SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports & # 39; Steve Gardner breaks down which teams are on fire and which teams are not doing well.
USA TODAY Sport
Shohei Ohtani's fourth-highest league start saw no dominant dominance or headlines on Tuesday night.
Instead, the two-star star of the Los Angeles Angels often got into trouble, but also found ways to beat themselves out. His dominance got his team in position to win, but his inefficiency did not let him finish the job.
Ohtani struggled with every inning against the Houston Astros, giving a one-run advantage over his bullpen in the sixth inning. This lead was lost on a Brian McCann two-run homer, but the Angels rallied 8: 7 and took the Astros to the top of AL West.
Ohtani defeated seven Astros in 5 1/3 innings, including reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve twice. He reached a career high – 98 – and on his last he threw a 98-mph fastball past Alex Bregman.
Ohtani then allowed himself a slight joy, knowing that his night was over and that he would make a 4-3 lead to the bullpen.
But assistant Jose Alvarez gave Brian McCann the go-ahead for a two-round and shot every shot Ohtani had for his third win of the year.
It was an exhausting journey to this moment.
Ohtani ran five Astros, one more than the sum of his first three starts, and harbored trouble from the moment explosive jumper George Springer hit a first-ining single.
But Ohtani came to the conclusion that inning ended with a strike-out double game and Carlos Correa froze on a nice slider when Martin Maldonado Springer tried to steal second base.
In five of his six innings, Ohtani tackled the batter, but he tried to escape two jam games and beat others.
The Astros usually land a few strikes, however, and Tuesday was no different.
Ohtani's pass to Marwin Gonzalez in the fifth preceded a two-run homer by Derek Fisher, which reduced the Angels lead to 4-3. When Springer followed with another single, Ohtani did not seem to be searching for the game.
But he came back to beat Altuve, beating 101 mph twice in the inning and reaching the sixth inning in his four starts for the third time.
He would not get away, though, and a Night of Plots on Court Night eventually forced him to make some outs earlier than the angels needed.
While the lineup is mostly meaningless at this season, the Astros at this time last season have been four games up in the AL West, never finishing second after April 12th on the way to a championship.
This year will be different.
Andrelton Simmons responded to McCann's go-ahead Homer with a towering three-shot recording, his second in the game, and five enthusiasts absorbed the 13 outs that Ohtani failed to absorb.