ANAHEIM — The Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge MVP showdown came up to its promise.
Ohtani hit a three-run home run to give the Los Angeles Angels the lead in their 3-2 victory on Wednesday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 43,555 at Angel Stadium, the same night that Aaron Judge secured a victory for the New York Yankees with a three-run shot.
On Monday, both players blasted home runs, but Ohtani‘s was a two-run bomb while Judge’s was a solo shot, giving the Angels a one-run victory.
Manager Phil Nevin remarked, “It was going to come down to that.” “One of the stars was just rising right there, a game like this with these supporters and the way the stadium was.”
As he attempted to retain his MVP title, Ohtani added a line to his resume with his 30th home run of the year. Due to Ohtani and Judge’s matchup this week, the race between the two has been on everyone’s radar. Ohtani acknowledged that he has also been considering it.
Through his interpreter, Ohtani stated, “Definitely it motivates me to go better, aiming to go for that hardware.” It’s something I consider. I mostly just take things game by game and at-bat by at-bat. We’ll total everything up at the end of the day.
The Angels’ most exciting race to consider now that they aren’t in contention for the postseason is Ohtani’s MVP race, but their recent play against playoff contenders has been encouraging nonetheless. After sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series, they captured two of the three games from the Yankees. The Angels are playing their best baseball since early June when a 14-game losing run caused their season to collapse.
Despite the fact that Ohtani drove in all of their runs with a single swing, the most recent victory wasn’t entirely his doing. After seven strong innings from Patrick Sandoval, José Quijada and Jimmy Herget pitched the final two.
In the eighth, Herget gave up walks to Judge and Giancarlo Stanton before striking out the next three batters.
In the sixth inning, the Angels were down 2-0 to the Yankees and their ace Gerrit Cole. A fielding error by third baseman Josh Donaldson allowed David Fletcher to advance to second after leading off the inning with an infield single. Then shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa booted a routine grounder by Mike Trout.
When Cole was 2-and-0 down to Ohtani, he grooved a 97.9 mph fastball over the centre of the plate.
Ohtani smacked it to the immediate centre, and as it soared into the trees beyond the centre field fence, he paused and marvelled at the shot. The ball exited his bat at 107.3 mph and went 427 feet.
When centre fielder Aaron Hicks robbed him in the first with a leaping catch near the fence, Ohtani had just missed a two-run home run.
In a clash of former Orange County high school pitching stars, Sandoval pitched a fantastic seven innings after Ohtani’s home run gave the Angels the lead. He then came back to the mound and pitched a 1-2-3 shutout inning to finish the game.
The best food I’ve had all year, according to Sandoval. Everything else played wonderfully off the fastball because it was there.
Two walks, seven strikeouts, and two runs were allowed by Sandoval in three hits. He only required 82 pitches. With the exception of a minor setback in the fifth inning that wasn’t really his fault, Sandoval cruised past the Yankees’ lineup.
Sandoval faced just one batter over the minimum while striking out six over the course of the first four. To get through four, Sandoval needed just 44 pitches, and astonishingly, 52% of them were swings and misses or designated strikes. On 11 pitches in the third inning, Sandoval retired Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Andrew Benintendi.