Shohei Ohtani Strikes Out 10 in Angels’ Opening Loss to A’s

AP Photo / Jed Jacobsohn
Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani throws against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning of an opening day game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani struck out 10 over six scoreless innings in his season debut coming off the World Baseball Classic title before Oakland capitalized once he exited with Aledmys Díaz rallying the Athletics on a tiebreaking single in the eighth for a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

Esteury Ruiz singled and Tony Kemp hit a tying double to start the rally against Aaron Loup (0-1).

Ohtani called his own pitches using the Pitchcom technology as he also did during spring training given his full repertoire of offerings and the addition of the pitch clock this year.

Rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe singled in the fifth to break up a scoreless game and put the Angels ahead. Then Los Angeles right fielder Hunter Renfroe made an amazing no-look catch for the opening day highlight reels.

Ohtani raised his arms in delight from the mound and Renfroe could only grin ear to ear after robbing Oakland’s Jace Peterson with a defensive gem to start the bottom of the fifth. Running backward toward the wall, Renfroe reached his glove up and made the grab without his eyes tracking the ball and landed just in front of the warning track.

“WHAT WAS THAT” the Angels posted on Twitter with a shocked emoji face.

Ohtani — unfazed after walking Kemp on four pitches to start his outing — pumped his first when he retired Ramón Laureano on a 101-mph pitch to end the fourth. He walked three and allowed two hits.

Ohtani joined Dylan Cease, Gerrit Cole and Logan Webb as four pitchers with double-digit strikeouts, matching 1970 for the most on opening day since 1901.

New A’s reliever Trevor May (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win. Dany Jimenez earned the save after putting the tying run aboard on a walk.

Gio Urshela struck out swinging to end the seventh after a 10-pitch battle with Oakland reliever Domingo Acevedo.