Ohtani outduels Manoah as Angels shut out Blue Jays for 2nd straight game

Shohei Ohtani was the superior pitcher in his duel with Alek Manoah, yielding only two hits in seven innings in the Los Angeles Angels 2-0 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

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

Ohtani’s (11-8) masterful 109-pitch performance included nine strikeouts and a lone walk before 45,311 fans at Rogers Centre.

Manoah (12-7) also lasted seven innings with four hits on 105 pitches, eight strikeouts and two walks.

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

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

Ohtani wins marquee matchup

Ohtani then stretched Manoah into an eight-pitch at-bat, in which the Angels slugger fouled off five pitches. On the eighth pitch, Ohtani hit a comebacker to Manoah, who threw to erase Trout at second base, but Ohtani beat the relay to first.

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

Ohtani retired 11 consecutive from striking out Alejandro Kirk to end the third inning to fanning Bo Bichette to begin the seventh inning. However, the streak ended when Velazquez bobbled a Cavan Biggio grounder for an error.

Manoah and Ohtani did not yield a run through five innings, with the Blue Jays starter and his counterpart surrendering two hits apiece.

Toronto avoided danger in the fifth inning when rookie Ryan Aguilar squeezed 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, but he was tossed out with a perfect throw from right-fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley started in place of Teoscar Hernandez, who departed from Friday’s series opener with a left-foot contusion after fouling a ball off his foot. Hernandez was available to pinch hit on Saturday.

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

Springer extended his hit streak to 10 games with a leadoff single to left in the first inning.

Interim Toronto manager John Schneider was ejected in the top of the eighth inning for arguing the final pitch of Mike Ford’s walk to load the bases.

30th anniversary of World Series championship

Joe Carter, Dave Winfield, Devon White, Rance Mullinicks, Candy Maldonado, Dave Stieb, Juan Guzman, Todd Stottlemyre, Mike Timlin, Duane Ward and 1992 World Series MVP Pat Borders were feted with a pre-game ceremony to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their first of two championships.

“It probably means more now because when it happens, it happens so fast,” said 1992 manager Cito Gaston, who still lives in the Toronto area.

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