In his first appearance on the mound at Fenway Park, Shohei Ohtani provided a glimpse of what it must have been like to watch Babe Ruth in his batting and pitching heyday with the Boston Red Sox.
Starting on the mound and hitting third in the Los Angeles Angels lineup, Ohtani was outstanding in both roles Thursday afternoon.
He tossed seven shutout innings and struck out 11 Red Sox batters without a walk in an 8-0 victory, throwing 81 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
At the plate, Ohtani had two hits in four at-bats. In a five-run eighth inning that broke the game open, his scorching line drive off the Green Monster in left field was hit so hard that it foreshadowed the end of his day as a pitcher.
Yes, even the hand-operated scoreboard at Fenway Park couldn’t contain Ohtani on this particular day.
His 99 pitches over seven innings were a season high and his 11 strikeouts were one short of his career best.
In addition, he became the first pitcher to hit in one of the top four spots in the batting order at Fenway Park since — you guessed it — Ruth did it on Sept. 20, 1919.