DETROIT (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez pitched five shutout innings in his return to the Tigers, helping Detroit to a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
“That’s the best result I could have gotten,” he said. “I came back and I helped us win a game. I wasn’t nervous, because I had some games in the minors. As soon I threw the first pitch, I was ready to go.”
The Tigers’ Riley Greene had a 448-foot homer on the first pitch he saw from Angels starter Shohei Ohtani (10-8) — the longest home run Ohtani has allowed in the majors, one that went over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-centerfield. Greene ended up reaching base four times.
“That’s a spot where you are looking for one pitch in a specific location, and that’s what he threw,” the rookie said. “It’s awesome to get the team off to a fast start, especially when you are facing a great pitcher like Ohtani.”
Ohtani left the game with a stomach virus after four innings, in which he allowed three runs on five hits and four walks.
“I didn’t feel well all day, but I wasn’t going to miss a game because I didn’t feel well,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “My results weren’t good, but I think I just didn’t make the right pitches.”
Rodriguez (2-3) hadn’t pitched in the majors since suffering a rib-cage injury on May 18. He left the team after a June 9 rehab assignment to deal with family issues, and was on the restricted list until Friday.
“I expected him to be good — he had worked well in rehab and he told us he was ready,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
Detroit’s pitchers held the Angels scoreless in the final 15 innings of the series. Los Angeles had two on and two out in the third, but Greene made a diving catch in center to rob Luis Rengifo of at least one RBI.
“That’s a game-changing play right there,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “He makes that catch, and then Reyes takes one away from (Taylor) Ward at the wall when it was pouring. If it wasn’t raining, that’s over the fence.”
Ohtani retired the first two batters in the fourth, but walked Akil Baddoo and Greene before Victor Reyes made it 3-0 with a triple.
“That was my biggest mistake,” Ohtani said. “If I make one more pitch, I can finish with only one run allowed.”
Kody Clemens increased the lead to 4-0 in the fifth with an RBI double off Jimmy Herget.
Angels: Nevin said he will check with Ohtani before Monday’s game in Tampa Bay, but he expected him to play.
“We call him ‘Superman’ for a lot of reasons, but today showed he’s really human,” Nevin said. “He gets sick like the rest of us, but I’m sure he’s going to want to be right back out there tomorrow.”
Tigers: 2B Jonathan Schoop missed the game after spraining his right ankle in Saturday’s win. Hinch said Schoop could be placed on the injured list if he’s not able to play by Tuesday.
Angels: Open a four-game series in Tampa Bay on Monday. Tucker Davidson (2-3, 6.75 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener for Los Angeles against Jeffrey Springs (5-3, 2.32).
Tigers: Off Monday, then host the San Francisco Giants for two games, with Drew Hutchison (1-6, 4.23) expected to start Tuesday for the Tigers against Carlos Rodon (11-6, 2.89).