Shohei Ohtani hits 1st Dodgers HR after (relatively) slow start

Shohei Ohtani has his first home run with the Los Angeles Dodgers after nine games of expectation.

The two-way phenom notched his first long ball of the season Wednesday in a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants, taking reliever Taylor Rogers way deep at Dodger Stadium. Statcast measured the ball as traveling 430 feet and 105.6 mph off the bat.

As with many Ohtani homers, the contact just sounded different:

Here's another angle, focused on the man himself:

The fan who caught the homer was later seen being escorted from the stands. The Athletic's Sam Blum later reported that she exchanged the home run ball for a ball, two caps, a bat and a meeting with Ohtani.

Home runs by left-handed hitters are a rarity for Rogers, a sidearm left-hander. Ohtani's same-side homer is only the eighth Rogers has allowed in his nine-year MLB career and the first since 2021.

The homer put the Dodgers ahead 5-3 over the rival Giants, which wound up being very important when San Francisco slugger Jorge Soler hit a towering solo shot the next inning to cut the lead to one run.

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers turned to journeyman reliever Dinelson Lamet to notch his first career save, which he got with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.

Ohtani's homer comes after a somewhat slow start for the most famous player in baseball, who entered 2024 with enormous attention and pressure after signing a heavily deferred, 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers in free agency. He entered Wednesday hitting .242/.297/.333, which isn't bad this early in the season, unless you have Ohtani-sized expectations.

As he told reporters after the game:

“Honestly, very relieved that I was able to hit my first home run. It’s been a while, and honestly, my swing hasn't been great. So overall, very relieved.”

The homer puts Ohtani one step closer to humorous history. He's only six homers behind current Dodgers manager Dave Roberts for the most by a Japanese-born player in Dodgers history, as's Sarah Langs noted.