Ohtani and Dodgers rally to beat Padres 5-2 in season opener, first MLB game in South Korea

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, talks with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game against the San Diego Padres at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, right, talks with interpreter Ippei Mizuhara during the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game against the San Diego Padres at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea Wednesday, March 20, 2024, in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers started their Shohei Ohtani era with a memorable win on a night of firsts.

Ohtani’s RBI single capped a four-run eighth-inning rally in his Dodgers debut, and Los Angeles beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 in Wednesday night’s opener, Major League Baseball’s first game in South Korea.

“Just a good night overall for Shohei,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The bigger picture it’s significant because you’ve got such a generational talent that is on your ballclub in a big market in Los Angeles. There’s a lot more eyeballs on the Dodgers and on Major League Baseball.”

The game turned when a routine grounder went through the webbing of the glove of first baseman Jake Cronenworth as the go-ahead run scored.

Ohtani went 2 for 5 with an RBI in his first game since leaving the Los Angeles Angels for a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers. A crowd of 15,952 was on hand to watch at the Gocheok Sky Dome.

The two-way star, limited to batting following elbow surgery, also had a mental error that caused the final out of the eighth. He was called out when he passed second base and then failed to retouch the bag while retreating on Freddie Freeman’s flyout, causing an inning-ending double play.

A bomb threat did not seem to affect pregame preparations. Police found no explosives and said they acted on a tip that the threat was against Ohtani.

Padres pitchers walked nine and hit a batter, and the Dodgers had seven hits, none for extra bases.

San Diego led 2-1 entering the eighth when Max Muncy started with a walk against Wandy Peralta. Teoscar Hernández, also making his Dodgers debut, singled off Jhony Brito (0-1), among the players the Padres obtained in the trade that sent star Juan Soto to the New York Yankees.

James Outman walked and Kiké Hernández’s sacrifice fly tied the score. Adrián Morejón relieved and Gavin Lux hit a chopper to Cronenworth that the two-time All-Star tried to backhand. The ball went through the webbing of the large first baseman’s mitt.

“It could have gone through innings before that. It just happened at that situation and it sucks,” Cronenworth said. “I thought it was an easy double play.”

Hernández came home for a 3-2 lead.

“That’s a tough error for Cro,” Roberts said. “Fortunate break for us. You got to take them when you can get them.”

Betts and Ohtani followed with RBI singles.

Betts, Ohtani and Freeman became the first MVPs to hit 1-2-3 in a batting order since Philadelphia’s Joe Morgan, Pete Rose and Mike Schmidt during 10 games in 1983. The only other instances were by Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, with Rose, Morgan and George Foster on May 13, 1978, and Rose, Morgan and Johnny Bench on May 5, 1976.

Betts, moved to shortstop this season, combined with Ohtani to go 4 for 9 at the top of the order.

Daniel Hudson (1-0), the third of five Dodgers pitchers, threw a one-hit seventh. Evan Phillips pitched a perfect ninth for the save, finishing a four-hitter that gave the Dodgers their sixth straight win over the Padres in an opener.

With new wife Mamiko Tanaka watching from the strands, Ohtani got his first hit with the Dodgers in a 112.3 mph single to right against Yu Darvish. Ohtani was at the plate in the first when Mookie Betts tried to steal second but was sent back because of umpire interference by Lance Barksdale on Luis Campusano behind the plate.

Xander Bogaerts put the Padres ahead in the third with a run-scoring single off Tyler Glasnow. Bogaerts became the third player with hits in five nations after Edgardo Alfonzo and Paul Goldschmidt, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bogaerts also has hits in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and England.

Jason Heyward had a sacrifice fly in the fourth, and San Diego went back ahead in the bottom half when Campusano hit a run-scoring double-play grounder.

Glasnow gave up two runs, two hits and four walks over five innings, throwing 77 pitches. Los Angeles acquired him from Tampa Bay in December and signed the 30-year-old right-hander to a $136.5 million, five-year contract.

“The whole day was kind of a grind,” Glasnow said. “Loud — cool atmosphere.”

Darvish allowed an unearned run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Muncy had the first hit of season, lining a single off the end of his bat in the second and into center.

Starting his 12th season, Bogaerts made his first big league appearance at second as Ha-Seong Kim moved to shortstop.

In the first game since MLB shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18, Padres pitchers were called for four violations, including two by Peralta and one each by Darvish and Yuki Matsui.

Matsui, the fourth of eight San Diego pitchers, got two outs in the sixth inning of his Padres. He agreed to a $28 million, five-year contract.

San Diego’s Ha-Seong Kim, playing in his native country, was 0 for 3 with a walk.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHPs Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery), Brusdar Graterol (shoulder inflammation), Blake Treinen (bruised lung) and Emmet Sheehan (right forearm inflammation) were placed on the 10-day IL. RHP Landon Knack was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Padres: RHPs Glenn Otto (right teres major strain) and Luis Patiño (right elbow inflammation) were placed on the 15-day IL and INF Tucupita Marcano (right knee ACL surgery on Aug. 9) on the 10-day IL.

UP NEXT

RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto makes his major league debut after agreeing to a $325 million, 12-year contract with the Dodgers. He had an 8.38 ERA over 9 2/3 innings in three spring training outings. “I’m not really concerned about the numbers,” he said through a translator. … RHP Joe Musgrove starts for the Padres after going 10-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts last year.

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