Shohei Ohtani helped himself Monday in emphatic fashion.
The Los Angeles Angels‘ All-Star hit one of MLB’s hardest-hit home runs of the season against the Baltimore Orioles in between trips to the mound as the Angels’ starting pitcher.
With two men on, one out and the score tied 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning, Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez threw an 80 mph breaking ball on the first pitch. It found the middle of the plate, and Ohtani made the most of the offering.
He launched the ball to right-center field. As soon as he connected, there was no doubt that the ball was leaving the field of play. The only question was whether Camden Yards could contain it.
The ball traveled over the fans in the right-center field bleachers and bounced off the top of the fence on the exterior of the park. Ohtani cleared the bases and crossed home plate, where his teammates adorned him with the Samurai warrior helmet that has become the signature of his home-run celebrations.
The home run was Ohtani’s ninth of the season and raised his RBI tally to 29. It gave the Angels a 7-4 lead and was one of the hardest hit balls in MLB this season. Per Statcast, the 114.6 mph exit velocity rates as the 15th-hardest home run of the season. The ball traveled 456 feet, making it the 14th-longest home run of the season.
The blast, of course, was the longest home run of the season hit by a pitcher. But it came in second in exit velocity to a 116.7 mph home run hit by Ohtani earlier this season.
Ohtani needed the help after offering up home runs to Anthony Santander and Adam Frazier in the earlier innings. Who better to look to than himself?
The do-everything All-Star is in the midst of another sensational season. Ohtani entered Monday slashing .287/.361/.513 with 8 home runs, 6 stolen bases and 26 RBI. He was sporting a 2.74 ERA and 0.913 WHIP with 66 strikeouts and 20 walks in 46 innings on the mound.