The Sports Report: Shohei Ohtani just misses a no-hitter

Shohei Ohtani
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

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

From Sarah Valenzuela: If baseball was nothing more than a video game, Shohei Ohtani would be the ultimate cheat code.

On Thursday the two-way star took a no-hit bid against the Oakland Athletics into the eighth inning. He was four outs away from accomplishing the feat when Connor Capel hit a grounder that just got away from shortstop Livan Soto and rolled pitifully into center field.

His pitching mastery was still acknowledged for what it was and the announced crowd of 31,293 gave him a standing ovation, complete with more “M-V-P” chants before the inning was out.

Ohtani gave up just two hits and walked one batter in eight innings, striking out 10, and went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI in a 4-2 victory.


Before the pair of back to back singles he gave up in the eighth, the second one was hit by Dermis Garcia, Ohtani had one mere blip on his night, the one walk to Tony Kemp to start the game. Minus the first inning, he cleared through the minimum batters faced from the second inning until the seventh.

At one point he struck out four batters in a row. The fifth inning also ended with Ohtani fielding a dribbler to first base with the throwing form of an infielder. He jogged off the field, fist pumped low, and into the dugout.

The exhilaration of Ohtani’s mastery precipitated through the announced crowd of 31,293 as the innings wore on, each pitch more precious than the last. The “M-V-P” chants grew louder and after the final out of the seventh inning, a groundout hit to third baseman Luis Rengifo, the crowd’s energy became more than emotion, but a physical electricity.


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From Jorge Castillo: Last week, before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers honored employees who have worked for the organization for at least 25 years.

The men and women stood along the first- and third-base lines. There were ushers, ticket-takers, receptionists, a press room operator and a gardener, among others. Players-turned-broadcasters Rick Monday and Fernando Valenzuela were recognized.

Each person was acknowledged in ascending order, based on their years of service. The penultimate employee presented was an usher in his 52nd year working at Dodger Stadium. Several feet away, standing at home plate, was Jaime Jarrín, the franchise’s most senior employee by 12 years.


The cheers amplified when Jarrín, a Spanish-language radio voice for the Dodgers since 1959, was announced. He waved to the crowd, absorbing another applause as his 64-year career approaches the finish line. Jarrín is retiring at the end of this season — whenever the Dodgers’ playoff run ends — as a broadcaster but will continue to represent the organization as a community ambassador. He carries six-plus decades of memories, spanning from Sandy Koufax to Clayton Kershaw, and no regrets.

“I feel really good physically, mentally really good,” Jarrín, 86, said in Spanish. “I think I could keep working four or five more years, but no, I think this is the precise moment.”


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From Ben Bolch: To hell with the hassle. Matt Phillipi is going to see his UCLA Bruins play football, no matter the headaches.

The hour or so spent in Friday afternoon traffic. The bus that will deposit him on the opposite side of the Rose Bowl from his tailgate, requiring a long walk. The late-night ride back to campus that might feel funereal if the Bruins lose.

Philippi will endure it all to see UCLA face No. 15 Washington in a battle of Pac-12 Conference unbeatens, having made the same sacrifice to support his favorite team for years.

“It’s just a whole process every time,” said the junior psychobiology major.

Like many of his classmates, Phillipi has contemplated what it would be like not to make that 26.2-mile slog from Westwood to Pasadena, to revel in a short walk to games like other college football teams they watch with envy on television.

“If we could tailgate at our fraternity house or Janss Steps or that kind of place,” Phillipi said, referring to sites on or near campus, “I think so many more people would go to games and there would be so much more hype around it.”

More than a half-century ago, UCLA students nearly got to experience the buzz of home games much closer to home.

Momentum was building for construction of an on-campus stadium in 1965, back when the Bruins played their home games at the Coliseum. UCLA chancellor Franklin D. Murphy promoted the construction of a $6.5-million, 44,000-seat stadium that would be nestled into the hillside west of the student athletic fields. It would be financed by student incidental fees, athletic income and pledges from alumni and donor groups.


From Jeff Miller: Justin Herbert and his fractured rib cartilage absolutely personified the NFL’s long-standing designation of “questionable” Sunday.

The cloudiness around Herbert’s status was so pronounced that — even after the quarterback started against Jacksonville — the uncertainty leaked into the game, impacting the Chargers’ play calling.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi admitted Thursday he might have erred in trying to protect Herbert.

“I probably made it a little murkier than it needed to be,” Lombardi said. “I think he was truly a game-time decision. Pregame he’s like, ‘Look, I’m good. So don’t worry about it. I probably was a little cautious at first, wanting to see how it was going. I think he was fine. I should have listened and internalized what he was saying and how he was feeling a little bit more.”


From Gary Klein: Matthew Stafford will not go into a “Monday Night Football” matchup against the San Francisco 49ers riding an obvious wave of production.

The Rams quarterback did not throw a touchdown pass in last Sunday’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the first time since the 2020 season — when Stafford played for the Detroit Lions — that the 14th-year pro was shut out.

But Stafford and coach Sean McVay are hardly concerned.

“My main goal is put up as many points as we can and win the game,” Stafford said Thursday. “There were some opportunities that I could have done a little bit better job, so I’ll try to make sure I do that and get us in the end zone more often.”


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From Andrew Greif: The Clippers have promised in training camp to take a cautious approach with the workload of their over-30 headliners, a process that began Thursday in the team’s final day of workouts in Las Vegas.

After practicing without limitations through two days of camp, including five-on-five play, Kawhi Leonard was given the day off Thursday during the team’s late-morning practice at Nevada Las Vegas. Point guard John Wall also did not participate in what coach Tyronn Lue said was part of the “process” to keep each fresh.

A knee injury has kept Leonard from playing in an NBA game since June 2021. Wall has played in 40 games during the last three seasons, though a rebuild begun by his previous team, Houston, factored into his sitting out last season, not injuries.

“We’ve got to be smart about the process of him and John and try to go from there,” Lue said.


From Kevin Baxter: When U.S. Soccer announced in August that the women’s national team would be playing England in a fall friendly, the federation hyped the game by tweeting a photo of forward Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping goal celebration from the 2019 World Cup semifinals.

But on Thursday, when coach Vlatko Andonovski released his 24-player roster for the Oct. 7 game at London’s Wembley Stadium, Morgan’s name wasn’t on it. The national team’s leading active scorer was ruled out because of a knee injury, which will come as a disappointment to English supporters, who sold out the game in less than a day.

“With Alex, I can’t go into details how serious it is. It is a knee injury,” Andonovski said of Morgan, who sat out last week’s game with her NWSL club, the San Diego Wave. “What I can say is if this was a World Cup final, Alex was going to be on this trip and she was going to play in this game, no question.”


From John Cherwa: As Southern California enters its stretch run of horse racing for the year, slight signs of optimism have surfaced as Santa Anita gets ready to start its 18-day Autumn racing season Friday.

The Santa Anita meeting comes on the heels of a successful summer meet at Del Mar where field size and mutuel handle were up. The two metrics are tied together because bigger field sizes increase the money bet on the races.

Santa Anita does have a built-in disadvantage compared with Del Mar when it comes to field size because there is no racing at Golden Gate Fields during most of the Del Mar meeting and some of those horses come south.

With all that factored in, Nate Newby, Santa Anita’s general manager, is optimistic.

“There is an uptick [in the number of horses] since the summer,” Newby said. “If you look at the combined numbers between Santa Anita, San Luis Rey Downs [training facility] and Los Alamitos, we have over 2,600 at the three facilities. Recently it’s been as low as 2,100. It peaked at Del Mar when the Golden Gate horses came down, but went down a little when they went back. But we should have enough to put on a good meet.”


1916 — The Boston Braves snap the 26-game winning streak of the New York Giants with an 8-3 victory in the second game of a doubleheader.

1927 — Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the season in the eighth inning off Tom Zachary to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Senators.

1939 — Fordham participates in the world’s first televised American football game. In front of the sport’s first live TV audience, the Rams defeats Waynesburg College, 34-7.

1972 — Roberto Clemente hits a double against New York Mets left-hander Jon Matlack during Pittsburgh’s 5-0 victory at Three Rivers Stadium. The hit is the 3,000th and last for the Pirates’ star, who dies in a plane crash during the offseason.

1984 — The Rams set an NFL record with three safeties in a 33-12 victory over the New York Giants. Two of the safeties are on blocked punts in the end zone.

1992 — George Brett becomes the 18th player to get 3,000 hits in the Kansas City Royals’ 4-0 win over the Angels.

1995 — Prairie View A&M sets the college football record for consecutive losses with a 64-0 loss to Grambling State. It is the team’s 51st straight defeat, an NCAA record for any level.

2007 — Osi Umenyiora has six of the New York Giants’ NFL record-tying 12 sacks in a 16-3 victory over Philadelphia.

2007 — Detroit scores an NFL-record, 34 points in the fourth quarter of a 37-27 victory over Chicago. The Lions combine with Bears for 48 points — also a league record.

2007 — Brett Favre passes Dan Marino to become the NFL leader in career touchdown passes, throwing Nos. 421 and 422 in Green Bay’s 23-16 victory over Minnesota.

2007 — Germany defeats Brazil 2-0 in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Shanghai, China.

2012 — New England beats Buffalo 52-28 to become the first team since the 1950 New York Giants (48 points) to score at least 45 second-half points in a game in which it trailed at halftime (14-7). The Patriots become the second team in NFL history with a 300-yard passer (Tom Brady, 340 Yards), two 100-yard rushers (Brandon Bolden, 137 and Steven Ridley, 106) and two 100-yard receivers (Wes Welker, 129 and Rob Gronkowski, 104). The only other team to accomplish the feat was the 2008 Packers on December 28.

2015 — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees that the NCAA’s use of college athletes’ names, images and likenesses in video games and TV broadcasts violate antitrust laws but strikes down a plan to allow schools to pay players up to $5,000.

2017 — Troy’s defense forces four turnovers and the surging Trojans upset No. 25 LSU 24-21. Troy is the first team from outside the Southeastern Conference to win in LSU’s Death Valley since UAB in 2000.

2017 — Detroit’s Andrew Romine becomes the fifth player in baseball history to play all nine positions in one game, helping the Tigers to a 3-2 win over Minnesota.

2018 — The Ryder Cup is won by Europe 17½-10½ at Le Golf National in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France. The home team secures the victory when Phil Mickelson knocks one in the water at the par-3 16th hole, conceding his match to Francesco Molinari right on the tee box. Molinari becomes the first European player to go 5-0 in the competition since the current format was adapted in 1979. Tiger Woods loses all four of his matches, capped by a 2-and-1 loss to 23-year-old Jon Rahm of Spain, the youngest player in the event.

2018 — Brittney Griner scores 15 points to help the United States beat Australia 73-56 and win the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

George Brett gets his 3,000th hit. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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