ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered off Shohei Ohtani for the first time, and George Springer hit a leadoff home run in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
Ohtani (3-3) struck out 10 while yielding five runs over six innings in his eighth mound start of the season. He fell behind 5-2 in the sixth on a drive off the left field pole by Guerrero, who finished right behind the Angels’ two-way star in last year’s AL MVP voting.
Bo Bichette hit a two-run double and Santiago Espinal had an RBI single in the third inning for Toronto in the opener of a four-game series at the Big A. Danny Jansen added his third homer in two games in the ninth.
Luis Rengifo had an RBI single for the Angels, who have lost six of nine in their worst stretch of the season to date. Ohtani went 0 for 2 with a walk and an RBI groundout at the plate.
Hyun Jin Ryu (2-0) gave up six hits and two runs over five innings for Toronto while retiring Mike Trout three times. The three-time AL MVP is 0 for 13 against the South Korean left-hander — his worst mark against any pitcher he has faced at least 10 times.
After striking out four times Wednesday, Trout went hitless in back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
Toronto hit the ball hard early and often against Ohtani, who beat the Blue Jays last summer in his only previous mound meeting. Ohtani’s fastball spin rate was down to 2,129 RPM after he averaged 2,429 coming in, and Toronto put nine balls in play with exit velocities over 93 mph. The Blue Jays got six hits against him.
Springer opened with an eight-pitch at-bat against Ohtani culminating in his 48th leadoff homer, tying Ian Kinsler for the fourth-most in baseball history. The homer also was the former Astros slugger’s 17th in his last 33 games against the Halos.
The Blue Jays’ three-run third was only the third multi-run inning allowed this season by Ohtani. After Lourdes Gurriel walked, advanced on Springer’s single and scored on Espinal’s single. Bichette drove them both home.
Ohtani retired seven straight Blue Jays before Guerrero’s homer — his second in two games after a 15-game homerless drought comprising most of May.
Ohtani got help in the fourth from left fielder Brandon Marsh, who sprinted to make a nifty leaping catch of Jansen’s line drive to the wall.
Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio struck out three times, walked and played first base after returning from Triple-A Buffalo before the game. He had been away from the Jays since late April after testing positive for COVID-19.
Angels: Slugging OF Taylor Ward flied out as a pinch-hitter for Ohtani in the eighth for his first appearance since running into the wall last Friday. Ward won’t play in the outfield until at least the weekend. … Juan Lagares came up to provide Los Angeles with a fourth outfielder in Ward’s absence, and reliever Mike Mayers was designated for assignment to make room. Mayers was a bullpen stalwart for the Halos in 2020 and 2021, but he capped his rough start to this season Wednesday by giving up five hits — his most in any appearance since his rookie season in 2016.
Rising star Alek Manoah (5-1, 1.62 ERA) pitches on the one-year anniversary of his major league debut for the Blue Jays. He faces Halos rookie Chase Silseth (1-1, 2.61), whose first two big league starts were both solid.
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