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Shohei Ohtani Continues Hitting Tear as Dodgers Triumph Over Twins

In the past five games, Shohei Ohtani had 11 hits in 22 at-bats. He also moved within one homer of tying Hideki Matsui's MLB career record for Japanese players.

Shohei Ohtani belted his third home run of the season on Monday, April 8 and continued his hot hitting of late in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 4-2 road win over the Minnesota Twins.

Ohtani finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs. He hit doubles in the first inning and sixth inning off Bailey Ober and Steven Okert, respectively, in the series opener at Target Field. His solo blast off losing pitcher Jay Jackson, a former NPB pitcher, in the seventh was the 174th of his MLB career, one shy of Hideki Matsui's record for a Japanese player.

"I think it's a special number (175), so of course I want to hit it as soon as possible," Ohtani was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

Ohtani also stretched his multi-hit streak to five games. In that span, the native of Iwate Prefecture is 11-for-22, including four doubles, a triple and three homers. He raised his batting average to .345 by the end of Monday's game.

In Awe of Ohtani's Batting Skills

After watching Ohtani from the dugout, Dodgers starter James Paxton (2-0) marveled at his Japanese teammate's powerful swing.

"If he puts the barrel on the ball, it's coming off at 105-plus [miles per hour]. It's pretty amazing, just how hard he swings and just how hard he hits the ball," Paxton said, according to The Associated Press. "I'm glad to have him on my side."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also lauded Ohtani's skills as a batter.

"You expect the ball to come off really hot when he swings the bat and he barrels it," Roberts was quoted as saying by MLB.com. "It's something I have never seen. When he's controlling the strike zone and he's getting pitches in his nitro zone, there's just really not a better hitter."

With the win, the Dodgers improved to 9-4, the best record in the National League West.

San Diego Padres starter Yu Darvish pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Petco Park on April 8. (Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Darvish Remains Winless After Four Starters in 2024

San Diego Padres right-hander Yu Darvish has made four starts in the team's first 13 games this season but is still seeking his first victory.

Darvish lasted just three innings against the visiting Chicago Cubs on Monday at Petco Park, giving up four runs (all in the second inning) on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

The Padres trailed 4-0 when Darvish left the game after making 65 pitches, 39 for strikes.

Entering the home half of the sixth inning, San Diego faced an 8-0 deficit. The Padres made an improbable comeback, scoring seven times in the bottom of the sixth and added two more runs with two outs in the eighth, with Dominican outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr blasting a two-run homer off Adbert Alzolay to grab the lead.

Padres manager Mike Shildt's club earned a 9-8 victory, improving to 6-7, including a split of the season-opening, two-game Seoul Series against the Dodgers.

Former Hanshin Tigers closer Robert Suarez, who had a combined 67 saves in the 2020 and 2021 NPB seasons, worked a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.

Cubs designated hitter Seiya Suzuki went 1-for-3, a line-drive double to left off Darvish in the first inning, with two walks and scored a run. He's batting .289.

After the game, Darvish analyzed his pitching performance.

"The first inning wasn't so bad, but in the second inning, I started to lose my balance a little bit … and my curveballs became easy to hit," Darvish was quoted as saying by NHK.

This season, Darvish is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 18⅔ innings. He's allowed 16 hits and walked eight while striking out 20.

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Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.

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