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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani strikes out five, touches 100 mph in encouraging first start

The Angels' Shohei Ohtani pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a spring training game March 5, 2021.
Shohei Ohtani struck out five and gave up one run in 1⅔ innings in the Angels’ 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday in Mesa, Ariz.
(Matt York / Associated Press)

The Angels won 7-3 against the Oakland Athletics on Friday in a seven-inning game, improving to 3-2-1 this spring.

ON THE MOUND: In his 1⅔-inning spring debut, Shohei Ohtani struck out five batters and gave up one run, three hits (all doubles) and two walks. Of his 41 pitches, 24 were strikes and five produced a swing-and-miss.

Ohtani’s fastball topped out at 100 mph, according to the Fox Sports West broadcast, and he used his trademark splitter to effect as a putaway pitch. He said his slider wasn’t as sharp, twice leading hits early in counts. His other big focus for the day was “situations with runners on base,” he said through his translator. “That’s something that you can only do in real-game situations. So I’m glad I got that out of the way.”

Reliever Jesse Chavez pitched his first game for the Angels this spring after signing a minor league contract earlier in camp. He gave up one run and two hits. Reliever Patrick Sandoval pitched two scoreless innings.

As of today, only the Giants among California’s five MLB teams can admit more than 100 fans, but Dodgers and Angels are close to falling out of the purple tier.

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AT THE PLATE: Luis Rengifo, Justin Upton and José Rojas each hit his first home run of the spring. José Iglesias added a triple, his third extra-base hit of the spring. Max Stassi, who had offseason hip surgery, appeared in his first game of the spring, striking out in both of his at-bats as designated hitter.

EXTRA BASES: Mike Trout was hit by a pitch in the side in his first at-bat but stayed in the game. ... Taylor Ward entered the game at catcher in the fourth inning. It was the first time the utility man had been behind the plate this spring.

UP NEXT: The Angels return to Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday to face the Colorado Rockies at noon. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports West and KLAA/830. José Quintana is slated to be the starting pitcher.


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