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Shohei Ohtani hit first home run for Los Angeles Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shohei Ohtani knew he hadn’t homered in a while and felt relief when he sent a ball soaring into Dodger Stadium’s right-field pavilion.

“Honestly, very relieved that I was able to hit my first homer,” Ohtani said through a translator after his seventh-inning drive helped the Dodgers to a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night. “It’s been a while and honestly my swing hasn’t been great. So overall very relieved.”

Playing his ninth game for his new team, Ohtani pulled a 93.2 mph sinker from left-hander Taylor Rogers on the upper, outer portion of the strike zone. The ball left his bat at 105.6 mph and landed 430 feet from the plate, where it was picked up by a fan.

“I got myself cut into a fastball count there and then figured I’d try to do the same thing I did yesterday,” said Rogers, who got Ohtani to ground out on a nearly identical pitch in Tuesday’s game. “That was my plan. Throw it over there and see if he’ll do the same thing as yesterday.”

The home run came in the 41st plate appearance for the two-time MVP, who left the Los Angeles Angels after last season as a free agent and agreed to a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Dodgers.

Ohtani’s home run, the 172nd of his major league career, put the Dodgers ahead 5-3. The two-way star is limited to hitting this year following elbow surgery in September.

After the game, Ohtani met the fan who caught his home run ball. He gave the fan a ball, a bat and two hats in exchange.

“Obviously, it’s a very special ball,” Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton. “A lot of feelings toward it. I’m very grateful that it’s back.”