The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of their three-game series by a score of 11-3 thanks in part to a three-hit, five-RBI performance from Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels did their damage in bunches on Monday, scoring three runs in the fourth and sixth inning, as well as five in the seventh. Their damage was backed by home runs from Mike Trout, Jared Walsh and another multi-home run game from Ohtani, which gave L.A. their fourth player to have a multi-homer game this season.
As the game headed to the bottom of the seventh inning, Rays reliever Calvin Faucher was making his major league debut. He walked Trout to keep the bases loaded before Ohtani slugged a 3-1 slider for his first career grand slam.
THE FIRST CAREER GRAND SLAM FOR SHOHEI OHTANI! pic.twitter.com/hdg16Co54L
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 10, 2022
This was Ohtani’s first grand slam at any level of professional baseball, including both MLB and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
His five RBI performance matched a career-high when he notched the same total on Sept. 7, 2019, against the Chicago White Sox and for the Nippon-Ham Fighters on March 29, 2016.
The 2021 American League MVP had an uncharacteristically slow start but held the belief that it was only a small sample size to start the year, echoed by Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reed, and he has completely flipped around his production at the plate.
Since April 26, Ohtani has posted a 159 wRC+, a 1.171 on-base plus slugging, while boosting his average exit velocity to 94.6 mph.
Trout and Ohtani go back-to-back
Not to be lost in the fireworks with Ohtani’s career game, was a continuation of Trout’s success at the plate thus far.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with Jalen Beeks on the mound for the Rays, Trout and Ohtani slugged back-to-back home runs for the Angels, the first time the Halos hit consecutive homers in 2022.
This extended the Angels’ lead to 6-1 and put the exclamation on a spectacular showing from manager Joe Maddon’s club against one of their toughest matchups of the season.
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