Red Sox

Alex Cora explained why he’s ‘in awe’ of Shohei Ohtani

"This is something MLB hasn’t seen since Babe Ruth."

Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani during the 2021 season. AP Photo/Ashley Landis

The Red Sox defeated the Angels 5-4 on Monday, thanks in part to Rafael Devers’s two-run home run.

Boston has now won 10 of 11, and leads the American League East by 4.5 games over the Rays.

The Canadiens avoided a Stanley Cup Final sweep, defeating the Lightning 3-2 in overtime. Tampa Bay still leads the series, 3-1.

The U.S. women’s soccer team defeated Mexico 4-0 in the final friendly before the team heads to Japan for the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

In international news, Italy and Spain meet in the first Euro 2020 semifinal today at 3 p.m. ET. And tonight, Argentina and Colombia meet in the second semifinal of Copa America at 9 p.m. ET. The winner will face Brazil in the final on Saturday.

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Alex Cora on Shohei Ohtani: With two on and two outs in the ninth inning (and protecting a fragile one-run lead), the Red Sox had to face Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani on Monday.

The 27-year-old Japanese All-Star nearly delivered, sending hard-hit line drive into right field off of Boston relief pitcher Adam Ottavino. Fortunately for the Red Sox, second baseman Christian Arroyo was positioned in the right place, and made the throw in time to first base to get the final out for a 5-4 win.

Afterward, Red Sox manager Alex Cora could only marvel at Ohtani’s talent, given that Boston — having narrowly escaped his bat on Monday — will face the Angels’ multi-talented star again on Tuesday. Only this time, he will be on the mound as a pitcher.

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“I think the most impressive thing is just it has to be very hard to prepare to do both at this level. The workouts, I don’t know how it works, and bullpens,” Cora said after the game.

“This is the best level in baseball and for him to be able to be successful doing both is amazing,” Cora said of Ohtani’s hitting and pitching. “I’m actually in awe with everything that he’s doing. We knew throughout the process that he was good. The process was very interesting from when we tried to recruit him, but it just didn’t work out. I think he found a good place to play. He loves it here. I think the people here in southern California are having a blast watching him.”

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Asked if he is the frontrunner for the American League MVP award, Cora speculated that baseball “should make a new award for him.”

“He’s just a different breed,” Cora added. “It’s something different. This is something MLB hasn’t seen since Babe Ruth. He should be in the conversation. The things that he’s done, the way he has dominated the game. He’s probably the best player in the game right now because he’s able to do both at a high level. He’s not the best hitter, he’s not the best pitcher, but if you combine everything, he’s the best player.”

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More from Boston.com:

Danny Santana’s outfield assist from Monday: Originally called safe, the ruling was overturned after a Red Sox challenge.

The Canadiens extended the Stanley Cup Final thanks to Josh Anderson’s diving winner:

On this day: In 1933, Major League Baseball held its first All-Star Game. Unsurprisingly, the star of the show was Babe Ruth, whose two-run home run proved to be the difference in a 4-2 American League win.

1933 Globe All-Star Game
– Globe Archives

Daily highlight: U.S. midfielder Lindsey Horan opened the scoring in Monday’s 4-0 win over Mexico with an emphatic volley, assisted from Carli Lloyd’s header.

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