Rays vs. Angels – Match Recap – May 9, 2022

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani can do it all on a baseball field, but the Japanese two-way sensation had never batted a grand slam as a pro.

He changed that Monday night.

Ohtani’s first slam came on a night with two homers, Mike Trout also hit a homer and the rising Los Angeles Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-3.

“Honestly, I didn’t know it was my first. In my head I thought I met one in Japan, but I don’t think so,” Ohtani said through his interpreter.

The AL MVP hit two homers in a game for the second time this season and finished eighth in the majors. Ohtani had a solo shot ahead of Jalen Beeks in the sixth inning. In the seventh, he met a 3-1 cutter from Calvin Faucher, who was making his big-league debut, and sent him over the wall to the left for the Angels’ third grand slam of the season.

“I wasn’t expecting to hit two home runs,” said Ohtani, who has gone deep six times this season. “I didn’t sit in specific seats. When the ball was in the zone, I wanted to swing it well. Trout set the tone on the final at-bat by hitting that home run.”

Ohtani – who will receive his AL MVP award before Tuesday’s game – is a homer shying away from becoming the third Japanese-born player to reach 100 in the majors. He has 147 in his professional career, including 48 with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in five seasons in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League.

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said it wasn’t the ideal debut for Faucher, but he did have some perspective.

“He hired the first three guys and then the wrong three guys came. Hopefully he can look back and see the appreciation he showed Trout and Ohtani,” Cash said.

Ohtani also ended the night with three hits to take his batting average to .252, the highest since April 29. Ohtani came on with a 5-to-27 May slump after scoring a two-run double With his ninth-inning winner in Sunday’s 5-4 win over Washington, Ohtani has given coach Joe Maddon signs that that he rediscovered his momentum.

“He booked better. I mean when the ball goes left center it was just a little under everything and now the angles have gotten better from the start. If we could keep her right there for the next few months,” Maddon said.

Trout and Jared Walsh also went deep, each driving three runs for the Angels, who have won five of six.

Randy Arozarena hit a homer and Wander Franco had three for the Rays, who have lost their last two after winning six straight games.

Trout’s two-run shot at Beeks left field in the sixth inning extended the Angels’ lead to 5-1. Ohtani then scored on the next pitch, the fourth time the two MVPs have linked in consecutive at-bats and the first since June 8, 2019.

Arozarena gave the Rays a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Noah Syndergaard (3-1) shot into the right midfield stands.

The angels answered in the bottom half. Trout singled through the hole at shortstop, Ohtani hit a high fly ball that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier lost in light for a single, and Walsh hit a three-run shot to center Jeffrey Springs (1-1).

Walsh extended his hitting streak to six games. He’s 10 for 24 over that stretch with four homers and 12 RBI.

FOR STARTERS

Syndergaard failed to sequentially retire the Rays in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Tampa Bay had second- and third-place runners with no outs in the second inning, but Syndergaard escaped with two strikeouts and a groundout.

The right-hander allowed seven hits and a walk and knocked out seven.

Springs retired the first 10 hitters – including four by strikeout – before getting into trouble.

MILESTONE HOMER

Trout’s homer in the sixth was his 161st at Angel Stadium, passing Tim Salmon for the best in ballpark history.

MARGOT HURT

Tampa Bay outfielder Manuel Margot, who was named AL Player of the Week earlier Monday, left the game with a right hamstring problem after sliding headlong while stealing second base in the sixth inning. Margot has gone 2 for 3 is 14 for 27 in the last eight games.

TRAINING ROOM

Rays: RHP JT Chargois (left oblique narrow) played catch and can soon start throwing the mound.

Angels: OF Taylor Ward was not in the lineup after pinching his right hamstring on Sunday. … RHP Griffin Canning (Low Back Stress Reaction) threw a simulated two-inning game.

NEXT

Rays: RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 2.36 ERA) has allowed a run in his last 14 innings.

Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (1-1, 5.32) has a 3.21 ERA in his three home starts this season.

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