WATCH: Shohei Ohtani homers on Paul Skenes’ 100-mph fastball in battle of stars

Wednesday night’s contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates (GameTracker) featured perhaps the most enticing one-on-one matchup possible these days in Major League Baseball: Shohei Ohtani, the best player in baseball, and Paul Skenes, the new big thing.

Skenes won the first round between the two, punching out Ohtani in the first inning on three fastballs. The velocity of those pitches? Try 101.3, 100.1 and 100.8 mph. Ohtani whiffed on the first and third fastball and foul-tipped the second.

“His stuff that first at-bat was really good,” Ohtani said. “I couldn’t put together good swings, but overall just really good stuff.”

Here’s a look at that sequence in motion:

The second round took place in the third inning, after Skenes’ teammates had staked out a 7-0 lead against lefty James Paxton. This go-around, Ohtani prevailed by launching his 15th home run of the season, a two-run shot, on a full-count fastball that caught too much of the plate. Here’s the home run in video form:

According to Statcast, Ohtani’s home run had an exit velocity of 105.6 mph and traveled some 415 feet. Four of the six pitches Ohtani saw in the second at-bat clocked in at 99.5 mph or faster, with the final two pitches clearing the 100-mph threshold.

“I like to call that big on big because I obviously beat him a couple times earlier,” Skenes said. “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 also took the third round, albeit in less spectacular fashion, by singling to right field on a 1-1 fastball. The hit had a 107 mph exit velocity, indicating Ohtani made good contact.

Ohtani, 29, entered Wednesday night having hit .321/.390/.590 (175 OPS+) with 14 home runs, 38 RBI and 14 stolen bases over his first 59 games. His contributions had been worth an estimated 3 Wins Above Replacement, per the calculations at Baseball Reference.

Skenes, 22, took the mound having compiled a 2.45 ERA (166 ERA+) and a 6.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first four big-league starts. Through his first four innings on Wednesday night, he had held the Dodgers to two runs on three hits and a walk, all the while striking out six of 16 batters faced.

The Dodgers and Pirates are scheduled to conclude their series on Thursday. They’ll meet again in Los Angeles from Aug. 9-11.

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