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Shohei Ohtani shows his stuff as Angels send Twins to fifth loss in a row

Megan Ryan, Star Tribune on

Published in Baseball

MINNEAPOLIS — An announced total of 24,896 fans came to Target Field on a chilly and drizzly fall Friday evening, and probably a majority of those were not there to witness the Twins (73-78) potentially formally eliminate themselves from the American League Central race.

There were plenty clad in the Angels' red and white jerseys and hats, No. 17 stitched across several. This was (unofficially) Shohei Ohtani Day in Minnesota, after all.

The Japanese star has become Major League Baseball's biggest name, a rare talent who can hit, pitch and field, though the later is done sparingly. The planets aligned and the gods smiled down upon the Twin Cities, with Ohtani's schedule lining up to start against the Twins, giving the crowd the coveted chance to see the phenom eclipse 200 strikeouts in a season for the first time while also hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning as the designated hitter.

Those efforts helped the Angels beat the Twins, 4-2. That, combined with a Guardians victory against the Rangers, has made it impossible for the Twins to mount an incredible comeback to win the division. There is technically still a slim chance the Twins could overcome a significant deficit to grab a wild-card spot.

 

Ohtani (14-8) held the Twins hitless through two outs in the fifth inning, when Luis Arraez singled. But it was far from his sharpest outing. He loaded the bases in the first with two walks and a hit by pitch, letting a run score despite Jake Cave grounding into a double play. He gave up his second run in the sixth on a Cave single and loaded the bases for a second time before departing.

In all, he allowed three hits with six walks and seven strikeouts.

Rookie Louie Varland (0-2) started for the Twins, lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up seven hits and three runs. Taylor Ward drove two leadoff homers off Varland, one in the second and another in the sixth. Mike Trout added a RBI single in between those in the third.

©2022 StarTribune. Visit at startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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