Shohei Ohtani launches 3-run HR in first home at-bat for Angels

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018
ESPN

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sho Time is off to a powerful start in Anaheim.

Shohei Ohtani hit his first major league home run in his first home at-bat, and he took a curtain call after his three-run homer Tuesday night in the Los Angeles Angels' 13-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Ohtani capped a six-run first inning by lifting a ball out to center on a 2-2 count against Josh Tomlin. The Japanese two-way player got the silent treatment from teammates when he returned to the dugout -- but not from the crowd. After players broke character and jumped around Ohtani to celebrate, Mike Trout pointed to the field and instructed Ohtani to take a curtain call.

"It obviously felt really, really good," Ohtani said through an interpreter while drying himself as he spoke to the crowd after teammate Kole Calhoun surprised him with a bucket of icy water after the game.

Ohtani is the first player since the American League adopted the designated hitter in 1973 to start a game in a season as a pitcher and homer in another game as DH, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The 23-year-old added two singles to end up with three hits, including a hard line drive in the eighth inning. Statcast measured the latter single at 112.8 mph, the hardest hit ball by an Angels player this season.

"Shohei put on a display of the type of talent he has tonight,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He showed the power. He showed the ability to just square up a baseball. And he had a great night for us.''

Ohtani's shot would have been a grand slam, except Calhounhad scored on a wild pitch earlier in the at-bat. Ohtani finished the night 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the win.

"After getting my first hit out of the way, I felt more comfortable and relaxed,'' Ohtani said. "And everyone around me was doing a good job too, making it tough for the pitcher. That was a factor.''

Ohtani will pitch against theOakland Athleticson Sunday in his first start at home.

"It's a lot of fun to see something like that from a guy that has a huge spotlight on him and obviously doesn't let it bother him, comes out and plays extremely well the first week of the season,'' Angels infielderIan Kinslersaid.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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