NEW YORK — It was Shotime in the Bronx on Wednesday night, but Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani didn't stick to the script.
Rather than backing up his 2.58 ERA with a sharp outing on the mound at Yankee Stadium, Ohtani couldn't make it out of the first inning.
After two hits and four walks, and the Yankees batting around, manager Joe Maddon was forced to pull the plug and make a call to the bullpen with two outs in the first frame. Out of the bullpen, Aaron Slegers was greeted with with a bases-clearing double from DJ LeMahieu, taking Ohtani's earned run total to seven.
In 23 previous starts, across three years of pitching in the big leagues, Ohtani had never given up more than five runs before in a single outing.
Regardless of the results, Wednesday night will go down in the history books. Ohtani joined Yankees legend Babe Ruth as the only other player since 1900 to make a start as a pitcher on the day after a multi-home run game. Ohtani is also just the second pitcher to hit leadoff on offense without playing multiple positions in the game. Jim Jones of the 1901 Giants is the only other ballplayer to accomplish that feat.
On Wednesday night, it was clear Ohtani didn't have his best stuff from the get-go. Ohtani walked the first three batters he faced, loading the bases with no outs. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
A strikeout of Rougned Odor with a filthy splitter in the dirt was a glimpse of the hurler fans came to the ballpark to see. But after an RBI groundout from Miguel Andújar, Ohtani hit Clint Frazier and walked Brett Gardner to bring in another run.
The right-hander threw 41 pitches. Only 20 of them were strikes.
When the dust settled, Ohtani's ERA on the season had jumped from 2.58 to 3.60, a stunning clunker that caught everyone in attendance off guard.
The seven-run first inning for the Yankees builds on an offensive outburst on Tuesday night, setting a season-high with 11 runs in a blowout victory.
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