Shohei Ohtani hit his first career home run off a left-hander in the major leagues and his 16th of the season, but the Los Angeles Angels lost 4-2 to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Ohtani joined Hideki Matsui in a tie for second place in the number of home runs by a Japanese player in his first major league season. Matsui was a rookie for the New York Yankees in 2003.
Kenji Jojima hit 18 in his debut season for the Seattle Mariners in 2006 to top the list.
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Four other Japanese reached double-digit home runs as a rookie: Tadahito Iguchi hit 15 in 2005 for the Chicago White Sox; Norichika Aoki 10 in 2012 for the Milwaukee Brewers; Kosuke Fukudome 10 in 2008 for the Chicago Cubs; and Tsuyoshi Shinjo 10 in 2001 for the New York Mets.
On Tuesday, Ohtani connected for a solo shot off Rangers starter Mike Minor in the sixth at Globe Life Park in Arlington, carrying a slider to right-center field to cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-2. He struck out in his first two at-bats against Minor and grounded out in his last at-bat.
The two-way star is scheduled to start in Sunday’s game against the White Sox after throwing two bullpen sessions on Wednesday and Friday.
Ohtani, who was on the disabled list with an elbow injury, pitched 2-1/3 innings on Sept. 2 in his first start in nearly three months.
All — Kyodo News+