Ohtani blasts first home run for LA Dodgers

Major League baseball star Ohtani Shohei has ripped his first home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His much-awaited first homer of the season came in the Dodgers' ninth official game and his 41st at bat.

Ohtani started as the designated hitter batting second in Wednesday's game against the San Francisco Giants at the Dodgers' home stadium.

The two-way Japanese player joined the Dodgers in the off-season. He is only playing as a batter this season because of the elbow surgery he underwent last year.

In his first at-bat in the first inning, Ohtani struck out by swinging a low breaking ball.

In his second at-bat, in the third inning, with the score at one-one, he hit a grounder to the first base and got an infield hit. He came home with a teammate's double, scoring a go-ahead run.

In the fourth inning, he lined out to the left fielder.

The homer came in his next at-bat, in the seventh. Ohtani turned around a high fast ball to blast a solo homer into the right-center stand.

The moment he swung, fans were sure it would be a home run. The ball traveled 131 meters. Ohtani stepped onto the home base as fans greeted him with a standing ovation.

He was welcomed by his teammates in the dugout with a shower of sunflower seeds.

The Dodgers won the game five-four, marking their fourth consecutive victory.

Ohtani said his condition was not getting better quickly so he tried to curb his feeling of impatience and focus on his swinging style. He said he was relieved to have hit a homer.

Ohtani has now hit 172 home runs in the Major League, just three short of the record for a Japanese player. Matsui Hideki, who played for the New York Yankees and other MLB teams, holds the record of 175.