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OC Register: Taylor Ward, Shohei Ohtani blast homers as Angels blow out A’s in nightcap


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OAKLAND — Fortunately for the Angels, they didn’t have to sleep on what happened on Saturday afternoon.

The Angels blasted the A’s 9-1 on Saturday night, including a Taylor Ward grand slam and Shohei Ohtani’s 100th career homer.

Ward reached base five times, including a double a single and two walks, and he drove in five runs.

The rollicking victory allowed the Angels to quickly move past the disturbing first game of the doubleheader, when closer Raisel Iglesias allowed a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss.

A couple hours later, the Angels rolled out a better lineup — Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Ward had all been on the bench to start Game 1 — and they wasted little time in blowing out the A’s.

The game was tied 1-1 in the second inning when Ward stepped to the plate against Oakland right-hander Adam Oller. Ward got a cutter over the outer half of the plate and crushed it over the fence in right-center.

It was his second grand slam of the season. Ward has also equaled his career high with eight homers, even though he’s played in just 25 games. He is hitting .384 with a .505 on-base percentage and a 1.249 OPS, which would lead the majors if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. He is five short.

Ward started a rally in his next trip, doubling into left-center. He scored on a double by Trout and then Trout scored on Ohtani’s milestone homer.

Ohtani became the third player born in Japan to hit 100 homers in the majors. Hideki Matsui holds the record with 175, and Ichiro Suzuki hit 117.

Ohtani started the season slowly, but he’s hit .295 over his past 20 games, with the improvement coinciding with him hitting the ball more to center field and left field. His homer on Saturday went out to left-center.

The offensive explosion and a strong start by right-hander Michael Lorenzen were exactly what the Angels needed after using all their best relievers in the first game. Iglesias, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera had all pitched Friday night and in the first game on Saturday.

Lorenzen gave up one run in seven innings, improving his ERA for the season to 3.57. He allowed a run in the first and then nothing else. His teammates helped him out by turning three double plays, and shortstop Andrew Velazquez made two more outstanding plays.

With a comfortable lead, the Angels were able to use Kyle Barraclough and Mike Mayers for the final two innings.

More to come on this story.

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