Shohei Ohtani hits 4th homer of season as Angels win 6th straight

Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani blasted his fourth home run of the season Friday while batting cleanup for the first time since September 2020 as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 for their sixth straight win.

The reigning American League MVP went deep in the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field, blasting a high 3-1 fastball from Lucas Giolito (0-1) over the left-center-field wall for the Angels’ second solo shot after Taylor Ward led off with a homer.

Ohtani, whose last big fly came on April 14, homered to the opposite field for the first time this season. It came a day after the 27-year-old was rested for the entire game for the first time this year in the Angels’ 20th outing.

Ohtani also singled in the eighth, stole second base and scored on a Jared Walsh double. Ohtani, who batted .257 and had 46 home runs last season, is batting .247 this year after going 2-for-5 on the day.

Meanwhile, Yu Darvish earned his second win of the season, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings in the San Diego Padres’ 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Darvish (2-1) gave up two runs in the first inning on a walk and three straight singles at PNC Park. But his teammates scored two runs each in the third, fifth and sixth.

Darvish found himself in a tight spot in the fifth with the Padres holding a 4-2 lead. Daniel Vogelbach singled in a run with two outs to make it 4-3 and another single left two runners on base, but Jack Suwinski grounded out on a 1-2 slider.

The right-hander struck out five and had a walk in a 98-pitch effort.

Yusei Kikuchi remains without a win this year after the left-hander allowed four runs on four hits and three walks over 2⅔ innings in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 11-7 loss to the Houston Astros.

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