Two-way star Shohei Ohtani hit his MLB-leading 23rd home run June 17, becoming the second Japanese to log 150 homers in the big leagues after Hideki Matsui, as the Los Angeles Angels took a 10-9 walk-off loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Ohtani crushed a first-pitch changeup off Taylor Clarke in the seventh inning over the center-field wall at Kauffman Stadium, the solo shot giving the Angels an 8-2 lead.
“I’m glad to have reached the milestone. I’ll be doing my best to hit the 151st tomorrow,” said Ohtani after his homer, which put him four clear at the top of the American League. Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who hit an AL record 62 last year, is in second place.
Matsui, who had 175 MLB home runs mostly for the Yankees during his playing days in the United States, lauded his compatriot who is emulating him at the plate while also excelling on the mound.
“No one’s surprised anymore by what Ohtani does,” the 49-year-old said June 17 in New York. “It was impossible during our time. He’s doing something amazing that is almost unimaginable.”
A day after hitting his 23rd home run, Ohtani homered again, leading the Angels to a 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He also extended his hitting streak to 15 games. (Kyodo)