Anaheim, Calif. — Shuhei Ohtani left the mound with a sore finger for his third consecutive start Friday night.
With his Angels down in Los Angeles, and his future uncertain before the trade deadline, the two-way superstar struggles against an array of challenges tougher even than the cracked nail blister that keeps him from playing at his unique peak.
Ohtani allowed four earned runs on five hits and left the mound in the sixth inning shortly before Mauricio Dupont’s tiebreaker in the Houston Astros’ 7-5 victory over the Angels.
Ohtani (7-5) was pulled after walking Corey Julks to open the sixth, and conferring with the Angels coaching staff before walking out with those persistent minor hand problems. Otani’s final start before the All-Star break ended due to a blister on his fingertips, and he also dealt with a cracked nail last month.
“Most of the time, things didn’t turn out the way I wanted,” Otani said through his translator. “It was like this when I was on the mound. … I didn’t really think about when I had my next outing. I’d just go to the field, see where my finger was, and go from there.”
Otani said it was “hard to know” how severe this injury was.
“I’m frustrated to a certain extent,” Otani said. “Not just me, but I feel the whole team. I think it’s only normal when we don’t win games that frustration builds up.”
Otani, who allowed three walks and struck out seven, stayed in the game as a hitter and hit two singles at the plate, but his Angels lost a season-high six straight runs and 10 of 11.
“I just thought something wasn’t looking good in the sixth,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. “I saw something wasn’t right after he (Julks) walked in, so I wanted to check on him, and he kind of mentioned that the finger was a little sensitive. It didn’t open, it didn’t break or anything like that, but he decided it was ok to take it out on that.” the time “.
After receiving cheers and worldwide attention during the All-Star festivities in Seattle, Ohtani returned to action in Anaheim amid raging questions about his future in Orange County. The Halos’ pre-break slip reduced their playoff chances and made it more likely that they would consider trading Ohtani, who will be a free agent this winter.
“Looks like he wasn’t really himself tonight,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Ohtani. “I don’t know if that pimple still bothers him, but he didn’t throw a few pitches that he usually threw. Anytime you get a five-out from Ohtani, you did well. But he didn’t look like himself.”
After Ohtani left, reliever Jacob Webb allowed Dubon’s hit single and Jose Abreu’s RBI single. Then, the Astros held on to win the All-Star break by the defending World Series champion, Ryan Pressley bunting Ohtani as he bunted the side in the ninth for his 21st save.
Mickey Moniak had three hits and Taylor warded on the Angels, who pulled Luis Rengifo out of the game in the fifth inning shortly after the third baseman committed an error and then did not press to prevent Kyle Tucker from scoring from second. Renjevo is pulled out after a cryptic conversation with Nevin.
“There are certain things I will not tolerate,” Nevin said. “I didn’t think he did the best he could, and he knew exactly what we were talking about.”
Renjevo admitted his mistake after the game—as did Mike Moustakas, whose poor handling of a late-inning hit was before Dupont’s barbed run.
JP France yielded nine hits and had two outs while driving in Houston’s fifth. Phil Mattoon (2-2) had two wins in the fifth.
The Astros tied it in the fourth after loading the bases on a pinch hit and two walks off Otani. Then Alex Bregman and Tucker grounded in the fifth on the doubles to put Houston ahead.
Trey Cabbage made his major league debut as a pinch hitter with two runners in the Angels’ eighth. The 26-year-old was put into a power outfield on his first pitch and promptly pulled over for a pinch runner.
staying at home
Left-hander Framper Valdez said he chose to stay home from the All-Star festivities in Seattle because Astros owner Jim Crane and general manager Dana Brown decided they wouldn’t let him play. Through an interpreter, Valdez said he was “not really happy with the decision” to take him out of the game, but he recharged with his family.
Astros: 2B José Altuve (tilted left) hits some soft hits in the batting cage. …for Michael Brantley hitting the tee. He has yet to play this season following shoulder surgery.
Angels: Anthony Rendon is on the injured list for the third time this season with a bruised shin. The $245 million third baseman missed his 31st game due to injury. … Joe Adele (left oblique strain) and rookie RHP Sam Bachman (right shoulder) are also on the injured list.
Valdez (7-6, 2.51 ERA) takes the hill with the best ERA in the majors, looking to improve his 9-4 career record against the Angels. He faces the Los Angeles Red Detmers (2-6, 4.31 ERA), who has been more impressive than his numbers.
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