For the first three innings Thursday afternoon, it looked like Shohei Ohtani had a chance to do something special against the Oakland Athletics (GameTracker). The Los Angeles Angels' two-way superstar retired the first nine batters he faced on only 37 pitches, including four via strikeouts. He fanned Aledmys Díaz on a slider in the other batter's box. Don't believe me? Look:
For three innings, it appeared Ohtani had a chance at a perfect game. His stuff was that crisp. Then, in the fourth inning, things completely unraveled in the span of seven batters. Those very bad A's tagged Ohtani for five runs in the fourth inning. Brent Rooker hit a three-run home run and Shea Langeliers swatted a two-run homer, completed erasing a 5-0 Angels lead.
Here are the Rooker and Langeliers homers:
It looked like Hunter Renfroe had a play on Rooker's home run at the wall, but it was just out of his reach. Despite appearances that the ball clanked off Renfroe's glove and over the fence, it was an unassisted dinger for Rooker.
Anyway, the home runs are notable not just because they are the first homers Ohtani has allowed this season. They are the first homers Ohtani has allowed since last August 21, when Riley Greene of the Detroit Tigers took him deep. Ohtani went 79 innings and 302 batters between home runs allowed, then he allowed two in the span of three batters. Go figure.
The 79-inning homerless streak was the longest active homerless streak in baseball. The current leader is now Houston Astros rookie right-hander Hunter Brown. He made his MLB debut last September and has yet to allow a home run in 50 2/3 big league innings.