Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto bounced back from his rocky major league debut to throw five scoreless innings in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but Yamamoto's Japanese teammate Shohei Ohtani popped out to shortstop Brandon Crawford, drawing a huge sigh from fans who endured a mid-game rain delay at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto (18) is pictured after striking out Brendan Donovan of the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 30, 2024. (Kyodo)

On March 21, Yamamoto lasted only one inning in Game 2 of the season-opening Seoul Series against the San Diego Padres, giving up five runs and needing about 20 minutes to get out of the inning.

The 25-year-old right-hander, who signed a 12-year deal worth $325 million in the offseason, the most guaranteed money for a pitcher in MLB history, looked like a different pitcher in his Dodger Stadium debut, allowing just two hits and striking out five without a walk.

Yamamoto set the tone by striking out the side in the first inning. He repeatedly got ahead in the count, unlike in South Korea, where he fell behind on the mound.

"I was able to calm down and recover (from my previous outing)," the three-time MVP in Japan's Pacific League said. "I'm gradually starting to feel good about my pitches, so I went to the mound with confidence. I managed to fine-tune my mechanics."

Freddie Freeman and Will Smith hit back-to-back RBI singles in the fifth to give Yamamoto a 2-0 lead and a chance for his first win in the majors.

But the Cardinals scored five runs in the seventh to make it 5-2 before the Dodgers crawled their way back to take the game into extra innings.

In the 10th, Paul Goldschmidt put St. Louis in front again with a groundout.

Ohtani went 1-for-5 with a single, a walk and two strikeouts. Among his fellow "big three" teammates, Mookie Betts homered for the fourth consecutive game and finished with three hits.

Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani pops out in a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the 10th inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 30, 2024, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (Kyodo)

In other action, Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (0-1) was charged with three runs in 4-1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Detroit Tigers right-hander Kenta Maeda also struggled in his first start of the season, surrendering six runs on seven hits, three of them home runs, in 3-1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers nevertheless eked out a 7-6, 10-inning victory.

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