The Los Angeles Angels faced the Oakland Athletics in a doubleheader on Saturday and although the first game didn’t go well with a 4-3 loss, they responded in a big way during the second game backed by Shohei Ohtani and Taylor Ward.
Ohtani only had one hit in five at-bats, but his lone hit was a two-run home run to extend the Angels’ lead to 8-1. More importantly, that long ball was the 100th of his career.
This also made Ohtani just the third native of Japan to collect 100 home runs in a career. He joined Hideki Matsui (175 HR) and Ichiro Suzuki (117) as the only players from Japan to reach the mark.
With just 444 career games, he reached the mark faster than any other Japanese player in ML history.
SHOHEI OHTANI!!!!! pic.twitter.com/JtYoHbtaS1
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 15, 2022
Although Ohtani had a slow start to his 2022 season, he has heated up over the past few weeks and has once again been one of the top hitters in baseball.
He has also had a knack for making history since his debut. Two weeks ago Ohtani became the first starting pitcher to bat within the top four spots of a lineup at Fenway since Babe Ruth hit fourth on Sept. 20, 1919.
And last week, Ohtani also slugged his first career grand slam at any professional level, including at Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
This season, the 2021 American League MVP is batting .255/.314/.454 with seven home runs, a .335 wOBA and 124 wRC+ in 153 plate appearances.
Prior to Ohtani hitting his 100th homer, Ward also continued his white-hot hitting. Locked in a 1-1 tie in the second inning, Ward hit a grand slam that put the game out of reach for the A’s. It was his eighth home run of the season.
Additionally, Ward is the first Angels right fielder with two grand slams in a single season since Vlad Guerrero in 2005.
The 28-year-old has had an unreal start to his season which was fueled by a change in his approach at the plate. In 107 plate appearances, Ward is batting .384/.505/.744 with a .530 wOBA and 264 wRC+.
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