When they finally met up once more, Masahiro Tanaka was too much for Shohei Ohtani.
Tanaka scattered three hits over six strong innings, twice striking out Ohtani as the New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 Sunday.
Although Ohtani was pushed back from his scheduled start due to what the Angels called “workload management,” Tanaka (6-2) held up his end up of the highly anticipated pitchers’ duel between Japanese stars that never materialized.
“We were supposed to pitch against each, but it ended up with him getting into the batter’s box and facing him as a batter, which might have been the real matchup,” Tanaka said through a translator.
Ohtani first batted with two outs and a runner on in the first. Greeted with a loud chorus of boos, Ohtani stepped to the plate against Tanaka for the first time since they played against each other in 2013.
Tanaka, who’s 29 and six years older than Ohtani, quickly fell behind the two-way star before inducing a swinging strikeout much to the delight of the crowd. Ohtani went 0 for 2 with a walk against the Yankees right-hander and is now 0 for 13 with two walks in all competition against Tanaka.
“Obviously, he’s not an easy out,” Tanaka said. “He’s very selective. I got two outs from him today, but it wasn’t easy.”
Ohtani went 0 for 9 with five strikeouts in the series. Tanaka extended the longest hitless stretch of his young big league career.
“I felt like he threw more breaking balls this time around than when he was in Japan,” Ohtani said through a translator. “It felt a little different because American pitchers they throw mostly fastball but he kind of pitched me backwards, so that felt a little different.”
Brett Gardner had three hits for New York, which won five of six against the Angels this season.
Featuring his splitter, Tanaka struck out eight and allowed just Andrelton Simmons’ sixth-inning home run in his longest outing in nearly a month. One day after he homered and had three doubles in the first five-hit game of his career, Mike Trout went 0 for 4.
Pitching on his 30th birthday, Garrett Richards (4-4) continued his struggles against New York. The right-hander allowed three runs over 2 1-3 innings and matched a season high with five walks.
Richards is 0-5 with an 8.57 ERA over seven career games, six starts, against the Yankees and 44-32 with a 3.36 ERA against the other 28 teams.
New York scored all of its runs in the third. Aaron Judge singled to lead off and after striking out Giancarlo Stanton, who fanned four times, Richards lost the strike zone. He walked the next three batters on 14 pitches to force in a run.
Richards threw three wild pitches in the inning to bring his season total to 14, tops in the major leagues. Since 2013, the right-hander has 69, which is eight more than any other pitcher in the majors.
Jose Alvarez relieved and promptly hit Greg Bird to force in another run and Miguel Andujar had an RBI grounder.
Aroldis Chapman walked Ohtani to begin the ninth, but struck out a pair to earn his 10th save in 11 chances. Didi Gregorious ranged into the hole at short to take a hit away from Martin Maldonado for the final out of the game.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
New York outrighted LHP Ryan Bollinger off the major league roster and onto the roster of Double-A Trenton. After being called up to the majors for the first time on May 23, the 27-year old did not make an appearance.
Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres was held out of the lineup for just the second time since being recalled on April 22. Manager Aaron Boone indicated that Torres’ left knee was a little “banged up” on Kole Calhoun’s third-inning single Friday night. Boone made sure to note that the rookie sensation was available off the bench if needed and likely would have been in the lineup had the scenario not been a day game after a night game. Torres appeared as a defensive replacement in the eighth.
Angels: OF Justin Upton (forearm) was held out of the lineup one day getting hit by a pitch from Sonny Gray. Manager Mike Scioscia said that he expected Upton to play in the next day or two.
Yankees: RHP Domingo German (0-2, 5.59 ERA) opposes RHP Justin Verlander (6-2, 1.08 ERA) as New York opens a three-game series with Houston on Monday afternoon. German was tagged for six earned runs in just 3 2-3 innings against Texas on May 22. Verlander has allowed just three earned runs over 35 innings in the month of May (0.77 ERA) and stuck out 14 over eight scoreless innings against New York on May 1.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (3-3, 3.31 ERA) pitches against LHP Matt Boyd (2-4, 3.29 ERA) opens a four-game series in Detroit as Los Angeles continues its longest road trip of the season. Skaggs has stuck out six or more in each of his last five starts.
Source: Associated Press