Shohei Ohtani throws 1-hit shutout and hits 2 HRs day after Angels pull him from trade market

The legend of Shohei Ohtani grew enormously Thursday.

Just one day after the Los Angeles Angels reportedly pulled him from the trade block before Tuesday's deadline, Ohtani did something he had never done in his MLB career: pitch a complete game. He allowed one hit and struck out eight in the Angels' 6-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.

That was Game 1 of a doubleheader. In Game 2, Ohtani did something no one in MLB history has done, per Elias Sports Bureau: He hit a homer in one leg of a doubleheader after throwing a shutout in the other leg.

And actually, he homered twice.

Those two homers were Ohtani's 37th and 38th of the season, extending his lead for most in MLB. They also upped Ohtani's home run pace for the season, from 57.4 homers to 59.8. With Aaron Judge's American League record of 62 long balls looming, that makes Thursday a very big day.

On the pitching side, the last time Ohtani pitched more than eight innings in a game was almost six years ago in 2017 in his final game for the Nippon-Ham Fighters, the last of his 13 complete games in NPB. He had pitched eight innings in an MLB game five times in his career and not since Sept. 29, 2022.

The Angels pulled Ohtani in the seventh inning of the second game of the doubleheader due to some cramping, per the team. The Angels won the second leg 11-4.

It was an incredible performance but not totally unprecedented. On June 23, 1971, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Rick Wise threw not only a shutout but also a no-hitter while hitting two homers in the same game.

Shohei Ohtani went the distance for the first time in his MLB career. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
Shohei Ohtani went the distance for the first time in his MLB career. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Angels are keeping Shohei Ohtani, whose AL MVP odds are even higher now

As you could imagine, this stuff was good for Ohtani's already overwhelming AL MVP odds, as he went from -1000 entering Thursday to an unfathomable -10000 at BetMGM.

All of that came one day after the Angels reportedly decided to keep Ohtani at the trade deadline rather than deal him for prospects and embrace a post-Ohtani era. The Angels are going for it, and they started buying at the deadline by acquiring starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and reliever Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

With the second game of the doubleheader still underway Thursday, the Angels are 53-49 and sit 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the third AL wild-card spot, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ahead of them. The good news, in addition to the Giolito trade and Ohtani continuing to exist, is that Mike Trout is expected to return next month to aid the playoff push in Anaheim.