Ohtani first Japanese-born player to hit for cycle

 espn.com  06/14/2019 05:14:21 
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Ohtani records first career cycle (1:56)

Shohei Ohtani hits a three-run homer in the first, a double in the third, a triple in the fifth, and a single in the seventh to complete the cycle in the Angels' win. (1:56)

1:33 AM ET

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit for the cycle Thursday night in a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ohtani became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle in MLB. He did it with a single in the seventh inning off Tampa Bay reliever Hunter Wood. That followed a three-run home run in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth.

"I wasn't necessarily trying to hit a single,'' he said through a translator. "I was just trying to get on base, whether it was a base on balls or any other way because it was still a close game.''

After the triple in his third at-bat, Ohtani's cycle quest became the focus of the game.

"People were talking about it. It's not like a no-hitter when no one mentions it,'' said Angels manager Brad Ausmus, who was most impressed that the left-handed-hitting Ohtani got his first three hits off a left-handed pitcher. "We forget how young he is. He's in a new country, his second year here. He's 24 years old. He carries a lot on his shoulders, but he still stands pretty tall.''

Ohtani joins Jorge Polanco as the only players to hit for the cycle this season. He is the seventh different Angels player to hit for the cycle and the first since Mike Trout in 2013.

Ohtani is just the sixth player in MLB history to hit for the cycle as a DH, and first since Jeff DaVanon (also for the Angels) in 2004.

"You need some power to hit the home run, some speed to accomplish a triple,'' Ohtani said. "To be able to do that at the major league level is going to lead to a lot of confidence. The important thing now is to try to continue this tomorrow.''

Ohtani said being the first Japanese player to do it was extra special.

"There's been so many other great Japanese players before me. Being the first to accomplish it makes me very happy,'' he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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