Baseball: Ohtani, Angels open 2nd half with tough loss

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani had a disappointing start to his season's second half Friday, taking the loss on the mound in a shaky outing against the division rival Houston Astros.

Ohtani (7-5) gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits in five-plus innings at Angel Stadium as the Angels lost to the Astros 7-5 in their first game back from the All-Star break. The Angels have dropped six games in a row.

Ohtani, at the center of trade rumors ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline, struck out seven and walked three in a 94-pitch outing. At the plate, he had a pair of singles in five at-bats and struck out twice.

"We had opportunities to score when we couldn't get the last hit," Ohtani said. "If I'd kept their scoring to a minimum, we would have had a chance to win."

Ohtani left the mound with the game tied 4-4 after he issued a leadoff walk to Corey Julks in the sixth.

The Astros then went ahead 7-4 in the inning as Mauricio Dubon singled in two runs and Jose Abreu added an RBI single, both off Jacob Webb, who relieved the Japanese ace.

Earlier in the game, the Angels took a 2-0 lead in the second, but the Astros turned the game around by scoring two runs each in the fourth and fifth against Ohtani.

Ohtani struggled with his command, hitting the first batter of the fourth inning and walking the next two to load the bases.

In the fifth, he gave up back-to-back doubles to Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker before a run-scoring fielding error by third baseman Luis Rengifo put the Astros up 4-2.

The Angels, who fell to 45-47, are fourth in the American League West, and face a tough climb in their bid to reach the postseason for the first time since 2014.

In other action, MLB rookie Masataka Yoshida went 2-for-5 in the Boston Red Sox's 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

His eighth consecutive multi-hit game broke a tie with former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki for the most by a Japanese player in the major leagues.

"I'm glad, but I'm always trying to get hits, so I'm not too concerned with records," Yoshida said of surpassing Suzuki. "My generation grew up watching Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, so if I get a chance, I'll be happy to see him again."

Yu Darvish (6-6) struck out nine in six innings of one-run ball to earn the win as the San Diego Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-3.

© Kyodo News