Ohtani is the Japanese player with the most home runs in the major leagues. GETTY IMAGES

Despite his most recent and high-profile gambling scandal,Shohei Ohtani topped Hideki Matsui with his 176th Big League home run on Sunday and is now the sole leader among Japanese players. The Dodgers superstar had tied the previous total from the Yankees legend a week ago.

Ohtani hit an 0-1 pitch from New York Mets right-hander Adrian Houser and the ball travelled 423 feet at Dodger Stadium and over the bleachers to move past Matsui atop the all-time list. Matsui, a childhood idol of Othani, was the 2009 World Series Most Valuable Player with the Yankees. It took him 10 years to hit 175 home runs in America after playing his previous 10 in Japan, but Ohtani managed to surpass the Bronx Bomber in just his seventh season. 

The dual-threat superstar has hit five home runs so far this season. He tied Matsui with a homerun on April 13 and then went seven games without hitting another. During that stretch, Ohtani had 11 hits in 29 at-bats, with three doubles and six walks.

"Honestly, I was just relieved to get it over with. I was just happy to be able to do that," Ohtani said, as quoted by AFP. After Sunday's two-run blast, Ohtani reached base twice more in the Dodgers' 10-0 win over the Mets. Ohtani, 29, is considered the most versatile player since Babe Ruth. He is in the first year of a record 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers.

Ohtani's first season in Los Angeles started out as a difficult one, following the revelation that his long-time interpreter and close friend, Ippei Mizuhara, had stolen millions to pay off gambling debts to an illegal bookmaker. It has undoubtedly put him in the spotlight and probably affected him personally, as well as his game. Mizuhara is currently out on bail and under court order to undergo treatment for gambling addiction. He is accused of stealing $16 million from Ohtani, who prosecutors say is a victim in the case. The Dodgers have always stood by theirstarplayer. Despite not pitching this year as he recovers from right elbow surgery, Ohtani is off to a strong start at the plate. With 35 hits and 11 doubles and a batting average of .368, he leads Major League Baseball.