Shohei Ohtani struggles on mound as Angels fall to Yordan Alvarez-led Astros

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani reacts after giving up a two-run homer to the Astros' Yordan Alvarez on June 2, 2023.
Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani reacts after he gave up a two-run, first-inning homer to the Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez on Friday night. Ohtani yielded five runs in six innings, and the Angels lost 6-2.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Houston manager Dusty Baker wasn’t sure how his team was able to send Shohei Ohtani to one of his worst pitching starts of the season Friday night.

But Yordan Alvarez certainly played a big role in it.

Alvarez hit a two-run homer off Ohtani for a major league-best 50 RBIs, backing a strong start by Framber Valdez in the Astros’ 6-2 victory over the Angels.


“Nobody gets to him too much,” Baker said. “So we were fortunate to not miss pitches when we had an opportunity.”

The Angels’ Anthony Rendon will not face charges following an incident with a fan at Oakland Coliseum, with police confirming the case is now closed.

June 2, 2023

Valdez (6-4) scattered five hits across seven scoreless innings to extend his winning streak to four games. The left-hander, who struck out seven, has given up just one run combined in his last three starts to lower his earned-run average to 2.16.

“I felt calm and stayed focused and threw the pitches down in the zone,” Valdez said in Spanish through an interpreter.

There was one out in the first inning when Alvarez connected on his team-leading 15th home run to make it 2-0.

Angels manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani shouldn’t have thrown a second sweeper in that at-bat.

“Alvarez is a guy that when he sees a pitch like that in the zone already, he usually doesn’t miss ‘em the second time,” Nevin said. “Just put it in a bad spot.”


Brandon Drury hit a solo homer and Hunter Renfroe added three hits, but the Angels fell to the Houston Astros 5-2 in a game in which manager Phil Nevin was ejected.

June 1, 2023

Rookie Corey Julks added a two-run shot off Ohtani (5-2) in the sixth to push the lead to 5-0.

Ohtani yielded a season-worst nine hits and tied a season high with five runs surrendered in six innings for his second loss this year.

“It just comes down to pitch selection and execution, which I wasn’t able to do,” Ohtani said in Japanese through an interpreter. “If I was able to get those strikeouts, I think the momentum would have swung our way. That wasn’t the case.”

Batting leadoff for the first time this season, the two-way star also had a tough night at the plate, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a walk.

Taylor Ward had three hits and drove in a run in the eighth inning for the Angels as they fell to 0-2 in the four-game series.

Chas McCormick had three hits and Kyle Tucker added two hits and an RBI for the Astros.

The Angels' Taylor Ward hits an RBI single against the Astros during the eighth inning June 2, 2023, in Houston.
The Angels’ Taylor Ward, who had three hits, connects for an RBI single during the eighth inning.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Jeremy Peña singled with one out in the first inning and moved to second on a throwing error by Gio Urshela on the play. A wild pitch by Ohtani sent him to third before Alvarez’s shot to the seats behind the bullpen in right-center field made it 2-0.

Tucker, José Abreu and McCormick hit consecutive singles to load the bases with two outs in the fourth. But Ohtani retired Julks on a groundout to leave everybody stranded.

Peña walked with two outs in the fifth, and Alvarez singled. Alex Bregman hit a line drive to left field to score Peña, but Alvarez got caught between second and third to end the inning.

Ohtani ran into trouble again with two outs in the sixth when McCormick singled on a grounder. Julks followed with a two-run home run to center field that pushed the lead to 5-0.

Tucker added an RBI double with two outs in the seventh to make it 6-0.

Brandon Drury and Ward hit back-to-back RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to cut the lead to 6-2.

Astros pitcher Framber Valdez reacts after Houston turned a double play to end the seventh inning.
Astros pitcher Framber Valdez reacts after Houston turned a double play to end the seventh inning. Valdez pitched seven scoreless innings.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

Trainer’s room

Angels: Shortstop Zach Neto was hit with a pitch on the left foot in the third inning. He remained in the game for a few innings before he was replaced by Luis Rengifo in the bottom of the sixth with soreness on the foot where he was plunked.

Up next

Houston right-hander Cristian Javier (6-1, 2.97) opposes left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-4, 3.42) when the series continues Saturday.