Shohei Ohtani hits 430-foot shot for his first Dodgers home run

LOS ANGELES — It was finally Shohei Ohtani vintage Wednesday with a loud crack, back arched on his follow-through and a high finish as the baseball flew deep into the night.

In his ninth game with his new team, Ohtani finally hit his first home run in a Dodgers uniform and everything seemed right again.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had been asked about Ohtani and his lack of power for days. And when one of the Dodgers’ most anticipated home runs went over the wall in right-center field, the player who hit it was as stoic as ever.

Ohtani ran onto the bases with no expression on his face and received his salute at home plate from teammate Freddie Freeman. There was a shower of sunflower seeds from Teoscar Hernandez as he approached the dugout steps, then high-fives all around in the Dodgers dugout.

That the long ball came at a key moment only increased the excitement for the Dodgers, who cruised to a 5-4 victory to complete a three-game sweep of the rival San Francisco Giants.

“Honestly, I’m very relieved that I was able to hit my first home run,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton. “It’s been a while and honestly my swing hasn’t been great. So overall I’m very relieved.

Miguel Rojas, who also homered Wednesday, said the rest of the team could have felt even more satisfied.

“It was nice to see that relief on his shoulders and his face, everything,” Rojas said. “It’s really tough. This guy works extremely hard to be a professional and take care of everything every day. … I think it’s going to be huge now that he’s hit the first home run and now he can just relax and to play baseball.

In exchange for a home run to keep forever, Ohtani gave the fan who found it: “A ball, two caps and a bat.”

That may seem like a pittance for a player signed to a $700 million contract, but these are Ohtani memorabilia after all. He’s known for doing magical things on a baseball field and the Dodgers are hoping this will be the first of many.

Ohtani’s homer came one inning after the Giants had scored a run and threatened to steal a victory before traveling to San Francisco for their home opener. The Giants will now have to limp back, losing in five of seven games to open their season.

“You never learn anything about a person until they’ve been through some adversity, whether it’s on the field or in this case off the field,” Roberts said when asked about everything Ohtani has been experiencing lately, from expectations to slow starting power. wise and alleged financial fraud linked to a local bookmaker. “I learned that he is imperturbable. He really is.

Tyler Glasnow picked up his second win in a Dodgers uniform by allowing three runs on four hits over six innings as he threw a record 100 pitches and appeared to fade late in his outing.

Glasnow (2-0) had seven strikeouts with two walks. The only hit he allowed in the first four innings was a homer in the third off No. 8 hitter Patrick Bailey.

“Two wins is good and obviously I don’t feel perfect; I wish I felt perfect,” Glasnow said. “…When you don’t feel perfect, this is the best team to be on because there are so many guys this time around who are amazing.”

Rojas had an RBI to go along with his second home run as he started at shortstop. Mookie Betts moved to second base for the night and continued his torrid start on offense. His leadoff single in the first inning put him on base in seven of his first nine at-bats this season.

Rojas gave the Dodgers their first run in the second inning on his grounder before the Giants tied it on Bailey’s homer in the third.

Will Smith hit an RBI double in the third inning and Hernandez followed it with an RBI single as the Dodgers extended their advantage to 3-1. Rojas’ home run in the fourth made it 4-1.

The Giants managed a run against Glasnow in the sixth inning when Michael Conforto hit a two-run single.

California Daily Newspapers

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