ANAHEIM (AP) — Shohei Ohtani struck out 11 while pitching three-hit ball into the seventh inning, and Zack Cozart got a walk-off RBI single in the Los Angeles Angels’ 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Chris Young was hit by a pitch from Zach Duke (2-2) leading off the ninth. After Martin Maldonado bunted Young to second, Cozart cracked his second game-ending hit of the season into left field, where Eddie Rosario couldn’t field it cleanly for a throw to the plate.
Although neither got a decision, two promising rookie pitchers put on a tantalizing duel at the Big A.
Ohtani was dominant again in his sixth big-league start, but the Angels’ two-way sensation was denied his fourth win when he left after walking Logan Morrison on nine pitches in the seventh. Reliever Cam Bedrosian promptly allowed two hits, including pinch-hitter Joe Mauer’s tying RBI single.
Fernando Romero pitched five innings of four-hit ball in his third big-league start for the Twins. The Dominican right-hander allowed his first career run in the fifth inning, but otherwise excelled against the Angels’ veteran lineup.
Minnesota then put four straight batters on base in the ninth inning, yet the Angels kept it tied.
After Ehire Adrianza was thrown out at the plate by Ian Kinsler while attempting to score from first on Robbie Grossman’s double, Blake Parker (1-1) got Brian Dozier to pop out with the bases loaded.
When Young and Cozart swiftly ended it, Parker got the win for throwing just one pitch.
Maldonado had two hits and a walk for the Angels, scoring the game’s first run on Justin Upton’s groundout in the fifth inning.
Romero’s career-opening scoreless streak ended at 15 2/3 innings when Upton beat out a potential double-play grounder in the fifth, but he struck out six while walking three.
Ohtani was making his first daytime home start since he took a perfect game into the seventh inning of a brilliant one-hit, 12-strikeout performance against Oakland on April 8. He was in top form on the mound yet again while throwing a career-high 103 pitches.
The Twins managed two short singles early on, but Ohtani also struck out five straight and nine of 12 batters during the first four innings, with his 99-mph fastball alternating with vicious breaking pitches.
Morrison got two hits and that key walk against Ohtani while the rest of Minnesota’s lineup struggled mightily against the Japanese star.
After Ohtani left to a standing ovation, Bedrosian blew the lead in two batters.
Angels reliever Keynan Middleton threw just 12 pitches in the eighth inning, heading to the dugout with a 1-1 count on Rosario. Middleton only returned from the disabled list last Thursday after sitting out with elbow inflammation.
IRON MAN 2
Mike Trout didn’t start for the first time this season, but the two-time AL MVP struck out looking as a pinch-hitter with two runners on in the seventh inning. He was on deck when Cozart ended it. Trout has played in all 39 games for the Angels, joining Upton in making an appearance every day so far this season.
Twins: Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.83 ERA) takes the mound when they return home for a makeup game against Seattle. The April 8 meeting was postponed by cold. The right-hander has 38 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings this season.
Angels: Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.78 ERA) is on the mound for the start of the Houston Astros’ first visit to Angel Stadium since winning the World Series. The Halos won two of three against their AL West rivals last month in Houston.
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