Recap: Mike Trout Exits Early, Shohei Ohtani Takes Home Run Lead As Angels Defeat Indians
Shohei Ohtani, Jose Iglesias, 2021 Season
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels were without Mike Trout for a majority of the night after an early exit due to a calf strain, but that was no issue for Shohei Ohtani. He took sole control of the Major League home run title, hitting his 13th as a part of a 5-run second inning that vaulted L.A. to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the series opener.

Patrick Sandoval got off to a bumpy start, giving up a home run on the very first pitch of the night to Cesar Hernandez. The Angels trailed 1-0 before a second pitch was thrown. Sandoval allowed a walk to the next batter as well. However, a lineout, a strikeout and a caught baserunner ended the inning before any more damage could be done.

Sam Hentges, the pitcher for the Indians, got off to a wild start of his own on the mound. After striking out Taylor Ward, he walked Ohtani and Trout, then allowed them to advance to second and third with a wild pitch. Anthony Rendon brought Ohtani home via the groundout, and the Angels had tied things up 1-1 by the end of the first.

At the top of the second, Trout was removed from the game due to a right calf strain. He was replaced by Juan Lagares in center field and Jose Rojas replaced Lagares in left field.

In the bottom of the second, Phil Gosselin led things off with a double, then reached third on a single by Jose Iglesias. Lagares quickly made use of his base runners, hitting a two-RBI double to left field to make it 3-1 with no outs.

Ohtani, in his second at-bat of the night, crushed a high fastball for a three-run home run, bringing home Lagares and Ward. The Angels extended their lead to 6-1 while still in the bottom of the second. Rendon and Jared Walsh each got one more hit, but the inning ended when Gosselin — the leadoff man in the second — grounded out.

The Indians put a run on the board in the third thanks to a double by Hernandez and a single by Jose Ramirez. This was all they were able to get, however, making it 6-2.

After a quiet fourth inning from both sides, there was some action in the top of the fifth. Sandoval was removed from the game after giving up back-to-back singles with no outs. Tony Watson was the first man out of the bullpen in a potentially dangerous situation.

He proved he was up to the task, striking out the side and keeping the runners stranded in their place. It remained 6-2 going to the bottom of the fifth.

Hunter Strickland came into the game in the sixth inning for his home debut at Angel Stadium. He then immediately gave up a lead-off home run to Franmil Reyes to make it 6-3. He would be removed and replaced by Steve Cishek after facing the minimum three batters. Cishek made quick work of the Indians, getting three outs without giving up a run.

The bottom of the seventh gave the Halos a chance to extend their lead. Singles by Rojas and Rendon — and a double by Walsh — scored one run before an out was recorded, putting the Angels lead at 7-3. Despite having runners on second and third with no outs, the Angels were unable to do further damage in the inning.

Mike Mayers was the Angels pitcher in the eighth inning, and he allowed a one-out solo home run to Harold Ramirez. The Angels still held a 7-4 lead. Mayers got out of the inning without giving up anything else, leaving the Halos just three outs away from a victory.

Raisel Iglesias was the sixth bullpen pitcher for the Angels as he came in for a save opportunity up three runs. He was quickly able to strike out the side and get the save as the Angels won 7-4.

Looking ahead

The Angels will face off against the Indians two more times, including a pitching start for Ohtani on Wednesday. After that, they’ll play a doubleheader on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins as a make-up for the two lost games from April due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their organization.

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