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Paul Skenes and Shohei Ohtani trade feats of baseball awesomeness

Paul Skenes was fresh off his second MLB win, pitching six innings to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 10-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on May 29. But he faced an entirely different test on Wednesday night, when the Pirates welcomed Shohei Ohtani and co. to PNC Park.

At least in the first innings, it wasn’t much of a contest.

After Skenes struck out Mookie Betts with three 100-plus mph fastballs and a sharp slider, it was time for Ohtani to face off against the fastball pitcher for the first time.

Advantage, Skenes.

It didn’t take long for Ohtani to return to the dugout, as did Betts, after Skenes threw three consecutive fastballs over 100 mph to the two-time AL MVP, but Ohtani swung and missed on all three.

But Skenes didn’t have the same success the next time Ohtani came to bat, in the top of the third inning.

With a runner on first and two outs, Ohtani worked the count full out and threw a 100 mph fastball inside on the third pitch on a 2-2 count. Skenes again ramped up and slammed a 101 mph fastball to second base.

Ohtani managed to turn it on.

To get his hands around and hit that fastball right down the middle? Unbelievable.

I think I speak for everyone when I suggest that these two go head-to-head in this year’s All-Star Game.