ATLANTA — A brilliant performance by Shohei Ohtani on the mound turned ugly quickly.
Meanwhile, it was ugly all night for the Angels’ hitters.
Ohtani had struck out 11 in six innings without allowing a run, but he gave up six runs in the seventh inning of the Angels’ 8-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
Ohtani could not have been any better for six innings, but he was pitching in the pressure of a tie game because the Angels’ hitters – who have been in a collective slump for nearly two months – continually came up empty.
Ohtani himself had been hitless in three at-bats, reaching base only when he was hit by a pitch. He was called out on strikes to end the top of the seventh, stranding a runner.
When Ohtani took the mound in the bottom of the inning, he had retired 15 in a row and 18 of 19, most of them with strikeouts. He had thrown only 71 pitches.
Ohtani then walked Dansby Swanson to start the inning. His 0-and-1 splitter to Matt Olson was up too much, and Olson whacked it over the right field fence. It was Olson’s second hit, and first homer, in 16 career at-bats against Ohtani.
Austin Riley then ripped a single into center field. Travis d’Arnaud dropped a bloop hit inside the right field line. Eddie Rosario lined a single through the drawn-in infield, making it 3-0.
An out later, Ohtani hung a first-pitch slider to Orlando Arcia, who hit it a couple of rows deep into the left field seats, making it 6-0.
Ohtani allowed six runs in one inning after allowing just two in his previous 45-2/3 innings. It equaled the most runs he had allowed in a game this season.
Although in the end, it looks like a game that was lost because of bad pitching, for most of the night the Angels’ bad hitting was the issue.
They struck out another 13 times, adding to their major league-leading total. They had only five hits.
Taylor Ward and Luis Rengifo had two of them, back-to-back singles to start the fourth, giving them runners at the corners with no outs. After Jared Walsh struck out, Jo Adell walked to load the bases. Jonathan Villar hit into a double play.
They left two on in the fifth and wasted a leadoff baserunner in the sixth and a one-out single in the seventh.
Villar homered in the ninth for their only run.
More to come on this story.