Shohei Ohtani homers 100 years after Babe, leads Angels over Yankees

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani heads for home after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

NEW YORK (AP) — Shohei Ohtani homered on the 100th anniversary of the original Yankee Stadium, following Babe Ruth’s example with a loud two-run drive in the first inning that started the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

In a starry matchup that included three AL MVPs, Ohtani turned on a 88.7 mph sweeper from Clarke Schmidt (0-1) and hit a 116.7 mph shot into the Yankees bullpen in right-center, 391 feet from home plate. After his fourth home run this season and eighth in 18 games against the Yankees, Ohtani celebrated with teammates in the dugout with a kabuto helmet modeled on one used by ancient Japanese warriors.

When the original Yankee Stadium opened across 161st St. on April 18, 1923, Ruth capped a four-run third inning with a three-run homer off Boston’s Howard Ehmke in New York’s 4-1 win to inaugurate America’s first three-deck stadium.

Ohtani took a rare round of on-field batting practice in nearly empty Yankee Stadium, a more modern version that replaced the old ballpark in 2009. The 2021 AL MVP is baseball’s most famous two-way player since Ruth, and has bettered the Bambino by simultaneously starring as a full-time pitcher and hitter.

He will make his next mound start in Friday night’s homestand opener against Kansas City. Ohtani threw just two innings and 31 pitches in Monday’s start at Boston before his outing was cut short by an 85-minute rain delay.

Mike Trout, the 2014, ’16 and ‘19 MVP, singled and doubled for the Angels on a cool night as the game-time temperature returned to a more normal 52 degrees. Reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge hit a sacrifice fly in a two-run fourth after Andrew Wantz (1-0) walked rookie Anthony Volpe with the bases loaded.

Anthony Rendon drove in Trout with an RBI single in the fourth and scored on Hunter Renfroe’s double for a 4-0 lead. Ohtani reached on catcher’s interference in the fifth, stole second, continued to third on Kyle Higashioka’s throwing error and scored on Rendon’s sacrifice fly.

Fans in the crowd of 37,883 were given special commemorative tickets to mark the centenary.

Schmidt allowed four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings, swelling his ERA to 8.79 in four starts.

Angels starter José Suarez gave up two runs, three hits and a career-high six walks in 3 1/3 innings. José Quijada got three outs for his third save, finishing a combined four-hitter by five pitchers.


New York’s Oswald Peraza made his season debut, starting at second base and going 1 for 3 with a walk.


Los Angeles’ Gio Urshela started at second base in his first appearance at the position since Oct. 1, 2017, for Cleveland.


Angels rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe, who is from nearby Long Island, went 1 for 3 with a single and a walk in his first big league game at Yankee Stadium. He recalled sitting in the seats and catching a home run from Baltimore’s Manny Machado off CC Sabathia on April 6, 2018. O’Hoppe estimated several hundred family and friends will attend the series.

For more on the Yankees, visit AMNY.com