BOSTON — Shohei Ohtani put on quite a show in his first outing at Fenway Park, the ballpark that Babe Ruth once called home.
Ohtani struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings in the Angels’ 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday afternoon.
Ohtani also hit two balls off the fence, both of which went for singles.
On the mound, Ohtani was as in control as he’s ever been in the big leagues. He threw 82 percent of his 99 pitches for strikes, which was a career high. Ohtani, who cut his season ERA to 3.08, did not walk a batter.
He also got the Red Sox to swing and miss at 29 of his pitches, which was also a career-high. Called strikes and whiffs accounted for 46 percent of his pitches, which was nearly the career-high 47 percent he reached in his dominant April 20 start at Houston. The major league average is 29 percent.
It’s also worth noting that Ohtani’s two best starts of the season, including the six scoreless innings he pitched against the Astros, have came at Houston and at Boston, a couple of notorious hitters’ parks.
Both times Ohtani helped the Angels to win the rubber games of series. The Angels had not won a series in Boston since 2017.
While the Angels blew out the Astros with a big first inning, this time they waited until the seventh before scoring their first run.
Jared Walsh pulled a two-run homer just inside the Pesky Pole to put the Angels up 2-0 in the seventh, and they exploded for five runs in the eighth. Brandon Marsh homered in the ninth.
The late outburst made for a more comfortable finish to what had been an exceptional display of Ohtani’s ability to deliver in clutch moments on the mound.
Ohtani gave up six hits, but each time he was threatened, he cranked it up to escape.
In the third inning, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both poked opposite field ground balls through the Angels shifted infield for hits. Ohtani then struck out J.D. Martinez on four fastballs.
Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the fifth with a double. Ohtani then got Kevin Plawecki on a fly ball, thanks to a sliding catch by right fielder Taylor Ward, and he struck out Trevor Story and Devers.
Ohtani fanned Story on four pitches, getting him on a slider, and then he punched out Devers on five pitches, including his first 100 mph fastball of the year. After Devers looked at a splitter for the third strike, Ohtani screamed as he walked off the mound.
Ohtani gave up a one-out double to Martinez in the sixth. Alex Verdugo grounded out and then Franchy Cordero hit a soft liner, which leaping shortstop Andrew Velazquez snagged.
In the seventh, Ohtani gave up a one-out single to Bradley, and then he got Plawecki on a popup before striking out Story for the fourth time, finishing him with four straight fastballs.