One-hundred years to the day after Babe Ruth opened Yankee Stadium with a home run, the closest thing to The Babe – Shohei Ohtani – hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat against the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday night.
Ohtani launched a 2-and-0 pitch from Clarke Schmidt into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-centerfield to spark the Angels to a 5-2 victory before 37,883.
The blast left Ohtani’s bat at 116.7 miles per hour and traveled 391 feet.
Schmidt (0-1, 8.79 ERA) allowed four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.
“I take full responsibility for what happened tonight and not being able to get through the heart of that order,” Schmidt said. “They’ve got a good lineup, obviously.”
Schmidt has been unimpressive in his first four starts, but with three starters on the injured list the Yankees don’t have too many options if they think about replacing him.
As manager Aaron Boone put it in declaring that he will be staying with Schmidt, “He’s one of our starters right now. We’re a little banged up in the rotation . . . We don’t have that luxury [of moving Schmidt to the bullpen] right now.”
Schmidt was removed three batters after giving up back-to-back RBI hits to Anthony Rendon (single) and Hunter Renfroe (double) to give the Angels a 4-0 lead in the fourth.
Long Island’s Greg Weissert (Bay Shore) came in to face Long Island’s Logan O’Hoppe (Sayville). O’Hoppe, the Angels rookie catcher playing in his first game at Yankee Stadium, drew a walk to load the bases. Weissert got out of the jam by getting Taylor Ward to ground into a forceout.
Weissert later told Newsday that he once, during the COVID-19 shutdown, went to O’Hoppe’s house and threw a bullpen session to him in his backyard.
“He’s a really good kid,” Weissert said. “From a really good family.”
The Yankees failed to score in the first two innings against Angels starter Jose Suarez despite drawing four walks and getting two hits.
“A little bit frustrating there,” Boone said. “We had our chances, but ultimately they got it done a few more times than we were able to.”
Suarez’s wildness continued into the fourth – two more walks to give him six on the game — and he was removed with the bases loaded and one out.
Righthander Andrew Wantz came in and walked Anthony Volpe to force in the Yankees’ first run. Aaron Judge followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Judge’s sacrifice fly was the first in a stretch of 13 consecutive retired batters. The string was broken by a two-out infield single by Oswald Peraza in the eighth.
Ohtani (1-for-3) helped create a run for the Angels in the fifth to give the Angels a 5-2 lead. He reached on catcher’s interference (an error charged to Kyle Higashioka), stole second (his first stolen base of the season), moved to third on a throwing error by Higashioka, and scored on a Rendon sacrifice fly.
Ohtani’s every visit to New York is an event. Tuesday was his 11th game at Yankee Stadium. The home run was his fourth in the Bronx and eighth in 18 games overall against the Yankees.
Ohtani had a two-homer game as a visitor on June 29, 2021. Overall, he is 6-for-39 (.154) at Yankee Stadium.
“Beautiful field,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “Passionate fans. I always look forward to playing here. It’s really fun playing here.”
Ohtani, who is a free agent at season’s end, will not pitch in this three-game series.