Ohtani strengthens MVP case after steering Angels to victory over Mariners

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Shohei Ohtani further strengthened his MVP case after pitching seven scoreless innings, driving in one run and scoring another as the Los Angeles Angels claimed a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The second straight victory for the Angels over the Mariners dropped the latter in the Wild Card standings, and bolstered their star man's case against the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge AL MVP.

Getting on base twice in three at-bats, Ohtani drove in his 89th run of the season. He also lowered his ERA to 2.43.

"I've said it before: He's the most valuable player of our game right now," interim Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "Until somebody can come in and do the things he does on both sides, I don't see it going any other way.

"I love Aaron Judge like a son, but I'll continue to say it: [Ohtani] can take over a baseball game like nobody can."

Ohtani was more modest in his own assessment however, adding: "I don't like to self-critique myself in any way. One thing I could say is, overall, balance-wise, I'm having a better season this year than I had last year."

The two-time All-Star's performance dropped the Mariners two games behind Toronto Blue Jays and a half game off the Tampa Bay Rays, leaving them five ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the final Wild Card spot. The Angels improved to 63-82 in another disappointing year.