Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani almost pulled off his most impressive feat of the 2022 baseball season Thursday night in a 4-2 over the Oakland A’s.
Ohtani took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Oakland outfielder Connor Capel singled off the glove of Angels shortstop Livan Soto to end the bid.
Prior to Capel’s single, Ohtani had retired 22 straight batters after allowing a leadoff walk to start the game. Ohtani allowed only two hits and struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings, improving to 15-8 on the year with an ERA of 2.35.
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“It was going to take a special at-bat and Conner stayed on a ball away and put a good swing on it,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “There’s always that exhale, and then Garcia gets ahead, and we get some momentum.”
Unlike any other pitcher in Major League BaseballOhtani’s night was not confined to the mound, as the 2021 AL MVP batted third in the lineup, going 2-4 with an RBI on the night.
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Ohtani extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the best in the majors, and is now hitting .275 with 94 RBIs and 34 home runs.
Ohtani is very much in the MVP conversation, though New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge will likely take home the 2022 honor as he chases the American League home run record.
“It’s amazing,” said interim manager Phil Nevin, according to MLB.com. “You try not to take for granted what he does because you expect something like that to happen every time he takes the field, whether he’s in the box or he’s pitching. He’s just a special player and at a special time in our game. It certainly would have made that MVP chatter a little more interesting tomorrow [if he completed it].”
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Ohtani, who took the baseball world by storm in 2021, says that he is having an even better season than the one that won him his first MVP award.
“I definitely feel like this season is better overall,” Ohtani said. “My pitching numbers are better, and I’m just playing with more confidence after experiencing last year. I know I won MVP last year, but I feel like I’m having a better season this year.
“I feel like you guys are more of an expert on the voting, the writers, so I’ll leave it up to you guys. But I’m definitely enjoying it. I enjoy watching Judge. I watched him hit 61. Just as a baseball fan, it’s great watching him do his thing.”
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The loss is the 100th for the season for Oaklandthe first time since 1979 that the franchise has lost 100 games in a season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report