Baseball

Shohei Ohtani Belts First Career Grand Slam in Rout of Rays

The reigning American League MVP added a solo shot and drove in five runs in the Angels’ 11-3 victory.

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hits a grand slam during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Anaheim, California, on May 9. (Ashley Landis/AP)

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani smacked a grand slam in the seventh inning in their 11-3 triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, May 9.

It was the first grand slam of Ohtani’s career, in MLB or NPB.

The pride of Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, clubbed a 3-1 pitch from Tampa Bay’s Calvin Faucher over the left-field fence at Angel Stadium.

Ohtani finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBIs, including a solo homer in the sixth.

Monday’s power output marked Ohtani’s eighth two-homer game in the majors.

Ohtani now has six homers this season and 99 in the majors. He’s batting .252.

"I wasn't expecting to hit two home runs," Ohtani was quoted as saying by The Associated Press after the game. "I wasn't sitting on any particular pitches. If the ball was in the zone, I wanted to put good swings on it. [Mike] Trout set the tone the previous at-bat by hitting that home run."

The Angels (20-11) are in first place in the American League West.

Ohtani is 3-2 with a 3.08 ERA in five starts. He has 41 strikeouts in 26⅓ innings. He’s allowed 22 hits and issued five walks.

After slugging 46 homers in 2021, Ohtani had four round-trippers through 30 games.

Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon is pleased with Ohtani’s adjustments at the plate in recent days, including hitting the ball to the opposite field.

“He looked better when he’s been going to left-center,” Maddon told reporters. “He was just getting a little underneath everything, and now the angle’s gotten better off the bat. Wow, if we could keep him right there for the next several months.”

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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