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Apr 27, 2024 7:10 am

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers pursue encore against Jays

Shohei Ohtani, Dodgers

Shohei Ohtani answered the boos with a first-inning home run Friday to set the tone for the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Dodgers rapped out 19 hits on their way to a 12-2 victory over the Blue Jays in the opener of the three-game series. Los Angeles carries a five-game winning streak into the teams’ Saturday afternoon matchup, while Toronto will look to end a four-game skid.

Ohtani was booed because Toronto fans felt he used the Blue Jays’ interest in him as a negotiating ploy when he was a free agent in the offseason to drive up his price to the Dodgers.

There were reports in December that Ohtani was on his way to Toronto, but soon after, he signed with Los Angeles.

His first swing of the game Friday on a 1-1 count against right-hander Chris Bassitt was a shot to right for his seventh homer of the season.

“He didn’t do anything,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said regarding the offseason rumors. “It’s not his fault that the media was wrong.”

Ohtani said through interpreter Will Ireton regarding the reaction of the Toronto crowd, “Not surprised. Aside from how the fans may or may not think, I’m just very grateful for the teams that approached me and wanted to sign me. As I said in my press conference before, ultimately I could only choose one team.

“I really do feel that the fans here are passionate, and when they are, that’s the kind of reception that they’ll probably do. I’m just very grateful and respectful that the fans here are passionate, just as the Dodgers’ fans are with us.”

Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said of Ohtani’s response, “He’s shown he compartmentalizes really well. So he heard it, and then once he gets in the box, he goes out there and takes his at-bats.

“Shohei is having a good time. He’s enjoying the game. He’s enjoying his teammates, and he’s performing really well.”

On Saturday, the Dodgers hope to get off to another strong start, this time for right-hander Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 2.92 ERA).

Glasnow was stellar in his latest outing, Sunday against the New York Mets, when he fired eight shutout innings en route to a 10-0 victory. He allowed seven hits and struck out 10 without issuing a walk. However, he is 0-4 with a 6.86 ERA in nine career starts against Toronto, all as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays will give the ball to Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 2.28 ERA). The left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.

In Los Angeles’ Friday win, Max Muncy had three hits and a three-run homer, while Will Smith had four hits and a solo shot. Right-hander Gavin Stone allowed two hits and one run in a career-best seven innings.

Los Angeles is 4-0 to start a nine-game trip, while the Blue Jays will play the second game of six straight at home after a 3-4 trip.

Toronto’s Danny Jansen had two hits in the series opener, including his first homer of the season.

Blue Jays manager John Schneider said, “The guys, they fought, you know. … But yeah, it’s a tough night. Those nights unfortunately happen. It sucks to be on this side of it, and you’re on the other side sometimes. They get that that was a tough game, and you move on. That’s the beauty of baseball: You’ve got another one tomorrow.”

–Field Level Media

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