthony Rendon in the next at-bat. King ended up allowing six hits and three runs to go along with two walks and four strikeouts over 4.1 innings pitched.
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