Ohtani Shohei was robbed of a home run. It was a ball that could have been a home run in terms of distance, but it was caught in the rain.
Ohtani started as the designated 안전놀이터 hitter twice in an away game against the Atlanta Braves in the 2023 Major League Baseball held on the 1st (Korean time) at True Park in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and recorded 2 hits in 3 at-bats, 2 intentional walks and 1 walk. Season batting average of 0.305.
Ohtani made his first at-bat with no runners and no runners in the top of the first inning with a 1–0 lead. He got on base after being hit by Atlanta starting pitcher Charlie Morton on a 1-1 curveball. He got into third base on an opponent wide throw and a walk, but failed to home.
Ohtani’s second at-bat was a chance with 2 out and 3 base in the top of the 2nd inning. However, Morton sent Ohtani out on intentional death. In the top of the 4th inning, with a 2-0 lead, the 2 outs and 1st baseman pulled Morton’s 95th mph four-seam and pulled out a right-handed hit. Since the second game of the double header against the Detroit Tigers on the 28th of last month, he has hit in five consecutive games. However, he failed to score again due to a missed follow-up.
Ohtani appeared as the lead batter in the top of the 7th inning, leading 3-1, and faced the changed pitcher AJ Minter. He yanked the cutter on the sixth pitch and once again made a right-handed hit. However, they failed to advance due to CJ Cron’s third baseman’s double play.
The situation in which the home run was stolen was the last at-bat. In the top of the ninth inning, Ohtani, who entered the at-bat with 1st and 2nd base, defeated right-hander Dasbel Hernandez’s 3-pitch, 96-mile four-seam. Even though it was a large batted ball with a distance of 406 feet (123.8 m), it was dismissed as a fly ball.
There was a lake rain in center field. Michael Harris II jumped and caught it exactly at the spot where the batted ball fell.
Sports Illustrated (SI) reported, “According to Statcast, the ball flew 406 feet at a speed of 101.2 miles per hour (162.8 km). It would have been a home run in 15 of 30 ballparks.”
According to Japan’s Sponichianex, Harris II, who stole the home run, said, “It was fun. If it went over, it was worth 3 points. After running toward the fence, I decided I could catch it. It was the perfect height to climb up (to the fence) and catch it. I thought I could catch it. “He smiled.
At the same time, he admired Ohtani’s strong batting ball, saying, “Ohtani had a good swing with power.”