ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Two-way rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani got a new experience in the majors — as a pinch-hitter.
By time Ohtani grounded out in the ninth inning against Bartolo Colon, the Los Angeles Angels had already scored all of their runs in what would soon become an 11-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
“Good to get him off the bench, because when he’s available that’s something he might eventually do, is pinch hit,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “So it’s good to get him out there, and just get him acclimated to it.”
In the Angels’ first home series last week, Ohtani homered in three consecutive games before pitching seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and allowing only one hit. Scioscia said the 23-year-old from Japan will be the designated hitter in the series finale against the Rangers on Wednesday.
Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons each homered, and Albert Pujols had two more hits in his push to 3,000 before Ohtani got his first at-bat against the Rangers after not playing the series opener.
The Angels, who went ahead to stay with a three-run first, improved to 9-3 for the first time since 1982. They lead the majors with their 79 runs, 128 hits and 20 home runs.
“It’s fun, fun to be a part of,” Trout said. “We take pride in just passing the baton and if there’s runners on base, we try to drive them in.”
Trout’s fourth homer of the season was a 441-foot solo drive that hit high above the Angels bullpen in left-center in the second inning. Simmons led off the next inning with his first homer to make it 5-1 against Martin Perez (1-1).
Pujols has 2,983 career hits after his two singles.
Tyler Skaggs (2-0) struck out seven while allowing one run and throwing 114 pitches in five innings. The lefty allowed five hits and walked four.
“In the words of my friend, it was effectively awful,” said Skaggs, who refused to say who told him that. “Not going to name names, but it perfectly describes the outing.”
After Perez retired the first two batters in the game, five straight Angels reached base. The first run scored on a wild pitch before Jefry Marte and Chris Young had consecutive RBI singles.
Perez allowed eight runs and nine hits and was done after walking the first two batters in the fourth.
“I think my stuff, it was there,” Perez said. “I was just trying to throw a strike and I can’t. Just one of those days of trying to do your best but you never get good results back. Not one of the best games.”
Angels: 2B Ian Kinsler (groin) is expected to be activated from the disabled list for Thursday’s series opener at Kansas City. … LHP Andrew Heaney, on the DL because of left elbow inflammation, felt good following a bullpen session Monday and is expected to make his season debut Thursday or Friday against the Royals.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor (left hamstring strain) and RHP Doug Fister (right hip strain) were put on the 10-day DL after both aggravated injuries in the series opener Monday. Odor is expected to be out three weeks, and Fister will be out two to three weeks.
Beltre had two hits to increase his career total to 3,062, which is 23rd on the career list after breaking a tie with Craig Biggio. Next is Cap Anson with 3,081. … Colon threw three innings in his second relief appearance in three days, and only 11th in his 21 MLB seasons. He will be starting again when Fister’s turn in the rotation comes up.
“Yeah, Sunday will be on his regular rest. So that would be as if he started tonight and he’d be on regular rest,” manager Jeff Banister said. “A little tune up and able to go.”
The Rangers turned three double plays, one started by Colon without catching the ball to end the seventh. Pujols hit a hard liner up the middle. Colon reached up over his head, and the ball ricocheted off his glove in the air to second baseman Jurickson Profar, who caught the ball to retire Pujols and then threw to first to double up a baserunner.
Jaime Barria, a 21-year-old right-hander who was pitching in the Class A California League a year ago, is set to make his major league debut for the Angels. Ohtani will DH against a lefty for the first time when Los Angeles goes for a series sweep at Texas against Matt Moore (0-2, 11.05 ERA).
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