Shohei Ohtani seemed to be the only person in Angel Stadium who wasn't incredibly impressed while he mowed down Oakland's first 19 batters in order.
But when Ohtani finally yielded a hit and then struck out Matt Olson with two runners on to end the seventh inning, he gave a fist pump and a celebratory scream at the ground while the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
Even the two-way Japanese sensation realized his first home pitching start was a thrilling moment in his increasingly incredible rookie season.
Ohtani threw seven shutout innings of one-hit ball in his home debut on the mound, propelling the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 victory over the Athletics on Sunday in Anaheim, Calif.
Marcus Semien's clean one-out single to left broke up Ohtani's bid for a perfect game, but the 23-year-old from Japan finished the inning with his 12th strikeout. Mixing fastballs at 99 miles per hour with precipitous breaking pitches and tremendous professional cool, Ohtani (2-0) was too much for Oakland — until the seventh, when he showed resilience, too.
"I wanted to keep a clean zero on the board," Ohtani said. "One hit would [mean] two runs, and it's a huge difference. I wanted that strikeout, and I got it."
Ohtani struck out the side twice during the latest feat in a series of early season superlatives by the prodigy. He won his pitching debut at Oakland last weekend with six strong innings, and he homered in three consecutive games in Anaheim between starts in his attempt to become the major leagues' first regular two-way player in decades.
"Especially with how my spring training went, I wasn't really imagining [the start of the season] to be this good, to be honest," Ohtani said. "I feel better every day. I feel like I'm getting used to everything more and more each day. But it's just the first week."
He was sharp from the beginning on a gorgeous day in Orange County, striking out the side in the first inning on 15 pitches. Ohtani struck out the side again in the fifth inning, and he fanned every Oakland batter except Jonathan Lucroy at least once.
Jed Lowrie drew a four-pitch walk after Semien's single, but Ohtani ended the threat by inducing Khris Davis' weak groundout before fanning Olson. He left the mound to the last of several standing ovations from his enthralled new fans in the sellout crowd — an unheard-of gathering at Angel Stadium in April.
Baltimore 8, New York 7 (12): Orioles closer Brad Brach escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 12th inning, getting the save when Aaron Judge grounded into a pitcher-to-catcher-to-third double play and striking out Giancarlo Stanton, who struck out five times for the second time in a week for the host Yankees.
Detroit 1, Chicago 0: Mike Fiers combined with four relievers on a three-hitter that completed a three-game sweep for the Tigers over the host White Sox. Leonys Martin singled, stole second, advanced to third on a passed all and came home on Miguel Cabrera's sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Boston 8, Tampa Bay 7: Andrew Benintendi hit a tiebreaking RBI double in a six-run eighth inning for the host Red Sox, who improved to 8-1 by sweeping the Rays, losers of eight in a row since winning Opening Day.
Cleveland 3, Kansas City 1: Yan Gomes hit a walkoff two-run homer off Brandon Maurer in the ninth inning for the Indians, who won in the coldest game in the 25-year history of Progressive Field.
Toronto 7, Texas 4: Steve Pearce homered on the first pitch of the game from Cole Hamels, and Kendrys Morales added a three-run shot in the first inning as the Blue Jays beat the host Rangers.
Miami 6, Philadelphia 3: Jake Arrieta lasted only four innings in his debut for the host Phillies, giving up three runs (two earned) and three hits while striking out five against the Marlins, who got a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning from Brian Anderson and avoided a three-game sweep.
Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Cubs, joined Philadelphia a month into spring training, signing a $75 million, three-year deal that could be worth up to $135 million over five seasons.
Pittsburgh 5, Cincinnati 0: Jameson Taillon pitched a one-hitter for his first shutout in 45 big-league starts, giving up Tyler Mahle's single with one out in the third. Taillon struck out seven and walked two, and he also hit an RBI single. Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson homered for the host Pirates.
Arizona 4, St. Louis 1: David Peralta hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Pollock followed with a solo shot as the Diamondbacks beat the host Cardinals, long after Arizona manager Torey Lovullo set off a benches-clearing incident with St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.
Chicago 3, Milwaukee 0: Jose Quintana pitched three-hit ball over six innings, Ben Zobrist homered and the Cubs beat the Brewers to finish 5-4 on their longest opening road trip since 1899.
Los Angeles 2, San Francisco 1 (10): Cody Bellinger overcame food poisoning to score the go-ahead run on Kyle Farmer's pinch-hit double in the 10th inning for the visiting Dodgers.
Atlanta 4, Colorado 0: Sean Newcomb retired 16 batters in a row giving up three first-inning singles, and Nick Markakis and Dansby Swanson hit back-to-back homers for the visiting Braves.
Houston 4, San Diego 1: Max Stassi hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton gave up an unearned run in six innings and the host Astros beat the Padres.