ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani presented the game ball to Phil Nevin during the cathartic clubhouse celebrations after the Los Angeles Angels snapped their 14-game losing streak.
While the Angels’ new manager greatly appreciated the gesture to mark the first victory of his career, he also knew who deserved nearly all of the credit for stopping the longest skid in franchise history.
“He carried us on his back,” Nevin said of the Halos’ matchless AL MVP.
Ohtani pitched seven stellar innings and hit a two-run homer, and the Angels won for the first time since May 24, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Thursday night.
Ohtani (4-4) yielded four hits and a run while striking out six in a performance befitting an ace. He also had two hits, and he put the Angels ahead for the first time by crushing his 12th homer of the season off Nick Pivetta (5-5) in the fifth inning.
“It’s been long, but it always feel great to win,” Ohtani said through his translator. “Obviously, I definitely wanted to win this one. Especially on the days I pitch, I just want to put the team in a spot to have a chance to win, and I was able to do that today.”
Andrew Velazquez added a three-run homer in the sixth as Los Angeles won for the first time in three games under Nevin, who replaced the fired Joe Maddon after Monday’s series-opening loss. The Halos won for only the fourth time in 22 games since May 15, when they were 24-13 and in first place in the AL West.
“I think everybody exhaled, took a deep breath,” Nevin said. “For the last 14 (games), they’ve come every day expecting to win … and when you come in after the game, you see the pain on their faces. I know it’s hurting them, and that means a heck of a lot, because they care. These last two weeks were painful for them. Painful for…