Ohtani hits majors-best 39th HR before leaving game in Angels' 4-1 loss to Blue Jays

TORONTO — Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 39th home run for the Angels, but the Toronto Blue Jays slugged three solo homers and beat Los Angeles 4-1 on Friday night.

Ohtani was replaced by pinch-hitter Michael Stefanic when his at-bat came up with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. There was no immediate word on why Ohtani left the game. A day earlier, Ohtani left the second game of a doubleheader at Detroit because of cramps.

Stefanic struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch from right-hander Jordan Romano as Toronto ended the Angels’ four-game winning streak.

Matt Chapman, Danny Jansen and Whit Merrifield homered for the Blue Jays, who are 24-11 when they hit two or more home runs.

Chapman hit a two-out drive in the second, his 14th of the season. Jansen homered to lead off the third, his 14th. Both home runs came off right-hander Lucas Giolito, who made his first start for the Angels since being acquired from the White Sox earlier this week.

Giolito (6-7) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.

Bo Bichette hit an RBI double off Giolito in the sixth and Merrifield made it 4-1 with a two-out homer off José Soriano in the seventh, his eighth. Merrifield finished 3 for 4 and has six home runs in his last 17 games. He hit a three-run homer in Thursday’s road win over the Dodgers.

The Blue Jays began the day in the third AL wild-card spot, three games ahead of the Angels. Los Angeles trails Boston and the New York Yankees in the postseason race.

After being greeted with a loud ovation from the sellout crowd of 42,106, Ohtani homered on the first pitch he faced, going deep in three straight at-bats over two games. The two-way superstar threw a one-hitter in the opener Thursday for his first career MLB shutout, then homered twice in the second game.

Ohtani’s 397-foot drive Friday came off Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Ohtani’s streak of homers ended when he struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch from Gausman in the third. Ohtani singled in the sixth and grounded out against left-hander Tim Mayza in the eighth.

Gausman (8-5) allowed one run and five hits in six-plus innings to win for the first time since June 21 at Miami. Gausman walked three and struck out nine, increasing his AL-leading total to 171.

Erik Swanson relieved Gausman after the Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. Swanson struck out Trey Cabbage and pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar, then retired Luis Rengifo on a fly ball.

Mayza worked one inning and Romano got two outs in the ninth before Yimi García finished for his third save in six chances. Romano was pitching for the fifth time since leaving the July 11 All-Star game because of a sore back.


Angels: Before the game, manager Phil Nevin said Ohtani would get an extra day of rest before his next start, which was scheduled for next Thursday’s home game against Seattle. … SS Zach Neto (sore back) was scratched from the starting lineup and replaced by Andrew Velazquez. Rengifo took over in the leadoff spot.

Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (Tommy John surgery) will start on Tuesday against Baltimore, manager John Schneider said. With the Blue Jays beginning a stretch of 17 games in 17 days Friday, Schneider said Ryu will be part of a six-man rotation. … RHP Chad Green (Tommy John surgery) will make a rehab appearance with Class-A Dunedin Saturday, his third.


Blue Jays OF George Springer, who came in stuck in an 0-for-16 slump, was dropped from the leadoff spot to fifth. Springer finished 0 for 4. Merrifield moved up to hit leadoff.


The Angels optioned RHP Gerardo Reyes to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room on the roster for Giolito.


RHP Alek Manoah (2-8, 6.10 ERA) starts for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. LHP Reid Detmers (2-7, 4.38) goes for the Angels.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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