Shohei Ohtani received an education in the art of major league pitching Thursday when the Los Angeles Angels' two-way rookie was schooled by Houston Astros star righty Justin Verlander, striking out three times in four at-bats.
Batting in the two-slot as the designated hitter for the second straight day, Ohtani struck out swinging in the first inning. In the fourth, he grounded out to second and went down swinging again in the sixth.
Verlander, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner, recorded his 2,500th career strikeout against Ohtani in the ninth as he threw his first shutout in three years -- a five-hitter -- with a dominant 118-pitch, seven-strikeout outing that the Astros won 2-0.
The former Detroit Tigers ace lowered his majors-leading ERA to a minuscule 1.05 in picking up his fifth victory. Ohtani, who himself is slated to take the mound Sunday, was simply in awe of Verlander and couldn't say enough about the 35-year-old's greatness.
"It's very difficult to start the game well against a good pitcher," Ohtani said. "I couldn't figure out a way to build on one at-bat to the next."
"He's a brilliant pitcher. He was phenomenal throughout the entire game, just such a complete pitcher."
(Shohei Ohtani was given a pitching lesson by the Astros' Justin Verlander.)