Shohei Ohtani was hitless Friday in a much-anticipated matchup with Japanese compatriot Kenta Maeda, but keyed the Los Angeles Angels' two-run, ninth inning rally in a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Maeda struck out nine of the 22 batters he faced and gave up just one run and three hits in 5-2/3 innings of work, while Ohtani, who had been out for four weeks before returning to the Angels' lineup Tuesday, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
"I made a mistake in the sixth that allowed in a run, so I left the mound with some regret," said Maeda, who was working without much sleep following the birth of his child early in the morning. "Overall though, things worked. He (Ohtani) is a good batter. He doesn't have many weaknesses."
It was the first time since 2015 that Maeda and Ohtani, who played in different Japanese leagues, faced each other and the first time in the major leagues. Ohtani had two at-bats against Maeda at Angel Stadium. He struck out swinging in the second inning and popped out to the shortstop in the fifth.
"His pitching was somewhat different from how I imagined, but overall he put everything together well, and did a good job to make me look bad," Ohtani said. "I want to practice so that I can hit pitching like that."
(Maeda strikes out Ohtani in the second inning.)
With a Grade 2 ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his right pitching elbow, Ohtani came off the disabled list Tuesday to serve as the Angels' designated hitter in their 4-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Maeda had a chance to earn his sixth win of the season, but Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (0-2) blew the save opportunity -- his first since April -- and Maeda was not involved in the decision.
With two outs in the ninth, no runners on and his team down to its last strike, Ohtani drew a walk. He stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Yasmani Grandal, and scored the game-tying run on a David Fletcher single.
"I didn't do a very good job in my at-bats, but I never gave up and that proved to be a good thing," Ohtani said.
Fletcher scored the game winner when Yasiel Puig bobbled Ian Kinsler's single in right field.
Blake Parker (2-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
In Japanese interleague play, Ohtani was 2-for-7 against Maeda with two doubles and four strikeouts. They faced off against each other once on the mound in 2014, when Ohtani got the win.
In Phoenix, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Yoshihisa Hirano worked around a single and a hit batsman to preserve a one-run lead as his team held on to beat the San Diego Padres 3-1.
(Ohtani and Luis Valbuena celebrate after the Angels' walk-off victory.)