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Shohei Ohtani pitches, hits his way into history again

Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday became the first player to strike out 10 batters, drive in two runs and steal a base in the same game since the RBI became an official stat in 1920. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Shohei Ohtani’s dominance has almost become normal, yet he often finds a new way to make history. Wednesday was another one of those nights as Ohtani put himself in a class of his own again.

The Los Angeles Angels’ two-way star pitched seven innings in a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins, allowing two hits and an unearned run. At the plate, he delivered a two-run single in the fifth to give the Angels the lead for good. And on the base paths, he recorded his 10th stolen base.

Since the RBI became an official stat in 1920, Ohtani is the first player to strike out 10 batters, drive in two runs and steal a base in the same game, according to ESPN.

Ohtani is in the middle of an illustrious stretch, even by his standards. He has pitched 28⅔ consecutive innings without allowing an earned run and has won five consecutive starts. He also is one of six pitchers since 1913 (including Clayton Kershaw twice) to go 4-0 with no earned runs and at least 40 strikeouts in a four-start span.

Of course, none of those pitchers hit like Ohtani. Since a June 9 start against the Boston Red Sox, he is batting .305 with a .398 on-base percentage and a .634 slugging percentage — making his 1.032 on-base-plus-slugging percentage nearly triple the measly .364 mark opponents have managed against him.

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On the mound, Ohtani continued his unblemished record despite a slow start Wednesday. The Marlins scratched out a first-inning run on a throwing error, a double and a sacrifice fly. They added a walk and a single in the second. But then Ohtani retired the next 15 batters, striking out eight of them, as the Angels built a 5-1 lead.

Over the past four weeks, Ohtani has raised his OPS from .765 to .839 and lowered his ERA from 3.99 to 2.44.

While Ohtani’s night was historic, he has recorded other similar performances this year in an encore to his American League MVP season. Last month, he pitched eight scoreless innings one day after clubbing two three-run homers. And May 5 at Fenway Park, Ohtani pitched seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and also hit a 109-mph line drive off the Green Monster.