Anaheim, CA – The Los Angeles Angels desperately needed a win, and Shuhei Ohtani Presented it almost alone.
Otani made seven innings of one-ball runs against the hot Boston Red Sox and delivered a decisive home run, leading to the Angels’ 5-2 win that cut short a 14-game losing streak Thursday night.
The Angels’ streak was the longest ever for a team to hold the best player on their roster, surpassing number 13 in a row by the 1985 Chicago Cubs of Ryne Sandberg and 11 consecutively by the 1995 Houston Astros by Jeff Bagwell. But Otani, who unanimously won the MLS Player of the Year award last season, made sure it wasn’t extended any further.
Having allowed nine runs in nine rounds over his previous starts, Ohtani limited the Red Sox — winners of seven straight rounds — to six starting players and produced 18 swings and failures, 15 more than he collected seven days earlier against the New York Yankees. He achieved a fresh off season in pitches (100) and fast ball speed (101 mph), and he also seemed to come alive with an offensive tackle.
Ohtani cut only .192/.333/.383 during the Angels’ 14-game losing streak, but gave them a 2-1 lead with two-stroke Homer in fifth and added a solo streak in seventh. Andrew Velasqueza light-hitting midfielder who was riding slack 0-for-22, broke the open game with Homer by three runs in the sixth, sending the Angels to their first win since May 24, when the team stood 10 games over .500.
The Angels’ losing streak was the longest for a team that had at least 10 games over .500 when that streak began, according to research by Elias Sports Bureau. Only three teams have ever achieved a post-season despite a double-digit defeat streak – the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers, 1982 Atlanta Braves and 1951 New York Giants, none of them dropping more than 11 in a row.
The Angels, who abruptly fired Joe Maddon as their manager on Tuesday, are currently 0.500 games short and 2 1/2 times off the sixth and final place in the MLS playoffs.
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