Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani ties Hideki Matsui with 175th home run

LOS ANGELES -- Shohei Ohtani's first game since what amounted to vindication from the betting scandal that surrounded him over the past two-plus weeks saw him total three extra-base hits and tie Hideki Matsui for the most home runs by a Japanese-born player in the major leagues.

Ohtani's homer, the 175th of his career, came on his first swing of Friday's game, an eventual 8-7 loss to the San Diego Padres in 11 innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers' $700 million superstar began the season with just eight hits in his first 33 at-bats but has since gone on a 16-for-35 stretch with 12 extra-base hits, four of them homers. His OPS is up to 1.098, ninth among major league qualifiers.

"He's really unflappable," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He really is."

The start of the Dodgers' homestand marked Ohtani's first game since federal authorities charged his former longtime interpreter and confidant, Ippei Mizuhara, with bank fraud, presenting reams of phone records and bank statements in an attempt to show that Mizuhara used more than $16 million of Ohtani's money to pay gambling debts to an offshore bookmaker without Ohtani's knowledge.

Ohtani did not make himself available to the media before Friday's game, except to provide the Los Angeles Times with a short statement in which he said he was "very grateful for the Department of Justice's investigation" and that he'd "like to focus on baseball." A reporter attempted to ask Ohtani about the matter after the game but was cut off by a public relations official who said only baseball-related questions would be allowed.

Ohtani instead answered questions about tying Matsui, the menacing slugger he once idolized.

"I'm happy personally," Ohtani said through his new interpreter, Will Ireton. "It's an honor to be in the same stage as him, and obviously it's a big deal in the Japanese baseball industry."