Dodgers win MLB season opener in Korea: Shohei Ohtani helps lead comeback after strange error hurts Padres

Getty Images

The 2024 MLB regular season kicked off Wednesday morning on the other side of the world. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres played Game 1 of the two-game Seoul Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in South Korea, and Shohei Ohtani's new team came from behind in the late innings to earn a 5-2 win (box score). Ohtani had two singles in his Dodgers debut.

San Diego scratched across two runs against Dodgers righty Tyler Glasnow and the Padres took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, but Gavin Lux grounder went through Jake Cronenworth's glove at first base -- literally through the glove, it tore through the web -- and that peculiar error opened the door for a four-run inning. Los Angeles caught a break and capitalized.

Ohtani singled twice, stole a base and drove in the Dodgers' fifth and final run, and he also made a base-running mistake. He did not retouch second base on his way back to first on Freddie Freeman's long fly out in the eighth inning, which ended the rally. It was a productive and eventful Dodgers debut for the $700 million man.

Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim grew up not far outside Seoul and he played seven seasons with the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization before making the jump to MLB. With the Heroes, Gocheok Sky Dome was his home ballpark, so Kim returned to his old stomping grounds Wednesday.

Wednesday's game was the first ever regular season MLB game played in Korea. Here now is what you need to know about the Dodgers' comeback win and the Seoul Series opener.    

L.A.'s new top of the lineup dominated

The Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a record -- and heavily deferred -- 10-year, $700 million contract this past offseason and, on Wednesday, the top of their lineup featured three MVPs: Mookie Betts, Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman. That's an awful lot of star power. The 2024 Dodgers are the fourth team ever to hit three MVPs 1-2-3 in the batting order (via Elias Sports Bureau):

  • 2024 Dodgers: Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman (Opening Day)
  • 1983 Phillies: Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt (10 times)
  • 1978 Reds: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster (May 13)
  • 1976 Reds: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench (May 5)

It was a bit of a weird start to the season. In the top of the first, Yu Darvish took too long to deliver a pitch to Betts and was hit with a pitch clock violation that was ball four -- Padres pitchers were charged with four pitch clock violations in the game -- so the first batter of 2024 reached on a pitch-clock walk. Betts then appeared to successfully steal second base, but he was sent back to first because the home plate umpire interfered with the catcher's throw. An unusual top of the first, it was.

There were no loud home runs or extra-base hits Wednesday, but the vaunted top of the Dodgers lineup had a very productive game. Betts, Ohtani, and Freeman went a combined 4 for 11 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Betts and Ohtani each had two singles and drove in a run, and Freeman had both walks and the hit-by-pitch. Here is Ohtani's night:

The Dodgers are much more than the top of their lineup. Max Muncy had a single and two walks, Jason Heyward and Enrique Hernández drove in the Dodgers' first two runs with sac flies -- Hernàndez did not start the game, he pitch-hit for Heyward against the lefty Yuki Matsui in the sixth -- and James Outman reached base twice as the No. 7 hitter.

The Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning and they did score a run on Luis Campusano's double play, but they scored just that one run. Against a team as good as the Dodgers, it was going to take a crooked number in that inning to win the game. Instead, San Diego got just the one run. You can't expect to keep this Los Angeles offense down all game.

The Dodgers got a little lucky

Sometimes you need a little luck, and in the eighth inning, Gavin Lux's potential double play ball went through Jake Cronenworth's glove at first base. It tore right through the webbing. Check it out:

Officially, that's scored an error, which is tough for Cronenworth. He did a nice job getting to the ball and was in position to make the play. The ball just went through his glove. Charge the error to the glove manufacturer, I suppose.

The Dodgers had runners at first and second with no outs when the ball went through Cronenworth's glove and trickled into shallow right field, allowing James Outman to score the tying run from second base. From there, the floodgates opened as Betts and Ohtani singled in runs. I'm not sure Lux's grounder would have been a double play, it would have been very close at first, but San Diego was unable to get even one out because Cronenworth's glove ripped.

Los Angeles scored their first run when Tyler Wade threw a Teoscar Hernández ground ball, leading to Jason Heyward's sac fly. Lux's grounder then went right through Cronenworth's glove. When the Padres made a mistake (Wade's error), got a bad break (Cronenworth's glove), or gave away free bases (nine walks), the Dodgers took advantage. 

Both starters bent but did not break

Because the Dodgers and Padres had a slightly shorter than usual spring training leading up to the Seoul Series, starting pitchers Yu Darvish and Tyler Glasnow were both on an 80-ish pitch limit Wednesday, and neither had was particularly crisp. They had only two 1-2-3 innings between them, both by Glasnow. Here are their pitching lines:



3 2/3















For Glasnow, Wednesday was his Dodgers debut after coming over in an offseason trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. He spiked an awful lot of pitches in front of the plate, both fastballs and curveballs, so it seemed he was having some trouble with the mound. The Padres did put some good at-bats on him though, and the Dodgers worked Darvish hard as well.

Four Dodgers relievers -- Ryan Brasier, Daniel Hudson, Joe Kelly, Evan Phillips -- held the Padres to two hits in four innings, giving the offense a chance to get back into the game. Wandy Peralta, Jhony Brito, and Adrian Morejon combined to turn that 2-1 lead into a 5-2 deficit for the Padres in that eighth inning. San Diego asked a lot of its bullpen following Darvish's short start and they couldn't make the one-run lead stand up.

Park threw out the first pitch with a special glove

Chan-Ho Park, the first Korean-born player in MLB history, threw out Wednesday's ceremonial first pitch, and he did so with a special glove. Park fetched the glove he used during his MLB debut in April 1994 from a museum in his hometown for the occasion, according to the Orange County Register. Here's Park's first pitch with Ha-Seong Kim behind the plate:

Now 50, Park played 17 seasons with seven teams from 1994-2010. He debuted with the Dodgers (1994-2001) and also spent two years with the Padres (2005-06). With a 124-98 record, Park is the winningest Asian-born pitcher in MLB history. He has worked as a special advisor in San Diego's front office since 2017.

Up next

The Dodgers will look to complete the two-game Seoul Series sweep Thursday morning. That's another 6:05 a.m. ET start (7:05 p.m. in Seoul). Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the three-time reigning MVP in Japan's Pacific League, will make his first MLB start with the Dodgers after signing a 12-year, $325 million contract in the offseason. That is the largest pitching contract in history. The Padres will counter with San Diego native Joe Musgrove. The Padres were the home team Wednesday and the Dodgers will be the home team Thursday.

See New Posts
Link copied

FINAL: Dodgers 5, Padres 2

Evan Phillips cruises through a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Shohei Ohtani has two hits in his Dodgers debut and a four-run eighth inning gives Los Angeles an Opening Day win. They'll look for the two-game Seoul Series sweep Thursday.

March 20, 2024, 1:13 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 9:13 am EDT
Link copied

To the bottom of the ninth! Dodgers still up 5-2.

March 20, 2024, 1:07 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 9:07 am EDT
Link copied

A single and a walk here to start the top of the ninth. Dodgers with a chance to really bust this one open.

March 20, 2024, 12:57 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:57 am EDT
Link copied

Quick eighth inning for Joe Kelly against the top of the lineup despite a leadoff single. The Dodgers will take at least a three-run lead to the ninth.

March 20, 2024, 12:51 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:51 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers take the lead with four-run eighth

Lux's ball going through Cronenworth's glove contributed to a four-run rally that turned the Dodgers' one-run deficit into a three-run lead. They lead 5-2 heading to the bottom of the eighth. Here's the ball going through Cronenworth's glove:

That's just bad luck. Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani ripping RBI singles? That's skill.

March 20, 2024, 12:47 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:47 am EDT
Link copied

Ohtani follows with a single to make it 5-2. The floodgates are opening.

March 20, 2024, 12:40 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:40 am EDT
Link copied

Now Betts singles to score another run. It's 4-2 Dodgers.

March 20, 2024, 12:39 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:39 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers take the lead

Wow, Jake Croneworth's glove rips apart and Gavin Lux's potential double play trickles into the outfield to score a run. Los Angeles leads 3-2 and there's still one runners on first and second with one out here in the eighth.

March 20, 2024, 12:38 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:38 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers tie it on Hernández's sac fly

Enrique Hernández, who only had about 15 at-bats in spring training after signing late, ties things up with a well-struck sac fly to left field. Los Angeles still has runners on first and second with one outs. Lefty Adrian Morejon is in to face Lux, Betts, Ohtani, and Freeman.

March 20, 2024, 12:37 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:37 am EDT
Link copied

Now a four-pitch walk to James Outman. The bases are full of Dodgers with no outs.

March 20, 2024, 12:32 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:32 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers in business

Max Muncy draws a pitch clock violation aided walk and Teoscar Hernández singles to center. The Dodgers have runners on first and second with no outs against Jhony Brito in the eighth inning. Unless there's a triple play, all three of Betts, Ohtani, and Freeman are guaranteed to hit again.

March 20, 2024, 12:30 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:30 am EDT
Link copied

Six walks for Padres pitchers and four have involved a pitch clock violation.

March 20, 2024, 12:26 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:26 am EDT
Link copied

Make that four pitch clock violations on Padres pitchers in seven innings plus one batter. Clean it up, guys.

March 20, 2024, 12:25 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:25 am EDT
Link copied

Padres up 2-1 through seven

San Diego is six outs away from a season-opening win against their NL West rivals. The bullpens have restored order here. There was a lot of traffic against the two starters. Not so much against the relievers.

March 20, 2024, 12:22 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:22 am EDT
Link copied

Three pitch clock violations on Padres pitchers in six innings plus three batters.

March 20, 2024, 12:10 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:10 am EDT
Link copied

Padres up 2-1 through six innings

The pace has picked up the last two innings or so. The Padres continue to nurse this 2-1 lead. They're nine outs away from an Opening Day win, though Betts, Ohtani, and Freeman are due up next inning. Lefty Wandy Peralta is entering.

March 20, 2024, 12:05 PM
Mar. 20, 2024, 8:05 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers waste another opportunity

The Dodgers have had runners on base in every inning and runners in scoring position in each of the last four innings, but so far they have just the one run on Heyward's sac fly. Enyel De Los Santos struck out Muncy to strand runners on the corners in the fifth. San Diego is up 2-1. We might see Michael King, who will be part of the rotation this year, out of the bullpen at some point. He came over in the Juan Soto trade and spent most of the last two seasons as a multi-inning high-leverage guy with the Yankees. King won't start this series and manager Mike Shildt said he'll be available in relief, and this is the kinda game he typically pitched in for New York.

March 20, 2024, 11:43 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:43 am EDT
Link copied

Ohtani grounds out to the 5.5-hole in his third bat. Tyler Wade made a nice diving play and got the force out at second. Ohtani is safe at first on the fielder's choice.

March 20, 2024, 11:32 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:32 am EDT
Link copied

Four walks, three strikeouts, and 66 pitches in four innings for Glasnow. On the ESPN broadcast, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said they're going to try to get Glasnow through the fifth inning before going to the bullpen.

March 20, 2024, 11:29 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:29 am EDT
Link copied

Padres take the lead, but Dodgers limit the damage

Luis Campusano's 6-4-3 double play ball plates a run and gives the Padres a 2-1 lead in the fourth, but Tyler Glasnow then struck out Tyler Wade to end the inning, so bases loaded and no outs results in just the one run. Gonna have to do better than that in those situations to beat this Dodgers team.

March 20, 2024, 11:27 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:27 am EDT
Link copied

Two walks and a bunt single, and the Padres have the bases loaded with no outs here in the fourth inning. Glasnow is at 60 pitches.

March 20, 2024, 11:25 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:25 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers answer back

Wade giveth, Wade taketh. His throwing error turned Teoscar Hernández's would-be ground out into a leadoff "double," then Jason Heyward eventually brought Hernández home with a long sacrifice fly.

Heyward's sac fly was Yu Darvish's 72nd and final pitch. Both starters are on an 80-ish pitch limit given their shorter than usual spring training. It's 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning in Seoul and left-hander Tom Cosgrove is in to face Gavin Lux (lefty), Mookie Betts (righty), Shohei Ohtani (lefty), and Freddie Freeman (lefty).

March 20, 2024, 11:15 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:15 am EDT
Link copied

Padres strike first

First run of the game, first run of the new season. Xander Bogaerts plates Tyler Wade with a single to center to give San Diego a 1-0 lead in the third inning. The Padres score immediately after the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded.

Wade walked to open the inning, took second on a wild pitch, then moved to third on Jackson Merrill's fly ball to center. His speed made that run happen.

Bogaerts started last season very well, then he got hit by a pitch in the wrist in May, and was never quite right after that. His season batting line was still very good (.285/.350/.440), though it was a notch below his usual standard.

March 20, 2024, 11:09 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:09 am EDT
Link copied

Yes, for sure.

March 20, 2024, 11:05 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:05 am EDT
Link copied

Is it just me or does this feel like a lot of bounced pitches in front of home plate?

March 20, 2024, 11:04 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 7:04 am EDT
Link copied

Dodgers strand the bases loaded

Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning -- Shohei Ohtani singled, then Freddie Freeman and Will Smith walked -- and Max Muncy worked the count full on Yu Darvish, but Darvish fanned him with an elevated fastball to escape the jam. 

The first RISPFAIL of the new season. Baseball is truly back. Darvish threw 32 pitches that inning and there was action in the bullpen. He's at 64 pitches.

March 20, 2024, 10:58 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 6:58 am EDT
Link copied

Ohtani singles in his second at-bat

Ohtani has his first hit with the Dodgers, yanking a line drive single to right field in the third inning. Ohtani then stole second base on the first pitch of Freddie Freeman's at-bat. Here's the hit:

Ohtani hit a foul ball about halfway to Los Angeles earlier in the at-bat. This is the first time Ohtani and Yu Darvish have ever faced each other in an MLB game.

March 20, 2024, 10:47 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 6:47 am EDT
Link copied

Kim returns to the Gocheok Sky Dome

Padres shortstop Ha-Seong Kim grew up not far outside Seoul and he played seven years with the Kiwoom Heroes (formerly Nexen Heroes) before making the jump to MLB. The Heroes play their home games in the Gocheok Sky Dome, so Kim returned to his old ballpark Wednesday. He received an ovation prior to his first at-bat:

Kim poked a weak fly ball to right field in his first at-bat. He joined the Padres in 2021.

March 20, 2024, 10:35 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 6:35 am EDT
Link copied

The first hit of 2024

A single to center field off the end of the bat from Max Muncy. 

March 20, 2024, 10:26 AM
Mar. 20, 2024, 6:26 am EDT
See More