Shohei Ohtani milestone can't hide Dodgers' bullpen woes in loss to Padres

Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani pulled even with one of his boyhood idols with a milestone home run in the first inning and added doubles in the fifth and seventh innings to extend a torrid eight-game stretch in which the Dodgers slugger is batting .458 (16 for 35) with four homers, seven doubles and five RBIs.

But San Diego torched the Dodgers bullpen for four runs in the sixth and seventh innings and nicked it for another run in the 11th while the Dodgers couldn’t put a dent over in the Padres bullpen over the final six innings, the difference in San Diego’s 8-7, 11-inning comeback victory before 49,606 in Chavez Ravine.

Ohtani hit the 175th home run of his career in the first, tying him with former New York Yankees and Angels slugger Hideki Matsui for the most homers by a Japanese-born major leaguer, but he was left in the on-deck circle when Mookie Betts flied out to center field with a runner on third to end the game.

The Padres scored the winning run in the top of the 11th off Dodgers left-hander Alex Vesia, who retired the first two batters on a strikeout and popup before yielding a two-out, two-strike RBI single to rookie Jackson Merrill for an 8-7 San Diego lead.

Padres closer Roberto Suarez retired three straight batters in the bottom of the 11th to seal the win.

Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto gave up three runs and four hits in five innings, striking out six and walking one, and was in line for a win after the Dodgers offense busted out for seven runs and five hits, four of them homers, in the first three innings.


But the Dodgers bullpen couldn’t hold a 7-3 lead, reliever Daniel Hudson yielding a solo homer to Jake Cronenworth in the sixth inning and Ryan Brasier giving up three runs in the seventh on a Xander Bogaerts’ RBI groundout and a Fernando Tatis Jr. two-run homer to left-center to tie the score 7-7.

Yamamoto lasted only one inning against the Padres in his March 21 Dodgers debut in South Korea, giving up five runs and four hits in the 43-pitch frame, before recovering to hold the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs scoreless over five innings in each of his next two starts.

The 25-year-old right-hander was punished for two early mistakes Friday night, Manny Machado crushing a hanging curveball for a two-run homer to left field in the first and Ha-Seong Kim lining a fat fastball into the left-field seats for a solo shot in the second.

But Yamamoto blanked the Padres in the third, fourth and fifth innings, striking out Tyler Wade looking with a 95-mph fastball and Bogaerts looking an 80-mph curve to end the fifth, and departed with a 7-3 lead.


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