The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani pulls off a historic two-way feat to set a career high with 13 batters against the Royals

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Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani made personal and league history in Wednesday night’s 5-0 win over the Kansas City Royals (box score). Not only did Ohtani set a new career high in strikeouts at 13, but he also became the first player since runs batted in became an official statistic in 1920 to have consecutive games in which he knocked out 10 or more batters and drove in eight or more more runs, according to researcher Sarah Langs. (Ohtani lost eight on Tuesday.)

Ohtani’s final line saw him allowing two hits and a walk without giving up a run earned or otherwise. He knocked out the aforementioned 13 batters on 108 pitches, 71 of which went on strikes. Statcast classified him as a record of 14 swing-and-misses on the night, including seven on his slider. Being Ohtani, Ohtani also recorded a hit, an infield single, and made a walk as a hitter.

Ohtani set his career high in strikeouts so far in April when he sacked 12 Houston Astros. He has not hit an out in the ninth inning during his Major League Baseball tenure, although he has pitched several full games with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, his team in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League.

Ohtani entered the night having started 11 times this season. In those shows, he had a 3.28 ERA (122 ERA+) and a 5.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Offensively, he had hit .260/.331/.489 (132 OPS+) with 15 home runs and seven steals.

Langs added that only one other player has ever had at least eight RBIs and at least 10 strikeouts in a game in a season or career. That person is former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger, who accomplished the feat in 1966. Cloninger batted 12 batters on April 12 and later hit nine runs on July 3.

It should be noted that during his career, Cloninger posted a 4.07 ERA (88 ERA+) and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.40 over portions of 12 seasons. At the plate he hit .192 / .205 / .277 with 11 home runs and 67 runs batted. He received consideration for the Downballot Most Valuable Player Award in 1965, but he never made an All-Star game or received a vote for any other hardware. So he wasn’t an Ohtani prototype.

The Angels are now 34-38 in the season following Wednesday’s win. They have Thursday off before starting a weekend series against the Seattle Mariners.

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