Young Pittsburgh Pirates pitching star Paul Skenes faced off against Dodgers slugger Shohei Ohtani in three highly anticipated at-bats Wednesday. Both players had a triumphant moment against one other, but the Pirates won the day in a 10-6 blowout, giving Skenes his third career win.

The prolonged duel between Skenes and Ohtani began at the top of the first when Skenes proved capable of handling one of MLB’s best hitters. The rookie blew three fastballs in a row past Ohtani, striking out the Japanese superstar in short order. All three pitches traveled faster than 100 miles per hour.

After the game, Skenes told reporters that he realized he had a chance to beat Ohtani with this fastball and decided to go right after him. A similar tact later in the game did not prove as effective, but Skenes’ early statement was arguably the moment of the game.

Before fans could see the second round of the Skenes/Ohtani matchup, Pittsburgh blew the game wide open, scoring seven runs at the bottom of the second inning off Los Angeles starter James Paxton. The Dodgers were never in serious contention again, though Ohtani did his part anyway when he hit a two-run bomb off of another Skenes’ fastball in the top of the third. Cutting the lead to five did little in the end, but the home run meant a great deal as Ohtani’s response to the first-inning strikeout.

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter!

A week of sports news in your in-box.
We find the sports news you need to know, so you don't have to.

“I like to call that ‘Big on big’ because I obviously beat him a couple times earlier,” Skenes said after the game. “I think that was the right pitch to throw there; he’s just a pretty darn good player. Stuff like that is going to happen.”

Ohtani earned another hit off Skenes in the fifth inning, but on the whole, the budding Pirates star handled himself well against one of the National League’s top offenses. The 22-year-old pitched five innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out eight batters. The Pirates’ bullpen allowed a few runs toward the end of the game, but the team did more than enough at the plate in the 10-6 win.

Ohtani is an international superstar and recently made history when he signed his record-breaking deal with the Dodgers. No player in the league will outshine him for a long time, but from his time at LSU to the first few games of his MLB career, Skenes has earned a considerable amount of hype in his own right. 

The flamethrower has gained attention off the field for his relationship with LSU gymnast Livvy Dunne, but on the mound, he has proven to be an extremely promising starter for a young Pirates team on the rise.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!