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Ohtani Breaks Matsui's HR Record as Dodgers Rip Mets to End Skid
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
April 22, 2024

Shohei Ohtani broke Hideki Matsui's major league record for homers by a Japanese-born player with a two-run shot in the third inning, helping the Dodgers snap their three-game skid in a 10-0 victory over the Mets on Sunday. (AP/Ashley Landis)

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LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani broke Hideki Matsui’s major league record for homers by a Japanese-born player with a huge two-run shot in the third inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their three-game skid with a 10-0 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday.

Ohtani crushed a 423-foot line drive off Adrian Houser (0-2) deep into the right-field bleachers for the two-time AL MVP’s fifth homer of the year and the 176th of his six-plus seasons in the majors with the Angels and Dodgers. That eclipsed the record set by Matsui, the former New York Yankees slugger who played 10 seasons in North America.

“Honestly, I was just relieved I was able to get it over with,” Ohtani said through his interpreter.

Ohtani said Matsui’s record was “not something I was cognizant of when I first started my career here, but as I got to know about it,” he began to pay attention to the numbers.

When Ohtani was asked if he also hopes to emulate Matsui’s famed playoff poise if and when he finally reaches the MLB postseason, Ohtani joked that he’s currently more focused on breaking manager Dave Roberts’ record for the most homers by a Japanese-born player in a Dodgers uniform.

Roberts leads Ohtani 7-5 in that competition.

“Hideki Matsui was a great ballplayer, a great home run hitter, a world champion,” Roberts said. “I know that Shohei admired him, so for him to eclipse that mark, it’s a big deal. I know whatever kind of mark is ahead of Shohei, he’s trying to take them all down.”

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Mets: José Quintana (1-1, 3.05 ERA) takes the mound Monday in San Francisco to open a three-game series.

Dodgers: James Paxton (2-0, 2.81 ERA) starts Tuesday at Washington to open a nine-game trip.

Glasnow Sharp, Strikes Out 10

Tyler Glasnow (4-1) struck out 10 and held New York to seven singles over eight strong innings while Los Angeles snapped the Mets’ six-game winning streak and salvaged the finale of a disappointing 3-6 homestand.

Andy Pages hit a three-run shot for his first career homer during the Dodgers’ eight-run fifth inning. Freddie Freeman and Will Smith also delivered two-run doubles and Mookie Betts had an RBI single in the fifth.

“It’s the first complete baseball game I can recall (by the Dodgers this season),” Roberts said. “We were clean defensively. I thought the at-bats were really good, especially the guys at the bottom of the order. … And then obviously what Tyler did. Just overall, it was fun to just watch a clean baseball game.”

After winning 12 of 15 since their 0-5 start to the season, the Mets were shut out for the second time this year. New York had won eight of its previous nine.

Houser couldn’t control the Dodgers’ potent lineup, giving up seven runs on eight hits and four walks in his fourth start for his new team.

Los Angeles chased Houser with six straight batters reaching base in the fifth. After Betts drove in Pages, Ohtani singled off Houser’s leg before Freeman and Smith delivered back-to-back doubles.

“Just making too many mistakes,” Houser said. “Wasn’t able to get in sync in that fifth inning. I need to be able to get some quick outs there and keep the team in the ballgame. These guys have been playing great, and I’m letting them down right now. Can’t be doing that. Got to clean some things up.”

In his second at-bat of the inning, Pages put the Dodgers up 10-0 with a long drive to center off Grant Hartwig for his first homer in the 23-year-old Cuban outfielder’s fifth major league game.

Glasnow then delivered the shutdown start needed by the Dodgers after they gave up 15 runs to the Mets in the previous two games. Working quickly and efficiently, the veteran right-hander became the first Dodgers starter to pitch into the eighth inning since Clayton Kershaw did it July 15, 2022.

Glasnow, who fell ill during a rocky start against Washington six days earlier, didn’t walk a batter, didn’t give up an extra-base hit and allowed just one Mets runner to reach second base before the eighth.

New York loaded the bases with three singles in the eighth, but Glasnow struck out pinch-hitter Tyrone Taylor to end the inning, pumping his fist to a standing ovation from the crowd of 49,287.

“(I was) having a good day, and then I think if I were to give up runs in the last inning, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Glasnow said.

Trainer’s Room

Mets: LHP Brooks Raley went on the 15-day injured list with elbow inflammation. He had pitched just once since Monday. New York recalled Hartwig from Triple-A Syracuse. Raley said he had felt pain for “a few days,” but he feels confident in a quick return after getting a cortisone shot.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler will make at least one more minor league rehab appearance, taking the mound Wednesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Buehler’s control hasn’t been sharp so far in his return to the mound from Tommy John surgery, so the Dodgers aren’t committing to a return date for the longtime pillar of their starting rotation.

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