Ohtani’s HR helps Angels end skid with 4-2 win over Astros

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Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, watches his home run hit in front of Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, left, during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 25, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

HOUSTON – Two-way star Shohei Ohtani highlighted his versatility for the Los Angeles Angels this weekend in a series against the Houston Astros where he didn't even pitch.

Ohtani's tiebreaking solo home run in the eighth inning helped the Angels to a 4-2 win on Sunday to snap a four-game skid.

It was the second consecutive game with a homer for Ohtani, who is tied for the MLB lead with seven home runs and who is scheduled to pitch on Monday.

Yuli Gurriel's two-run homer tied it in the seventh inning before Ohtani sent a fastball from Luis Garcia 440 feet into center field to put the Angels up 3-2. Garcia (0-2) allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Ohtani's big hit came a day after he played left field in his first appearance at a position other than designated hitter or pitcher in his MLB career.

“I tell you one thing I know he’s not shying away from anything," manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s attacking everything on his plate. ... I love what he’s doing and how he’s doing it."

Anthony Bemboom added an insurance run with an RBI single in the ninth.

The Angels ended their losing streak and avoided a four-game sweep without star Mike Trout. He missed a third consecutive game with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch on Thursday night, but said that he expects to return on Monday.