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Pirates’ Paul Skenes Gets High Praise For Shohei Ohtani Showdown

If you’re a baseball fan, Pittsburgh is where your attention should have been Wednesday night for Pirates-Dodgers.

In what could ultimately become a critical series in the short- and perhaps long-term future of the Pirates, Pittsburgh has taken the first two games of the series behind its young aces. After Jared Jones pitched the game of his life Tuesday night, former No. 1 pick Paul Skenes toed the rubber Wednesday for a must-see matchup against Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers.

Skenes got the first laugh when he blew Ohtani away in the first inning with three straight fastballs, all of them touching 100 mph.

Ohtani, though, would settle the score just two innings later.

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Ultimately, Ohtani’s dinger didn’t mean much. The Pirates jumped all over James Paxton with seven second-inning runs and held off the vaunted Dodgers offense. Skenes impressed again but didn’t necessarily dominate the LA, either. He allowed three runs on six hits over fve innings while striking out eight and walking one in the process of improving to 3-0 on his career.

It’s safe to say Skenes has Ohtani’s attention, though.

“HIs stuff that first at-bat was really good,” Ohtani told reporters after the game, per ESPN.com. “I couldn’t put together good swings, but overall just really good stuff.”

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Skenes, meanwhile, couldn’t help but tip his cap to the best player in the world, as Ohtani became the big leaguer to homer off Skenes’ electric fastball.

“I like to call that big on big because I obviously beat him a couple times earlier,” Skenes said, per ESPN.com. “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.”

What really matters, however, is the Pirates secured the win. They’ll try to complete the sweep Thursday night at PNC Park with a 6:40 p.m. ET first pitch. Pregame coverage on Sportsnet Pittsburgh begins at 5:30 p.m.

Featured image via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images