Shohei Ohtani Becomes First Japanese MLB Player to Hit for the Cycle

Shohei Ohtani in 2018
Shohei Ohtani in 2018. Photo by Peter Joneleit/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

History was made on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida as Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani became the first ever MLB player born in Japan to hit for the cycle.

Ohtani started out with a first inning three-run home run off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough.

He then followed up with a third-inning double off and a fifth-inning triple off of Yarbrough to draw within a single of the feat.

Finally, in the top of the seventh inning, Ohtani recorded his fourth hit off the night, a single off of reliever Hunter Wood, to finish off his accomplishment and become the first player of Japanese origin to complete the cycle in a Major League Baseball game.

Ohtani claimed after his feat that he wasn’t even trying to go for a cycle. Through his translator, the second-year player said of his seventh-inning at-bat, “I wasn’t necessarily trying to hit a single. 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.”

He also expressed his appreciation for the historical significance of his feat, saying that considering the number of legendary Japanese players in MLB history, he was lucky to be able the first to hit for the cycle.

Ohtani’s big night powered the Angels to a 5-3 victory over Tampa.