Baseball: Ohtani becomes 2nd Japanese to join 20-homer club in MLB

©Kyodo News

Baseball: Angeles' Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani became the second Japanese major leaguer to hit 20 home runs in a single season when he connected for a solo shot in the Los Angeles Angels' 6-5 defeat to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Right after teammate Mike Trout connected on a two-run blast to put the Angels on the scoreboard, Ohtani stepped into the box and hit a homer off Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez in the first inning at Angel Stadium.

Ohtani and Former New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Hideki Matsui are the only Japanese players with 20-plus homers in a season. Matsui did it five times in his career, the last time in 2010 when he hit 21 with the Angels.

But the Angels blew an early 4-0 lead and dropped their third straight against the Mariners, who moved to an 82-66 record, enough to clinch a winning season.

With two out in the eighth, the Mariners' Robinson Cano hit a bases-loaded double to drive in three runs, including the go-ahead run, to turn the game in favor of the visitors.

Angels left fielder Justin Upton hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth --- his second of the night -- but it proved too little, too late.

Ohtani went 2-for-4 with a homer, a single and two strikeouts. The Rookie of the Year candidate hit his Nippon Professional Baseball career-high 22 homers in 2016 while playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Junichi Tazawa got the last four outs for the Angels.

James Pazos (4-1) earned the win for pitching a scoreless seventh, and Edwin Diaz picked up his major league-leading 55th save. Jose Alvarez (5-4), who put two runners on in the eighth on a wild pitch and a walk, took the loss.