Sports

‘Gifted’ Ohtani homers off Barnes in Angels’ win

BOSTON — Shohei Ohtani stepped to the plate, trying to keep his slumping team in the game.

He did more than that, delivering what he called the most important home run of his four-season career in the majors.

Ohtani hit a two-out, two-run drive in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied past the Boston Red Sox 6-5 Sunday, ending a four-game losing streak.

“Coming off a losing streak and the first two games of the series, the way we lost, it wasn’t a good way to lose,” Ohtani said through a team interpreter. “So, it was huge for us and the team to come up with this. We showed that we can beat any team.”

Boston closer Matt Barnes (1-1) retired the first two batters in the ninth before giving up a bloop single to Mike Trout.

Ohtani followed with his major league high-tying 12th home run, tucked just inside the Pesky Pole in right field. It was Ohtani’s second homer of the series and stopped Boston’s three-game winning streak.

“I personally think he’s the most physically gifted baseball player that we’ve ever seen,” Barnes said.

“I don’t know that you’re ever going to see someone who can throw 100, 101 and hit the ball 600 feet. He’s a special player and incredibly talented. Hopefully, he stays healthy and has a long career,” he said.

It’s been a long time since the Angels have enjoyed that kind of late drama. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the last Angels player to hit a go-ahead home run with the Angels down to their final out was Hank Conger on Aug. 31, 2013. It’s just the fourth such homer by an Angels player over the past 20 seasons.

Raisel Iglesias (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Mike Mayers recorded his second save of the season.

Drew Butera‘s two-run single capped a four-run second off Nathan Eovaldi that put the Angels ahead 4-0.

Rafael Devers hit a three-run drive and Kevin Plawecki hit his first homer in a four-run fifth that gave Boston a 5-4 lead.

Eovaldi allowed four runs with six strikeouts in five innings. Angels starter Jose Quintana gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven.

Ohtani’s next pitching start has been pushed back a day, to Tuesday against Cleveland, because of fatigue. The Angels will travel back home and open a 10-game homestand Monday against those Indians.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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