Sports

Shohei Ohtani’s latest jaw-dropping homer not enough in Angels’ loss

SEATTLE — Shohei Ohtani left jaws agape, teammates stunned and fans nearly 500 feet away from home plate ducking for cover.

Ohtani had the most memorable shot of the night, no doubt.

Mitch Haniger hit the most important.

Ohtani became the sixth player to reach the upper deck of T-Mobile Park with a towering blast for his 33rd homer, but Haniger’s two-out grand slam in the eighth inning lifted the Seattle Mariners over the Los Angeles Angels 7-3.

“He’s got that kind of power, that kind of talent,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “But at end of the day it’s only worth one, and (Hangier’s) was worth four. I liked (Haniger’s) a little bit better even if it didn’t go quite as far.”

Haniger drove a 2-0 pitch from Jose Quintana (0-4) into the left-field bullpen to cap Seattle’s rally from a 3-0 deficit. Seattle kept the inning alive thanks to Jake Bauers hit and J.P. Crawford’s nine-pitch walk.

Shohei Ohtani belts a long solo homer in the third inning of the Angels' 7-3 loss to the Mariners.
Shohei Ohtani belts a long solo homer in the third inning of the Angels’ 7-3 loss to the Mariners.
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“On deck I was just kind of rehearsing what I wanted to get from him. I was looking for a fastball and just see myself have success and then you get that feeling that I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna come through and it happened,” Haniger said. “I was just pumped up.”

The Angels had a 3-0 lead thanks to Ohtani’s solo homer off starter Marco Gonzales that soared into the top deck of right field. MLB’s Statcast projected the homer at 463 feet.

“That ball was far. It said 463. That can’t be 463,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.

The ball landed above the fifth row of seats before hitting a concrete wall and ricocheting back down into the lower levels. It left the ballpark buzzing and his teammates — particularly Justin Upton — in disbelief in the Angels dugout.

“I think that Statcast was wrong. I think that ball was well over 500 feet. … I know we talk about Shohei all the time, but we’re not talking about them enough. It’s just incredible,” Angels starter Alex Cobb said.

A few fans sitting alone in the 300 level who said they wanted a peaceful place to watch the game while looking at the Seattle skyline suddenly had to duck out of the way as Ohtani’s blast reached a rarified section of the ballpark.

Ohtani leads the majors in homers, and this drive came three days before he’s set to appear in Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby at Coors Field.

Unfortunately for Ohtani, the blast came in a loss.

“We had a nice thing going on then we gave them the momentum back,” Maddon said.

Shed Long Jr. barely missed a home run and settled for a two-run double off the top of the wall in the fourth inning off Cobb. Seattle finally pulled even on France’s two-out RBI single in the seventh off Steve Cishek.

Aside from the two homers, Gonzales rebounded well from an ugly outing in his last start. Gonzales allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and threw a season-high 103 pitches.

Drew Steckenrider (3-2) pitched the eighth for the victory.

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