Southern California

Shohei Ohtani's Pinch-Hit Homer Lifts Angels Over Dodgers in Freeway Series Finale

An injured Shohei Ohtani hit a game-winning, pinch-hit home run, and the Angels came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3, to win the Freeway Series in Anaheim on Sunday.

The Japanese Kirk Gibson? 

An injured Shohei Ohtani hit a game-winning, pinch-hit home run, and the Angels came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3, to win the Freeway Series in Anaheim on Sunday.

Following a split of the first two games that saw both teams battle in two low-scoring, close games, Ohtani provided Halo fans with a moment they'll remember forever in the finale.

For context, Ohtani hit a foul ball off his right knee in the ninth inning on Saturday, and was listed as day-to-day by Angels' manager Mike Scioscia entering Sunday's contest. 

"Shoehi had treatment all morning and said he felt good by the second inning and was available to do anything," said Scioscia after the game. "That was a clutch hit no doubt."


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With the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Scioscia sent Ohtani to the plate to pinch-hit against right-handed reliever, J.T. Chargois.

"We saw there was a righty warming up in the bullpen," continued Scioscia. "We needed to score and that seemed like a great spot for him, and he definitely came through."

In what will go down as a much less dramatic version of Gibson's Home Run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, as Ohtani san took Chargois deep on a 96MPH fastball that traveled 443-feet for the game-winning home run. 

Ohtani slowly limped around the bases as the fans in attendance wearing red went wild for his first career pinch-hit home run.

"It was very hard for me to run all out, so I was glad I was able to hit the home run," said Ohtani through a translator. "It was huge we were able to come from behind. We took the lead and never looked back."

Ohtani put the punctuation mark on a four-run rally for the Angels after Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the top of the second.

"He threw me a slider [curveball] in the dirt earlier in the at-bat and my teammates advanced to the bases," said Puig of the at-bat. "After that I was trying to hit a line drive to score them. He threw me something, a slider? I don't know which pitch, and I was able to make contact for a home run."

The three-run blast was Puig's 11th longball of the season, but it would be the only runs Los Angeles would score in the game as Andrew Heaney and company closed the door on their Southern California rivals.

Puig would later leave the game in the fifth inning with a right oblique injury and will likely go on the disabled list. 

"On the first swing I felt something, but not so much, and on the second swing I tried to get to that fastbal and that's when I felt it more," said Puig of the oblique injury. "I feel bad because I can't help my team win right now."

The injury could be devastating for the Dodgers as Puig is batting .348 with 13 runs, five doubles, seven homers and 18 RBI in his last 18 road games.

"When you're talking about an oblique, rib cage, or something like that, we're almost certain it's a DL situation," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "We're going to get a scan tomorrow in Los Angeles, and we'll know more than."

Heaney (5-6), earned the win, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and a career-high tying 10 strikeouts in seven strong innings.

"Andrew was terrific," said Scioscia of his starter. "A couple walks and a breaking ball to Puig over the plate, but Andrew didn't make many mistakes. He pitched a strong seven innings."

Heaney became the first Halos pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts in back-to-back games since Matt Shoemaker did it in May of 2016. 

"When I have all three of my pitches working I have a good mix," said Heany of his strikeout mark. "Especially when I'm throwing my slider for strikes, I feel like I can get ahead with any of my pitches. Having all three pitches is definitely key for me."

In his last seven starts at the Big A, Heaney is 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 46 strikeouts. 

Some Dodger fans might remember that Heaney was briefly a member of the Boys in Blue when Los Angeles traded for Heaney in a seven-player deal in December of 2014.

However, just hours later, Heaney was sent to Anaheim for Howie Kendrick.

Alex Wood was given a three-run lead for the Dodgers, but the Angels chipped away at the left-hander, scoring two runs on a single by Justin Upton in the bottom of the third inning.

"I fell behind and got in a situation where you can play it safe or you could probably throw another pitch or two and see if works out," Wood said of the at-bat to Upton. "We went the safe route and threw him a sinker down and away and he took a single like a professional hitter would. I don't feel any regrets about that pitch."

Three innings later, Albert Pujols crushed a curveball from Wood into the rock waterfall in centerfield for the game-tying homer.

"I tried to slide him a breaking ball and I hung it, and he put a good swing on it," said Wood of the pitch to Pujols. "Just one bad one to Pujols."

Wood did not factor in the decision, and remains undefeated over his last five starts, surrendering three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. 

"I didn't think I was very good tonight," admitted Wood after the game. "I battled through, but I wish my stuff was a little sharper because I probably would have gone back out there for the seventh and we wouldn't end up losing the game. That one's on me."

Justin Anderson pitched the ninth inning and recorded his fourth save of the season.

The Angels have won eight of their last 12 games against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers will travel south to San Diego where they will face the Padres in a four-game series starting on Monday. Clayton Kershaw gets the call in Game 1, opposite RHP Luis Perdomo. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 

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