OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani came to the Coliseum on Saturday morning after pitching a night earlier and declared himself ready to get back into the batter’s box as designated hitter.
It even left his manager a little awestruck.
The two-way star from Japan hit a key two-run single, Alex Cobb struck out eight over seven scoreless innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-0 on Saturday.
“He wasn’t actually as sore as normal. Maybe tomorrow he might be sorer. He was OK. That always amazes,” manager Joe Maddon said.
“To pitch whatever he did, how many pitches he threw yesterday, almost 100, and with the velocity he has and the split that he had. To say that he felt really good today is kind of phenomenal. You see the way he swung the bat, you see the stolen base, just a different animal, man, it’s fun to work with him.”
Cobb (3-2) allowed three hits and walked two facing Oakland for the first time since 2018 while with Baltimore. He improved to 5-3 over 11 career starts against the A’s, with Oakland manager Bob Melvin noting, “He just had us off balance the whole game.”
“Everything he did was first-rate,” Maddon said, adding Cobb’s fastball was strongest late in the game. “You could see his demeanor, his calmness when things got hairy just a couple times.”
Los Angeles stopped a two-game skid after dropping the first two games of the series and snapped Oakland’s three-game winning streak. Ohtani took the loss Friday night despite holding the A’s to three hits in six-plus innings.
The Angels went ahead on David Fletcher’s grounder in the fifth, when the Angels scored four unearned runs following one of three wild pitches by Frankie Montas. Ohtani’s single made it 3-0.
Kean Wong’s two-out double in the sixth chased Montas (5-5), who allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked one.
Tony Kemp got caught off second base on Matt Olson’s popup for a key Angels double play in the fourth after third baseman Anthony Rendon left the bag open hustling into foul territory to make the catch.
“Just too aggressive right there,” Kemp said.
Cobb said he should have been covering third but “got caught sleeping” and “just became a fan, I started watching it” — but he did make eye contact with Kemp.
“Looked at him, he looked at me and I think that’s when he knew it was over,” Cobb said.
Los Angeles turned another double play in the fifth.
Maddon can’t wait to get star center fielder Mike Trout back on the field.
Trout is attending home games for now as he recovers from a strained right calf that he injured last week and will keep the three-time AL MVP out six to eight weeks.
“He’s a great cheerleader. After we win he’s in the line all the time,” Maddon said. “He attends the meetings, he’s doing everything right. Our goal is to stay in the hunt somehow until he returns. Believe me, a lot of time spent mentally trying to understand how we maintain with this group here and Houston and a lot of the good teams that we’re going to be playing.”
Angels: C Max Stassi (concussion) and RHP Chris Rodriguez (inflammation in his pitching shoulder) each made rehab appearances Friday with Triple-A Salt Lake. Stassi was 2 for 3 with a double and RBI while catching five innings. Rodriguez started and pitched one scoreless inning with a walk.
Athletics: CF Ramón Laureano missed his second straight game with tightness in his right groin. “I would say he’s had some improvement, not enough to where we’re comfortable running him out there right now. Who knows, it may be another day, I’m not sure,” Melvin said. “Literally a day-to-day situation. This early in the season, how much he means to the team, we don’t want to put him in a position to go out there and re-injure this thing, especially at the pace that he plays. We’re going to be careful with him.” … LHP Jesús Luzardo will return Sunday from a broken pinkie in his pitching hand that he injured playing video games. “He’ll pitch out of the bullpen,” Melvin said.
Angels LHP José Quintana (0-3, 7.92 ERA), a 13-game winner in both 2018 and ’19 with the Cubs and seeking his first victory in two seasons, pitches Sunday after being pushed back a day when Ohtani was scratched Thursday because of a delay getting to the ballpark.
Los Angeles doesn’t have far to go next, starting a two-game interleague series at San Francisco with Monday’s Memorial Day matinee.
The A’s counter in the series finale with LHP Cole Irvin (3-6, 3.92), who is 0-3 with a 5.24 ERA over his last four starts — one off his career-high losing streak.
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