ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani’s last pitch of the night was his hardest, a 99.7 mph fastball on pitch No. 99, which he punctuated with an emphatic fist pump as he struck out the last batter of the seventh inning.
It was the cherry on top of another outstanding pitching performance for the two-way star, who gave up one run in seven innings in the Angels’ 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Ohtani also drove in a run and scored a run in the first, and Jack Mayfield provided two insurance runs in the seventh, with his third home run in five games.
On a night when the Angels won their third straight, there was one potentially troubling development. Jared Walsh left the game after the seventh inning, although there was no immediate word what was wrong with him.
The night belonged to Ohtani, whose remarkable season continued with his third straight strong game since that nightmarish outing when he didn’t get out of the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Ohtani has a 1.35 ERA over 20 innings since then. He has lowered his season ERA to 3.04.
The only run Ohtani allowed on Monday night was a homer to Dom Nuñez on a hanging slider in the fifth.
For the most part, Ohtani’s slider was his go-to pitch on the night. He threw 27 sliders among his 99 pitches, his third-highest percentage for the pitch this season.
Before the game, Manager Joe Maddon talked about how Ohtani is able to change his pitch mix from game to game better than most pitchers.
“He actually creates during the game,” Maddon said. “He knows ‘My slider is good today. My cutter’s good. I’m not feeling my split today.’ He makes adjustments in the game constantly that most guys can’t do. He has a bunch of different pitches to draw from, and he will go with the one that he feels most comfortable with, with good results. It’s a very unusual method.”
Ohtani’s performance continued an encouraging trend for the Angels, whose starters have a 3.13 ERA in July.
They also had their starter finish at least seven innings in three straight games for the first time all season. Up until Sunday, they hadn’t even had their starter go seven in two straight games.
While the Angels got a good performance from Ohtani, they didn’t give him much run support.
Part of the problem – as usual – was that they continue to be without Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Also, they were facing Rockies All-Star right-hander German Marquez.
The Angels got to Marquez for two runs in the first, with the help of an error and then three singles. After that, though, the Angels didn’t really put much pressure on Marquez until the sixth, when Walsh singled and went to third on a Brandon Marsh double. Max Stassi was called out on strikes to strand the runners.
After Mayfield’s homer gave the Angels’ a 4-1 lead, José Quintana and Steve Cishek labored through the eighth but managed to give up just one run. The inning ended with Cishek getting Sam Hilliard on a flyout to the fence with two runners on.
The Angels added two insurance runs in the eighth before closer Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth to secure the victory.
More to come on this story.