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Shohei Ohtani Smacks Two Homers as Angels Rally Past Rangers

With eight homers in his past 13 games, Shohei Ohtani now leads the American League with 20 round-trippers this season, one more than Aaron Judge.

Shohei Ohtani is on a home run tear of late, igniting the Los Angeles Angels.

Ohtani belted his 19th and 20th homers of the MLB season on Monday, June 12 against the Texas Rangers, and the visiting Angels triumphed 9-6 in 12 innings at Globe Life Field.

Texas led 5-1 after three innings, but Los Angeles staged a comeback in the series opener.

Ohtani hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 5-2.

With one out in the seventh inning, the Angels designated hitter crushed a sinker from Grant Anderson, sending the ball flying 459 feet (nearly 140 meters) into the upper deck in center field. Ohtani's solo blast tied it at 5-5.

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani is greeted in the dugout by teammates after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning. (Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY SPORTS)

The game went into extra innings.

Ohtani smacked a two-run shot to left off Cole Ragans (2-3) in the top of the 12th, giving the Angels the lead for the first time. They added two more runs in the inning, and the Rangers fell short in their comeback attempt, scoring one run in the home half of the 12th.

Shohei Ohtani swings for the fences in the 12th inning. (KYODO)

'On a Nice Little Streak'

After the game, Angels manager Phil Nevin commented on Ohtani's recent big impact as a slugger (five homers in his past nine games ― and eight over the last 13).

"He's on a nice little streak right now," Nevin said, according to The Orange County Register. "It's fun to watch when he gets into those spots. You can see him having a lot of fun, too."

The manager went on: "You saw him on the home runs too, especially the second one. The emotion he's showing. He cares about this group quite a bit and it's feeding into all the players."

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani became the AL leader in home runs (20) on June 12. (KYODO)

Ohtani is Doing What He's Expected to Do

Ohtani now leads the AL with 20 home runs, one more than New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who has appeared in only 49 games. The Angels superstar has played in 66 games, including 13 as a starting pitcher (5-2, 3.32 ERA), and has a .291 batting average with 12 doubles, three triples, 42 runs and 50 RBIs along with a .593 slugging percentage. He also extended his hitting streak to nine games on Monday.

Judge, who hit an AL record 62 homers in 2022, has been sidelined since June 3 with a toe injury.

Los Angeles (37-31, third place in the American League West) won for the sixth time in seven games. Monday's win also marked the first time the Angels have been six games above .500 this season.

"Coming into Texas, they're in first place and all the boys are fired up," Ohtani said through an interpreter, according to The Orange County Register. "It's huge to get that first win in the four-game series."

Texas (41-24, first in the AL West) dropped its second in a row.

It's just a shoe!

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven.

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