LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shohei Ohtani made another piece of baseball history Sunday when he surpassed a mark set by one of his heroes.

The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger crushed his 176th career homer in the third inning, breaking Hideki Matsui’s record for the most home runs hit by a Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball.

Ohtani drove Adrian Houser’s pitch deep into the right field bleachers in the third inning of Los Angeles’ 10-0 victory over the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium.

The two-run shot gave Ohtani one more MLB homer than Matsui, the former Yankees slugger who played the final 10 seasons of his 20-year pro career in North America. Ohtani just began his seventh season in the majors.

“Honestly, I was just relieved I was able to get it over with,” Ohtani said through his interpreter, Will Ireton.

Ohtani’s record-breaking blast traveled 423 feet with a 110-mph exit velocity, and it put the Dodgers up 2-0.

Ohtani admired and emulated Matsui while growing up in Japan during the prime of Matsui’s MLB career. Yet Ohtani said the record was “not something I was cognizant of when I first started my career here, but as I got to know about it,” he began to pay attention to his place behind Matsui.

“Hideki Matsui was a great ballplayer, a great home run hitter, a world champion,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I know that Shohei admired him, so for him to eclipse that mark, it’s a big deal. I know whatever kind of mark is ahead of Shohei, he’s trying to take them all down.”

The homer was Ohtani’s fifth in his first 24 games for the Dodgers, who signed the two-time AL MVP to a $700 million contract last winter.

“It’s awesome,” said teammate Tyler Glasnow, who pitched eight scoreless innings for the Dodgers. “I’m sure he’ll have a lot more records while we’re playing here.”

Ohtani hadn’t homered in his previous seven games, but he went 2 for 3 with a single, a walk and two runs scored in the Dodgers’ blowout victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

“We just tried a backdoor slider with that, and just wasn’t able to keep it out (of the strike zone),” Houser said. “You leave a pitch down the middle to him, he’s going to put a good swing on it, just like he did.”

Ohtani has 13 RBIs and a whopping 1.094 OPS since joining the Dodgers, and he is seemingly unaffected on the field by the troubles of his longtime interpreter and close friend, Ippei Mizuhara. Federal prosecutors this month accused Mizuhara of stealing more than $16 million from Ohtani to pay off debts and to support his gambling addiction.

Before joining the Dodgers with the biggest contract in baseball history, Ohtani hit 171 homers in six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, including an AL-leading 44 homers last season while winning his second MVP trophy. Ohtani hit a career-high 46 homers in 2021, his first MVP season.

When Ohtani was asked if he also hopes to emulate Matsui’s famed playoff poise when he finally reaches the MLB postseason, Ohtani joked that he’s currently more focused on breaking Roberts’ for the most homers by a Japanese-born player in a Dodgers uniform.

Roberts leads Ohtani 7-5 in that competition.

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