Shohei Ohtani’s versatility was on display again.
The two-way star on Sunday launched a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning that gave the Los Angeles Angels a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bothered by a sore knee, Ohtani drove his first career pinch-hit homer to center field, breaking a 3-3 tie. It also was the Angels’ first pinch-hit home run of the season.
“It was going to be hard for me to run all out, so I was glad I was able to hit the home run and not have to run too hard,” Ohtani said through a translator.
He has got a sense of humor, too.
Albert Pujols also went deep for the Angels, tying the score at 3-3 in the sixth inning.
Justin Upton had a two-run single.
Andrew Heaney allowed only three hits and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings to help the Angels take two of three at home in the series.
He gave up a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig, who later left with an oblique injury.
“After that inning [when Puig homered], he could tell I was pretty hot,” Heaney said of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “He said: ‘Hey, keep ’em at three. We’re going to score some runs and win this game.’”
Thanks to Ohtani.
The touted Japanese rookie, unavailable to pitch because of an elbow injury, fouled a ball off his knee one day earlier and experienced soreness.
He was not in the starting lineup and it was unclear if he would be able to come off the bench, but he did and Ohtani hit a 2-2 pitch from reliever J.T. Chargois (2-2) for his seventh home run of the season.
Ohtani was walking around before and during the game and felt good. He told Scioscia in the second inning he was available to play in whatever role was needed.
“That’s obviously a clutch hit, and certainly at the time of the game, and we’re a little thin on pitching, so to have a chance to get the lead and hold it, which we did, was huge,” Scioscia said. “Shohei had treatment all morning. He said he felt good [by] the second inning.”
Puig homered in the second after Heaney (5-6) walked two batters in the inning.
The left-hander was dominant after that.
“That’s been the story of my season,” Heaney said. “I’ve given up some big, crooked numbers early in games, and then I’ve been able to settle down and give us a chance to win. I’d love to not do that. I’d rather just give up one here or there.”
Justin Anderson allowed a single in the ninth, but got Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play for his fourth save.
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