Yoshinobu Yamamoto Gets First Major League Victory In Dodgers' 4-1 Win Over Cubs

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto delivers a pitch during the first inning of an baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto delivers a pitch during the first inning of an baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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CHICAGO (AP) — Yoshinobu Yamamoto pitched out of two early jams in five scoreless innings for his first career major league victory, Max Muncy hit a two-run single and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Saturday.

Shohei Ohtani had two hits and reached base three times to help the Dodgers improve to 8-3 with their fifth victory in six games.

There was a standing-room-only crowd to see the Cubs play Ohtani and the Dodgers on a cool, sunny, late afternoon game.

Cody Bellinger had two of Chicago's seven hits against his former team as the Cubs had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Yamamoto (1-1) pitched out of a no-outs, bases-loaded jam in the first inning. After allowing a leadoff double to Ian Happ, a walk to Seiya Suzuki, and an infield single to Cody Bellinger. Yamamoto bounced back by striking out the side. He struck out Christopher Morel on three straight curveballs, got Dansby Swanson looking on a fastball and Michael Busch looking with a curve on his 27th pitch.

Yamamoto was dealing with ineffective splitter and turned to his curveball.

“All of the pitches I have is very important, then earlier in the game the split I have wasn't going down so that's why I used the curveball to get back into the count,” Yamamoto said through an interpreter.

Yamamoto's outing ended after only 80 pitches.

"I talked to the manager and I wasn't really surprised. We had a discussion. I can't go into detail, Yamamoto said.

In the second inning, he got out of another bases-loaded jam after Max Muncy couldn't handle Suzuki's ball at third with two outs. Yamamoto froze Bellinger with a curveball to end the inning.

Yamamoto, who signed a record $325 million, 12-year contract with the Dodgers in the offseason retired the final nine batters he faced. He struck out eight while pitching around three hits and two walks. He has pitched 10 scoreless innings after he got just three outs in his major league debut March 21, allowing five runs, four hits, and a walk in a 15-11 season-opening loss to San Diego in South Korea.

“It was a really good outing, obviously that first inning got a little stressful," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "His pitch count got up, but for him to reach back and strike out the last three guys in that inning to get out of it was huge."

Relievers Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, and Daniel Hudson backed up Yamamoto with three scoreless innings. Evan Phillips allowed a single to Dansby Swanson and a double to Michael Busch. Swanson scored on Miles Mastrobuoni ground out. Phillips closed the game by striking out Happ with runners on first and second.

The Cubs left nine on base and wasn't able to get the big hit against Yamamoto.

“He has a unique delivery,” Chicago second baseman Nico Hoerner said. "I think the timing aspect is unique, obviously he has a good fastball and he was able to command his breaking ball."

The Dodgers broke through in the fifth inning. Austin Barnes led off with a lead-off single, and one out later, Ohtani singled. Cubs starter Jordan Wicks struck out Freddie Freeman and was lifted for reliever Jose Cuas. Cuas walked Teoscar Hernández. During Muncy's at-bat, Cuas threw a wild pitch allowing Barnes to score, and then Muncy followed with a two-run single off the right-field wall to give Yamamoto and the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

Wicks (0-1) allowed two runs on six hits with one walk. He struck out seven and threw a career-high 100 pitches.

Miguel Rojas added a run in the eighth inning for the Dodgers with an RBI single.

Suzuki got the better of Ohtani in the opener of a weekend series that features four of the majors’ best Japanese players. Ohtani hit a two-run homer in his first career game at Wrigley Field on Friday, but Suzuki lined a two-run double during Chicago’s five-run second inning.

Shota Imanaga was scheduled to make his second start for Chicago on Sunday.


Imanaga (1-0, 0.00 ERA) threw six scoreless innings in a victory over Colorado on Monday. The Japanese left-hander was set to face Dodgers right-hander Gavin Stone (0-0, 5.40 ERA).


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB