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The Sports Report: Pitcher Shohei Ohtani still hasn’t retired a batter since 2018

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani delivers against the Athletics.
Shohei Ohtani throws a pitch Sunday.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Maria Torres on the Angels: Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani pitched in a major league game Sunday for the first time in nearly two years, and he didn’t record an out before manager Joe Maddon sent him to the bench during a 6-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

The most anticipated pitching performance of the year ended less than 20 minutes after it began, with Ohtani giving up five runs.

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The disastrous outing opened with a called strike on a 93-mph fastball that entered Marcus Semien’s zone over the heart of the plate. It ended on a single that bounced through a gap on the right side of the infield. In between, Ohtani threw 15 of his 30 pitches for strikes, issued three consecutive walks and gave up three hits and four runs. The fifth run scored when Matt Andriese, who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Ohtani’s place, induced a double play.

Ohtani performed so poorly that he was only able to throw two splitters, his best pitch. Batters only hit .036 (two for 55) off it in his award-winning rookie campaign.

Ohtani’s effort — or lack of it — doomed the Angels. His teammates couldn’t absolve him of the five runs he was charged. With a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly, Mike Trout only came so close.

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DODGERS

Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: The Dodgers spent the last three-plus weeks adjusting to the oddities Major League Baseball deemed necessary to stage a season during a global pandemic from the comfort of their home. They held workouts, played scrimmages, hosted exhibitions, and, finally, completed a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants to begin the regular season while adhering to rigorous protocols at an empty Dodger Stadium.

The opening series was a letdown. The Dodgers dropped Sunday’s finale, 3-1, to split the set against a club projected to finish in last place in the National League West despite outscoring the Giants 22-10 in the four games.

Julio Urías, stifled by a high pitch count early, allowed a run on five hits over five innings in his 2020 debut Sunday. He issued three walks and posted three strikeouts. A baserunner reached base every inning. He threw 78 pitches.

The left-hander exited with the score tied before the Giants jumped ahead in the sixth inning against Brusdar Graterol and Adam Kolarek. The Giants added another run in the seventh on Donovan Solano’s two-out RBI single off Pedro Báez to take a 3-1 lead.

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The Dodgers, meanwhile, accumulated seven hits against seven pitchers. They left 10 runners on base, ballooning their total for the series to 42.

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Guard Lou Williams will miss the first two games of the NBA restart this week after an announcement Sunday by the league that the high-scoring guard must quarantine for 10 days after being photographed at an Atlanta strip club.

Williams also will forfeit money for the games he misses, according to league rules.

The Clippers’ third-leading scorer at 18.7 points per game and a record-tying three-time winner of the NBA’s Sixth Man honor, Williams left the league’s campus at the Disney World resort near Orlando, Fla., after his team’s first scrimmage Wednesday to attend a funeral in Atlanta. Because the league had excused his absence, Williams was preparing to quarantine for only four days upon his return to Disney World.

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That plan was complicated Thursday night after rapper Jack Harlow posted a picture of Williams — wearing an NBA-branded mask — at an Atlanta strip club on Instagram. The post was later deleted and Harlow later wrote on Twitter that it “was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him.”

After the picture emerged, the NBA began looking into Williams’ activities while away, according to two people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Saturday that the team was not pleased.

“He’s back here; I can tell you that much,” Rivers said. “And obviously those got out and that’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or liked.”

LAFC

Kevin Baxter on LAFC: The last time LAFC played a win-or-go-home game against an MLS team, it lost and went home.

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That was in the 2019 playoffs when the Seattle Sounders deprived Bob Bradley’s team of a chance to play for a league championship. LAFC hasn’t lost an MLS game since.

The teams will meet Monday for the first time since that October playoff match in the round of 16 of the MLS Is Back tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. And although the stakes aren’t as big, the situation is the same: Win and keep playing; lose and fly home.

“Everyone knows that they finished our season last year. I think we’ve all watched that game many, many times,” said Bradley, who guided LAFC to the best regular-season record in MLS history in 2019 only to see it end in a 3-1 loss to Seattle in the Western Conference final. “It was a game where I don’t think we were as sharp as we needed to be. We made a few mistakes and paid the price.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Jack Harris on the AVP: Behind dominant serving, Phil Dalhausser and fellow 40-year-old Nick Lucena knocked off Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb in the men’s final in straight sets, 21-9, 21-15 to win Week 2 of AVP three-week Champions Cup series. Dalhausser and Lucena also won the Week 1 event. Sunday’s win was the 100th tournament victory of Dalhausser’s career, becoming only the fifth man to reach that mark. On the women’s side, Alix Klineman and April Ross won for the second consecutive week in the women’s division, defeating Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-15, 21-19.

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NWSL

As the underdog Houston Dash celebrated winning the Challenge Cup title, forward Rachel Daly was asked if she could define the team’s identity after the month-long tournament.

“Winners,” the Dash co-captain simply said.

Sophie Schmidt scored on an early penalty kick and Shea Groom added a stoppage-time goal to give Houston the trophy with a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday.

The tournament was the National Women’s Soccer League’s re-boot after the regular season was shut down by the coronavirus outbreak. Houston, in its seventh year in the league, had never previously made the playoffs.

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“Grit and determination and courage, I could use all of those cliche words but they actually mean something within our team,” Daly said. “After every postgame I say, ‘Nothing breaks our circle, and if anything breaks our circle, we’ll lose.’ Today nothing broke our circle.”

Today’s local major sports schedule

All times Pacific.

Angels at Oakland, 12:30 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

LAFC vs. Seattle (knockout round), 8 p.m.

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THIS DAY IN SPORTS

Ervin Santana pitched the first solo no-hitter for the Angels in nearly 27 years on this date in 2011 when he beat the Indians 3-1 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

The Indians scored a first-inning run on an error, a stolen base and a wild pitch. Santana also walked a batter in the eighth inning, but five of the last seven outs were strikeouts. He finished with 10 Ks.

It was the first complete-game no-hitter for an Angels pitcher since Mike Witt’s perfect game in 1984.

After the game, Santana said, “Lots of guys get to five, six innings, but that’s when things get a little complicated. I’ll just have to enjoy this.”

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In April 1990, Mark Langston and Witt combined for a no-hitter against Seattle in Langston’s first start for the Angels.

Other memorable moments, games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1930 — Ken Ash, a journeyman right-hander for the Cincinnati Reds, got three outs on one pitch in a 6-5 win against the Chicago Cubs at Redland Field. Ash relieved Larry Benton in the fifth inning and induced Charlie Grimm of the Cubs to hit into a triple play. Ash got credit for working a full inning and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth as the Reds took the lead for good.

1986 — Defending champion Pat Bradley sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole in sudden death to defeat hard-charging veteran Ayako Okamoto of Japan in the Canadian Women’s du Maurier Classic at the Board of Trade Country Club in Toronto. Bradley and Okamoto finished 72 holes of regulation play tied at 12-under-par 276. Bradley had started the final round tied with Betsy King, one stroke behind leader Chris Johnson.

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1986 — Bobby Hillin Jr., 22, was the youngest driver to win a NASCAR stock car race when he took the checkered flag in the Talladega 500 at Alabama International Motor Speedway. Hillin took the lead from Tim Richmond with eight laps to go in the 188-lap race and managed to hold off Richmond, who had won two straight races and three of the last four in the Winston Cup series.

1986 — In a matchup of 300-game winners, Don Sutton pitched six strong innings against Boston’s Tom Seaver to lead the Angels to a 3-0 victory at Anaheim Stadium. Seaver, who had been traded by the Chicago White Sox earlier in the year, also pitched six innings, giving up two runs and eight hits. He retired the following year with 311 wins. Sutton won 324 games in 23 seasons.

1993 — Reggie Lewis, 27, of the Boston Celtics, who collapsed during the team’s playoff opener against Charlotte on April 29 from an irregular heartbeat, died after an offseason workout at the team’s practice facility at Brandeis University. Lewis was pronounced dead at Waltham Weston Hospital and an autopsy showed that death was attributed to a thickening of the heart.

1996 — Donovan Bailey of Canada set the world record in the 100-meter dash in gold-medal time of 9.84 seconds at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. After a slow start, Bailey caught Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago and Dennis Mitchell of the U.S. at 50 meters and beat Frankie Fredericks of Namibia by five-hundredths of a second at the tape.

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2013 — Hunter Mahan withdrew from the RBC Canadian Open and returned to his home in Dallas after his wife Kandi goes into labor with their first child, a baby girl. Mahan, who had taken a two-stroke lead at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Canada, after firing a second-round 64, had yet to tee off in the third round.

2014 — Martina Hingis led Washington to its fourth straight World TeamTennis championship, and fifth in six years, when she beats Olga Govortsova 5-2 in singles in the Kastles’ 25-13 victory over the Springfield Lasers. Washington tied the record for consecutive WTT titles set by Sacramento in 2000. Hingis, the former top-ranked women’s player from Switzerland, was selected MVP of the finals.

2015 — Jen Welter, 27, was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coach to work with the team’s inside linebackers during training camp and the preseason. The Cardinals said Welter was believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NFL. She had coached linebackers and special teams in the Indoor Football League with the Texas Revolution.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press

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And finally

Ervin Santana pitches a no-hitter against Cleveland. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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