Shohei Ohtani struck out 11 and allowed just two Royals hits in seven shutout innings as the Angels blanked the Royals 2-0 in the series opener Friday night in Anaheim.
Taylor Clarke was used as an “opener” in place of the injured Kris Bubic and gave the Royals two solid shutout innings to begin the game. Ryan Yarbrough came in relief and found some trouble immediately by hitting rookie Zach Neto, then giving up a 424-foot two-run home run to #9 hitter Chad Wallach.
Chad Wallach gets the Angels on the board in dramatic fashion. The veteran catcher, whose contract was selected earlier today, just smashed a 424-foot, 2-run home run.— Sarah Valenzuela (@Sarah_IsabelVee) April 22, 2023
Angels lead Royals, 2-0. pic.twitter.com/ilM2258BsP
But Yarbrough settled down after that and gave the Royals three shutout innings after that. He did plunk Neto a second time, the fifth time Neto has been hit by a pitch in seven MLB games so far.
Meanwhile, Ohtani was carving up Royals hitters all night. He struck out the side in the first inning, and struck out the side in his final inning, the seventh. The Royals only reached scoring position once all night - in the fourth when MJ Melendez walked and Vinnie Pasquantino singled. But Salvador Perez hit into a double play, erasing the minor threat.
Amir Garrett and Josh Staumont each tossed a scoreless inning, each pitching around a jam. The Royals went quietly in the eighth and ninth, with Bobby Witt Jr. collecting the third hit of the night for the Royals. They ended up striking out 14 times and walking just twice, with two of their baserunners wiped out on double plays.
The Royals faced long odds with the pitching matchup tonight, and Ohtani lived up to his billing. Hitters are still batting just .091 against him this year, and he dazzled Royals hitters all night with a high-90s fastball and a devastating sweeper, assisted by a wide zone by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. The Royals fall to 4-16 and will try to right the ship tomorrow night with Zack Grienke facing lefty Andrew Heaney with first pitch at 8:07 CT.