Shohei Ohtani recovers after early home run to post strong start in Angels debut

For a brief moment during Shohei Ohtani’s first major-league start, it looked like maybe the critics were right. In the second inning, Ohtani left a slider up, and Oakland Athletics infielder Matt Chapman hammered it for a three-run home run.

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But Ohtani didn’t come undone. Instead, he collected himself and completely shut down the A’s to post a quality start in his major-league pitching debut.

It took two innings for Ohtani to fully settle in. The 23-year-old showed why every team fought for him during the offseason during the first inning. He pumped some impressive fastballs, topping out at 100 mph. While he had trouble getting his slider down, hitters had a hard time picking it up. He then finished off Matt Olson on a beautiful splitter to end the frame.

The Angels managed to score twice in the first inning, giving Ohtani an early lead.

Ohtani ran into trouble in the second. After a strikeout to begin the inning, Ohtani allowed two straight singles. That’s when Chapman struck. On an 0-1 pitch, Chapman lifted a slider that stayed in the zone a little too long out to left center for the three-run shot. Ohtani’s early lead was erased.

Perhaps the hit put Ohtani at ease. After that, he was dominant. Over the next four innings, Ohtani did not allow the A’s to pick up a hit. The only blemish on his stat line between the third and the sixth inning was a walk to Matt Joyce in the fourth.

The Angels picked up Ohtani in the fifth inning, scoring two runs to retake the lead 4-3.

With the bullpen warming in the sixth, Ohtani made quick work of the A’s. He worked a eight-pitch inning, getting three outs on weak contact from the A’s hitters.

In his major-league debut on the mound, Ohtani allowed one run on three hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out six during the start. He left the game in line for the win.

Shohei Ohtani showed off his skill in his major-league pitching debut. (AP Photo)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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