Ohtani hits 175th home run in Major League Baseball, tying Matsui for most by a Japanese-born player

LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani’s 175th home run in the majors was not only a milestone, it was record-tying.

Ohtani equaled Hideki Matsui for the most homers by a Japanese-born player with a solo shot during the first inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ game against the San Diego Padres on Friday night.

“I’m happy personally. It’s an honor to be on the same page as him,” Ohtani said through an interpreter after the Dodgers’ 8-7 loss in 11 innings. “He’s known as a power hitter, left-handed hitter like me. It’s just an honor to be able to be associated with somebody like that.”

Ohtani drove an elevated outside fastball from Michael King 403 feet into the center-field stands with one out, for his fourth homer of the season.

On Friday afternoon, a federal judge in Los Angeles ordered Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s former longtime interpreter, to undergo gambling addiction treatment in a sports betting case stemming from allegations he stole $16 million from Ohtani’s bank account to pay off debts.

In a group interview with reporters after the game, Ohtani did not take questions about the investigation.

A Dodgers public relations staff member said, “We’re talking about baseball.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game that Ohtani has handled the situation “with flying colors. He’s done a great job of just focusing on playing baseball and not letting it be a distraction for him.”

Ohtani went 3 for 5 in the 8-7 loss to the Padres in 11 innings. He is batting .457 (16-for-35) during his eight-game hitting streak, including four homers, 12 extra-base hits and seven RBIs.

“He really seemed tonight just like he always has each day. And it’s a credit to him. He’s really unflappable,” Roberts said after the game.

A two-time AL MVP, Ohtani signed a $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers during the offseason after six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

Matsui played 10 seasons in the majors from 2003-12. His first seven years were with the New York Yankees followed by one season apiece with the Angels, Oakland and Tampa Bay.

“Mr. Matsui was a star player when I was a kid and then Shohei-san tied those numbers, it’s an amazing thing,” Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto said.

Ichiro Suzuki is the only other Japanese-born player to reach the century mark in home runs with 117.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal in the Japanese baseball industry as well. So I’m going to look forward to the next one,” Ohtani said.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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