Shohei Ohtani homers, Patrick Sandoval escapes jams in Angels’ win over Athletics

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani watches his two-run home run.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hits a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning Sunday. The Angels won 4-1 and improved to 24-13.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani homered for the second consecutive game, leading the Angels to a 4-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

A day after becoming the third Japanese-born player to reach 100 homers in the major leagues, Ohtani belted No. 101. His eighth homer this season was a 425-foot drive deep into the right-field stands off a first-inning sinker from Frankie Montas. Mike Trout, who singled ahead of Ohtani, scored.

“That had some great hang time to it,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Not many people hit Montas, but I don’t know, that was 97 mph elevated and he got all of it. When he’s starting to get to that, heads up.”


It was another big week for the Angels, with rookie pitcher Reid Detmers and sluggers Brandon Marsh and Shohei Ohtani providing multiple highlights.

Patrick Sandoval pitched into the sixth inning and got back on track after a pair of so-so outings to help the Angels (24-13) move 11 games above .500 for the first time since July 28, 2015.

Sandoval (2-1) gave up one run and four hits, lowering his ERA to 1.91. The left-hander overcame a season-high four walks and pitched out of jams in the first three innings, when the A’s stranded four runners in scoring position.

Sandoval has yielded three runs or fewer in all six of his starts this season.

“I didn’t have the changeup. I had to find something that worked, and [the] slider was the pitch,” Sandoval said. “I don’t want to get in those jams in the first place, but when you’re in them you have to get out of them, and I think I did a pretty good job today of doing that.”

Shohei Ohtani celebrates with Angels teammate Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run.
Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates with Angels teammate Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Athletics on Sunday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Jimmy Herget retired eight batters to complete the five-hitter and earn his first career save.

“Coming up in the minors, I closed all the way until triple A,” Herget said. “It was always a goal of mine to get a save in the big leagues. I got it the hard way, but I got it.”

Anthony Rendon had two hits and an RBI. Taylor Ward also had two hits.

When Ohtani was intentionally walked in the third, two batters after Ward’s leadoff triple, fans at the Coliseum — many wearing Ohtani jerseys and other Angels gear — booed loudly.

Shohei Ohtani puts on the Angels' celebratory cowboy hat after his two-run home run against the Athletics.
Shohei Ohtani puts on the Angels’ celebratory cowboy hat after his two-run home run against the Athletics.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

The A’s went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and scored their only run in the third inning on Sean Murphy’s grounder.

Montas (2-4) was sharp after the first. He had a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings and surrendered four hits and two runs but remained winless since April 18.

Quotable: “Jimmy Herget channeling his inner Rollie Fingers today in this ballpark.” — Maddon after the right-hander threw 44 pitches and closed the game with the longest relief stint of his career.

Rough day behind the plate: Plate umpire Marty Foster left the game after getting hit in the facemask a second time. Foster was hit in the sixth inning by a foul ball from Kevin Smith and collapsed to the ground before being helped to his feet by A’s assistant athletic trainer Brian Schulman. Foster remained in the game, but in the top of the seventh Oakland reliever Zach Jackson threw a low pitch that bounced up and hit Foster again. Second base umpire Scott Barry replaced Foster behind the plate.

Bunting basics: The A’s were credited with three sacrifice bunts, an example of first-year Oakland manager Mark Kotsay’s small-ball philosophy. It’s the first time the A’s have done that in a game since 2013.

Injury update: The Angels held out Luis Rengifo (elbow contusion) after he was hit by a pitch in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Up next for Angels: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (3-1, 2.45 ERA) starts against the Rangers in Texas on Monday night. Syndergaard beat the Rangers in April and has given up two runs or fewer in four of his five starts this season.