Shohei Ohtani got four hits in the past three games against the Tigers. All four were homers, including a two-run shot in the fifth inning Sunday that put him tied atop the majors with 23 this season.
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So when the Angels’ fearsome slugger came up again in the 10th inning as the potential tying run, Detroit manager AJ Hinch wasn’t at all disappointed when Michael Fulmer walked him on four cautious pitches.
“That’s a dangerous at-bat because Ohtani has got one thing on his mind, and Michael wasn’t going to make a mistake,” Hinch said.
The Tigers cut down on their mistakes and got a timely bit of hitting from Daz Cameron to escape Angel Stadium with a winning road trip despite Ohtani’s power surge.
Ohtani hit his sixth homer in six games for the Angels, but Cameron hit a two-run single in the 10th and the Tigers avoided a four-game series sweep with a 5-3 victory over Los Angeles.
Ohtani’s homer set a career-high and tied Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead. The 414-foot shot to center off Casey Mize was his fourth homer against Detroit since he announced Friday that he will compete in the Home Run Derby at All-Star weekend.
“If you look at it, it’s not a bad pitch,” said Mize, who threw five innings of eight-hit ball. “Caught the bottom of the zone. … I think he was looking for that (slider). I think if I bury it, that at-bat ends differently, but it caught the bottom of the zone, and he’s really strong.”
Ohtani wasn’t impressed with himself, however.
“My first two at-bats weren’t that good, so if I can have better at-bats, my overall condition will get better as well,” he said through a translator.
Miguel Cabrera had a two-run single in the fifth for the Tigers, who finished their road trip at 4-3 despite getting outscored 26-11 in the first three games in Anaheim.
Raisel Iglesias (4-3) pitched a perfect ninth, but the Angels closer gave up Cabrera’s weak infield hit and a walk in the 10th before Cameron’s soft single through a drawn-in infield.
Cameron came through on Father’s Day with his father, MLB veteran Mike Cameron, sitting close to the Tigers’ on-deck circle along with other family members. Daz said his father good-naturedly heckled him during the game, and they bumped air knuckles after his decisive hit.
“That was definitely something I’ll never forget,” Cameron said.
Jose Cisnero (1-4) pitched two hitless innings of relief for Detroit. Fulmer got his sixth save despite walking Ohtani with two outs, striking out Taylor Ward to end it.READ MORE: Michigan Ballot Initiative Aims To Protect Abortion Rights
Jared Walsh homered in his third consecutive game for the Angels, who took just their fifth loss in 16 games. With a rare quiet day from their surging offense outside of its two homers, the Halos failed to get two games above .500 for the first time since April 21.
Dylan Bundy yielded four hits and three walks with just one earned run while pitching into the fifth inning, but the Angels’ 2020 ace continued to pitch at a fraction of his former effectiveness.
“The stuff was moving the way I wanted it to, so it was a step in the direction I want to go,” Bundy said. “With this (Angels) lineup, they can do a lot of things, so just keeping this team in the game is my goal.”
DEFENSE GOOD AND BAD
David Fletcher and José Iglesias turned a spectacular double play in the second inning to get Bundy out of a bases-loaded jam. Fletcher then made an ugly error on what should have been an inning-ending groundout in the third, allowing Jonathan Schoop to score Detroit’s first run from second base.
Walsh evened it in the fourth with a 436-foot shot to right for his 18th homer of the season.
Ohtani hit the 70th homer of his major league career. He surpassed his previous single-season high of 22, reached in his AL Rookie of the Year season in 2018 (in 97 fewer plate appearances) and in 2016 with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan.
Ohtani also extended his major league lead with his 41st extra-base hit.
Ohtani has homered in five of the Angels’ past six games — and in the sixth, he pitched six innings of one-run ball to earn the mound victory.
Tigers: Detroit requested unconditional release waivers on C Wilson Ramos, who had been out for four weeks with a back strain.
Angels: Justin Upton got a rest day. He is batting .333 with six homers and 15 RBIs since moving to the leadoff spot in late May.
Tigers: After a day off, the improving Tarik Skubal (4-7, 4.36 ERA) takes the mound in Detroit to open a two-game interleague series against St. Louis.
Angels: After a day off, Andrew Heaney (4-4, 4.45 ERA) takes the Big A mound Tuesday to open a two-game interleague series against surprising San Francisco.
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