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Shohei Ohtani Reaches 3 Times in Home Debut as the Dodgers Rout the Cardinals 7-1
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By Associated Press
Published 3 weeks ago on
March 28, 2024

Shohei Ohtani shines in strong season start with the Dodgers, contributing to a 7-1 victory over the Cardinals. (AP/Jae C. Hong)

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LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani reached three times in his home debut for the Dodgers, and Los Angeles beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 Thursday in the Dodger Stadium opener to a season of sky-high expectations.

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman homered in the third inning, and Tyler Glasnow pitched six innings of two-hit ball for the Dodgers. One week after Los Angeles began the season with two games in South Korea, the club showed off the talent throughout an expensive, star-studded roster headlined by three former MVPs at the top of the batting order.

Ohtani’s Impressive Debut

No addition was bigger than Ohtani, who showed no signs of distraction in a tumultuous week in which he emphatically denied betting on sports after the firing of his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

After receiving a standing ovation from the raucous sellout crowd of 52,667, Ohtani doubled in his first official at-bat at Chavez Ravine since agreeing to his record 10-year, $700 million contract. The two-time AL MVP followed with a walk and a single as the Dodgers’ designated hitter.

Key Performances

Freeman had two hits and drove in three runs, while Betts scored three runs while reaching base three times. Teoscar Hernández doubled and scored in the sixth inning of his own Dodgers home debut, while Max Muncy drove in two runs.

Glasnow (1-0) was sharp in his home debut for his hometown team, striking out five and allowing just one run over 81 pitches. Glasnow, who also started the Dodgers’ opener in Seoul last week, is expected to be a pillar for Los Angeles after its rotation was decimated by injuries and off-field troubles last season.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched three innings of one-hit relief for his first save.

Cardinals’ Struggles

Paul Goldschmidt homered off Glasnow, and Miles Mikolas (0-1) yielded seven hits and five runs for the Cardinals, who managed just three hits on their opening day.

The Dodgers’ roster is the oldest in the majors, with an average of 31 years, according to MLB. It’s also a remarkably talented group after a monumental offseason in which Los Angeles spent nearly $1.4 billion on five players, adding a gallery of new stars to an already loaded roster.

Offseason Acquisitions

Although Ohtani’s deal was the headliner, the Dodgers also signed two of the top starting pitchers on the market in Glasnow (five years, $136.5 million) and Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto (12 years, $325 million) while adding slugger Hernández (one year, $23.5 million) and keeping homegrown catcher Will Smith (10 years, $140 million).

The Dodgers’ three MVPs then went a combined 5 for 6 with two walks, a double and two homers against Mikolas, who criticized the Dodgers this month for playing “checkbook baseball” and saying “it would be great to stick it to the Dodgers” in the opening series.

By the time Los Angeles chased him with Ohtani’s single in the fifth inning, it was clear Mikolas’ mouth had written a check his arm couldn’t cash.

Ohtani got a standing ovation when he went to the plate in the first, and he cracked a double to right — but he was thrown out on the basepaths when Betts was held at third and Ohtani didn’t see him stopping.

Victor Scott II went 0 for 3 and stole a base in his major league debut for St. Louis, playing center field and batting eighth.

Trainer’s Room

Cardinals: Several key players are on the injured list to start the season, including prized free-agent signing Sonny Gray, new reliever Keynan Middleton and outfielders Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson.

Dodgers: Relievers Blake Treinen (bruised lung) and Brusdar Graterol (right shoulder inflammation) are both still “a ways away” from playing, manager Dave Roberts said, although both played catch this week.

Up Next

Left-hander Zack Thompson makes his 11th career start for the Cardinals on Friday. Bobby Miller starts for the Dodgers in his return from his solid rookie season.

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