London ball

Ohtani and the Angels frustrated the Blue Jays 2-0

TORONTO — Shohei Ohtani refused to let the good vibes of the 30th reunion of the 1992 World Series champions Toronto Blue Jays spread to the current club on Saturday.

The Los Angeles Angels ace starter allowed just two hits, striking out nine with just one walk in a stellar performance of 109 pitches in seven innings for a 2-0 win.

Ohtani against Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah, as well as the reunion, created a special atmosphere.

Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, Dave Stieb, manager Cito Gaston and other members of the 1992 Blue Jays were celebrated with a pregame ceremony, creating a buzz among the 45,311 spectators at the Rogers Center.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m at home or away, when the crowd is electric like this, as a player I love throwing in those kinds of situations,” Ohtani (11-8) said, the American League’s reigning Most Valuable Player.

The Angels (54-73) shut out the Blue Jays (68-57) for the second straight time to open the three-game series.

Manoah (12-7) also went seven innings with four hits on 105 pitches, eight strikeouts and two walks. However, the reunion and confrontation with Ohtani did not change his approach.

“Every game is Game 7 of the World Series for me,” Manoah said. “It didn’t matter if Ohtani was on the mound there or Roger Clemens. My job was to come out and compete. Give the team everything and do everything I can to try and get us to win.

“To see (the 1992 team) come back and celebrate was pretty amazing, so hopefully we can get back to work and try to do the same.

Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez gave his team some breathing room with a two-out homer to right field in the ninth inning against reliever Anthony Bass.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning. David Fletcher started with a left single and advanced to second after a walk to Mike Trout.

Ohtani then stretched Manoah into an eight-pitch bat, in which the Angels slugger fouled on five pitches. On the eighth pitch, Ohtani hit a comeback to Manoah, who pitched to obliterate Trout at second base, but Ohtani beat the throw at first.

With Fletcher now third, Luis Rengifo singled left to score his teammate.

Ohtani retired 11 straight after pulling out Alejandro Kirk to finish the third inning and stoking Bo Bichette to start the seventh inning. However, the streak ended when Velazquez blasted a Cavan Biggio grounder for an error.

Manoah and Ohtani have not given up a run in five innings, with the Blue Jays starter and counterpart allowing two hits apiece.

Toronto avoided danger in the fifth inning when rookie Ryan Aguilar pressed a line drive down the right field line for a double. But Angels third base coach Mike Gallego waived Aguilar to take an extra base. He was kicked out with a perfect pitch from right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley started in place of Teoscar Hernandez, who left Friday’s series opener with a bruised left foot after fouling a foot ball. Hernandez was available to pinch the blow on Saturday.

George Springer also played center field for the first time since returning from the disabled list with a right elbow injury 10 games ago.

Springer extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first left single in the first inning.

Toronto interim manager John Schneider was ejected in the top of the eighth inning for contesting the last pitch of Mike Ford’s walk to load the bases.

MARK OF 125 GAMES

Back-to-back losses to the Angels meant the Blue Jays lost their third straight series at Rogers Center.

Prior to their successful 6-1 road trip against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Toronto lost back-to-back series to the Cleveland Guardians and Baltimore Orioles.

At the 125-game mark, the Blue Jays are two wins clear of the 66-59 record they had at this point a season ago.

NEXT

Right-hander Ross Stripling (6-3) will start for Toronto in the series finale against Angels left-hander Tucker Davidson (2-4).

On Monday, the Blue Jays begin a three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs. Former Toronto starter Marcus Stroman is scheduled to pitch for Chicago on Tuesday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 27, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press