MLB Opening Day 2024: Shohei Ohtani debuts at Dodger Stadium with double and baserunning error in win

Shohei Ohtani made his Los Angeles Dodgers debut in South Korea last week, but Thursday's home opener was the moment his tenure felt real for many fans.

Perhaps because it was at Dodger Stadium, his expected home for the next 10 years, and perhaps because it wasn't at 3 a.m. PT.

Ohtani ended up being only a small part of the Dodgers' 7-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the other members of the Big 3 atop the Dodgers' lineup, both homered, while Tyler Glasnow made his own debut at the stadium he attended as a child with a strong six innings of one-run ball.

All eyes were on Ohtani, though, as he played his third regular-season game in a Dodgers uniform. He began his day with a double down the right-field line, a great start ... until a miscommunication on the basepaths led to him occupying third base at the same time as Mookie Betts, who led off the inning with a walk.

The play wasn't a bad emotional summary of Ohtani's offseason, in which he joined the Dodgers with a mountain of hype before a late mistake left a sour taste in some fans' mouths. Ohtani's Dodgers arrival has been colored by the scandal around his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, that broke last week, but there was little to be said about that Thursday.

Ohtani finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and a run, notching the latter via Freeman's third-inning home run.

The Dodgers certainly looked the part of a superteam early in the game, jumping on Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas for seven hits and five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. They might have seen what Mikolas, who will make $16 million this season, said about their team-building earlier in the month:

“We’re not exactly a low-payroll team, but you got the Dodgers playing checkbook baseball. We’re going to be the hardest working group of Midwestern farmers we can be. … It would be great to stick it to the Dodgers.”

It wasn't a flawless day for the Dodgers. Their lone error of the day reflected their biggest concern of the season — middle infield defense — when Betts bounced a ball from shortstop that got past Freeman in the fifth inning.

Betts, who has played most of his career in right field and was supposed to move to second base full-time this season, switched positions with former top prospect Gavin Lux during spring training. Betts had started 12 games at shortstop in his career before this season.

Still, it's hard to complain about a six-run win, especially when you need to use only two pitchers. Ryan Yarbrough relieved Glasnow and proceeded to notch a three-inning save. Paul Goldschmidt was the lone Cardinal to do anything on offense, going 3-for-4 with a homer. The rest of the lineup went 0-for-27.