PHOENIX (AP) — Shohei Ohtani looked hurt, hobbling around home plate after fouling a ball off the inside of his right knee.
Turns out there wasn’t much wrong. In fact, the two-way star just got stronger.
Ohtani struck out eight, hit two doubles at the plate and pushed through an injury scare to lead the Los Angeles Angels past the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings on Friday night.
“When he’s faced with a dilemma, he turns up the dial,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Love it. He knows exactly what he’s doing at all times, I mean exactly.”
Max Stassi’s RBI groundout scored Jared Walsh in the top of the 10th to put the Angels ahead for good. Extra innings were needed after Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar hit a two-out, tying homer off Raisel Iglesias (4-2) in the ninth.
Alex Claudio earned his first save of the season by getting the final out when Stephen Vogt struck out on a check swing with two on. Arizona lost its eighth in a row.
It was another big night for Ohtani following a few worrisome moments in the third inning.
Ohtani — who was batting second — fell to his knees and grimaced in pain after the foul ball that caromed hard off his knee. He eventually got up and limped around for a few minutes as he talked with the team’s training staff.
The 26-year-old stayed in the game and a few pitches later lined an RBI double to right center that came off the bat at 114.9 miles per hour. He also threw a fastball that hit 99.6 mph in the bottom half of the inning.
“It’s pretty stiff right now, but during the game I don’t feel like it affected me too much,” Ohtani said.
Added Maddon: “Pretty much a brilliant night for Shohei.”
Ohtani gave up two runs on five hits and two walks in five innings. He ran into trouble on the mound in the fifth with runners on first and second with one out.
The right-hander balked twice in the span of a few pitches, which brought home Josh Rojas. Ohtani looked like he got the third out of the inning when he struck out Escobar, but the pitch was in the dirt and skipped past catcher Kurt Suzuki. Escobar was able to make it to first while Ketel Marte scored.
Ohtani exited with a 3-2 lead, then moved to play right field. He added a double in the seventh to push Justin Upton to third base. Upton later scored on a wild pitch to give the Angels a 5-4 lead.
The Diamondbacks tied the game at 4 in the sixth after Rojas’ RBI single scored Nick Ahmed. Arizona lost despite outhitting Los Angeles 10-9.
“We just couldn’t get that big knock,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “There was a lot of traffic out there today.”
Arizona has lost 31 of its last 36. The team’s 20-44 record is the worst in the big leagues.
D-backs starter Merrill Kelly gave up three runs over five innings.
NOT SO FAST
Lovullo tried to remove left-handed pitcher Ryan Buchter after he faced just two batters in the 10th. The umpires didn’t catch the error at first but eventually forced Buchter to face Kurt Suzuki.
Buchter promptly hit Suzuki with his next pitch. Lovullo then replaced Buchter with righty Riley Smith (1-4).
Since 2020, MLB changed the rules that pitchers have to face at least three consecutive batters unless there’s an injury or the end of the inning.
THE DAY AFTER
The Diamondbacks were playing their first game since firing hitting coach Darnell Coles and assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske.
The team announced co-hitting coaches to replace the fired pair. Rick Short was promoted from Triple-A Reno and Drew Hedman was Arizona’s run production coordinator.
The D-backs came into the game batting .231 and scored just 12 runs over the previous six-game road trip.
MORE PITCHER PAIN
Kelly had his own injury scare in the fifth inning when he took a line drive off his left shoulder that came off Ohtani’s bat at 108.7 mph.
In a stroke of good fortune for the D-backs, the ball bounced off Kelly’s arm directly to first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who tagged Ohtani for the out. Kelly stayed in the game and got the next batter, Anthony Rendon, to pop up for the third out.
Angels: Suzuki left the game in the 10th after getting hit by a pitch for the second time on Friday. He was hit on the left hamstring. He was replaced by pinch-runner Griffin Canning, who is usually a pitcher. Maddon said he thought Suzuki would be fine and that the pitch caught him in an awkward spot behind the knee.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zac Gallen (elbow sprain) recently threw a bullpen and is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday. … LHP Madison Bumgarner (shoulder inflammation) has resumed playing catch. He hasn’t pitched since June 2 after being removed after two innings against the Mets.
The Diamondbacks will send LHP Caleb Smith (2-2, 3.14 ERA) to the mound on Saturday to face Angels RHP Alex Cobb (4-2, 4.24).
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