June 14 (UPI) — Los Angeles Angeles designated hitter Shohei Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle during a 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ohtani accomplished the feat after hitting a first-inning three-run homer, sparking the victory Thursday at Tropicana Field in Tampa.
“I’m simply very happy that I was able to accomplish this,” Ohtani told reporters, according to MLB.com. “There have been so many other great Japanese players that have come before me. Being the first one to accomplish it, I’m really happy and it’s going to lead to a lot of confidence down the road.”
Tommy La Stella began the game with a double for the Angels. Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough followed that exchange by hitting Mike Trout with a pitch.
Ohtani came next. The Angels slugger clubbed a 1-1 sinker over the left center field fence for a 414-foot bomb. The blast had an exit velocity of 111 mph and a launch angle of 18 degrees, according to Statcast.
Ohtani added a double in the third inning and a triple in the fifth frame. Albert Pujols plated Ohtani after the triple by smacking a two-run homer in the fifth inning, giving the Angels a 5-0 lead.
Thte Rays added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ohtani completed his cycle in his fourth at-bat, slapping a line drive dingle to center field off of Rays reliever Hunter Wood in the top of the seventh inning.
Ohtani was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the win. He is now hitting .281 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs this season.
The Angles face the Rays at 7:10 p.m. Friday in Tampa.