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Bill Plaschke: Ippei Mizuhara's surrender inspires Shohei Ohtani to soar for Dodgers

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

Before the game, through a statement, Mizuhara apologized to Ohtani, his lawyer Michael G. Freedman saying, "He wishes to apologize to Mr. Ohtani, the Dodgers, Major League Baseball and his family."

Also before the game, Ohtani said he was ready to move forward, telling The Los Angeles Times' Jack Harris in Japanese, "I'm very grateful for the Department of Justice's investigation. For me personally, this marks a break from this, and I'd like to focus on baseball."

Then the game began, and that focus became clear. Mizuhara was out of the picture, and Ohtani was ready to roll.

"I just feel for Shohei, that he's had to have this burden," Roberts said. "But … he's handled it really well and hasn't let it affect his performance."

The second pitch he saw from Padres starter Michael King, Ohtani drove a fastball 403 feet into left-center field for his fourth dinger and 175th major league homer, tying Hideki Matsui for the most major league home runs by a Japanese-born player.

Fun fact: The record for Dodgers home runs by a Japanese-born player is held by Dave Roberts, a whopping seven.

 

"I've still got a couple more days," Roberts said.

Another fun fact: This latest home run was caught by a fan who smartly decided to keep the ball.

Ohtani was just getting started. In the second inning he hit a screeching drive to center field that required a diving catch by Jackson Merrill. In the fifth inning he blooped a double down the left-field line. Two innings later he scorched a double into the right-field corner.

The Dodgers hit three more homers, but it was not enough to overcome a blown four-run lead by six Dodgers relievers after starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto could last only five innings because he threw 91 pitches.

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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