BOSTON – Shohei Ohtani left his mark at Fenway Park with the finest two-way performance since Babe Ruth himself.
Pitching at the historic ballpark for the first time, Ohtani struck out 11 in seven shutout innings and added two hits – one of them a 109 mph line drive that banged off the Green Monster so hard that it knocked his No. 17 out of the pitcher’s slot on the manual scoreboard.
“I hope you don’t start taking that for granted. Like it’s old hat,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Ohtani’s skills. “It’s just so unusual. It’s otherworldly, on this level of this game.”
The display came during Los Angeles’ 8-0 win over Boston on Thursday that included a five-run eighth inning in the ballpark where Ruth debuted in 1914 and played six seasons before the Red Sox sold him to the Yankees.
In the fourth, Ohtani hit a 389-foot single that was about a foot shy of being a home run. In the eighth, they singled off the left-field wall to drive in one run, then scored as the Angels turned a 2-0 game into a blowout.
Ohtani (3-2) also induced 29 swings and misses from Boston Batters – a career high, and the now for any pitcher this year. He threw 81 of his 99 pitches for strikes, also a career best.
“It’s one of my favorite ballparks,” said Ohtani, who has batted .302 with two homers in 10 games at Fenway. “I was looking forward to pitching here.”
Ohtani’s start was pushed back two days because of groin tightness and came about 14 hours after the Angels scored six times in the 10th inning to beat the Red Sox 10-5. As the designated hitter in that contest, Ohtani walked in the ninth and walked and scored in the 10th.
“To be honest, I was pretty fatigued,” he said. “My body was pretty tired. I tried to get to sleep as early as possible and get enough sleep and rest. I think I was able to do that.”
Ohtani allowed six hits and no walks in all. He also threw a wild pitch that allowed Rafael Devers to reach base on a strikeout in the first.
Ohtani gave up a leadoff double to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the fifth. In the sixth, JD Martinez doubled with one out but was stranded when Andrew Velazquez made a diving catch of Franchy Cordero’s blooper to end the inning.
Ohtani was the first pitcher at Fenway to bat in the top four of the order since Ruth, who was the Red Sox’s cleanup hitter in the first game of a Sept. 20, 1919, doubleheader.
In the fourth inning, Ohtani matched another Red Sox Hall of Famer by becoming the first starting pitcher to record a hit at Fenway since Roger Clemens in 1996. Ohtani and Clemens are the only starting pitchers to record hits at Fenway in the designated hitter era.
The Associated Press contributed to this report