MLB's history of games played abroad

March 21st, 2024

Baseball is a global game and only growing around the world. So while the 30 Major League teams are all based in the continental United States and Canada, MLB has made an effort over the years to bring its games to a broader audience with games played internationally.

The league's latest international venture saw the Padres and Dodgers open the 2024 season in Korea with the two-game Seoul Series. The games were Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani's first MLB regular-season contests in Asia. They also represented a homecoming for Padres Gold Glove infielder Ha-Seong Kim.

International MLB games began in 1996, when the Mets and Padres traveled to Mexico to play a three-game series in Monterrey, Mexico, and since have expanded to other countries like Japan, Australia and the UK (as well as Puerto Rico, which competes as its own team in international baseball competitions like the World Baseball Classic and the Olympics).

Here's a rundown of the regular-season MLB games and series to take place outside the U.S. and Canada. (This doesn't count exhibition games.) Games are separated alphabetically by country and listed in chronological order.

AUSTRALIA

March 22-23, 2014: Dodgers vs. D-backs -- Sydney Cricket Ground

Major League Baseball went to Australia for the first time in 2014, with the Dodgers and D-backs starting their regular season with two games in Sydney.

Clayton Kershaw treated the 38,266 fans to a sparkling pitching performance on Opening Day, allowing only one run in 6 2/3 innings while striking out seven. Scott Van Slyke's two-run homer provided most of the offense as Los Angeles won, 3-1.

"We came a long way to get one [win]" Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "You like to start off on the right foot."

The Dodgers swept the mini-series with a 7-5 win in Game 2, with 38,079 fans in attendance. Puig led the way with a 3-for-5, two-RBI day, and although Arizona pulled within two runs in the ninth after Mark Trumbo launched a home run off Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers held on for the victory.

JAPAN

March 29-30, 2000: Mets vs. Cubs -- Tokyo Dome

MLB went overseas for the first time on Opening Day 2000, when the Mets and Cubs played in the Tokyo Dome for the first of a two-game season-opening set in Japan.

In front of a crowd of 55,000 fans, the Cubs beat the Mets, 5-3, in Game 1. The big hitters for both teams showed up, with Sammy Sosa going 2-for-3 with a double for Chicago and Mike Piazza going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for New York.

Because the Mets were part of the inaugural Mexico series in 1996, this series made them the first Major League team to play games in two different countries outside the U.S. and Canada. "We were saying that it felt like a regular-season game," Piazza said. "We were the home team, but we felt like an away team. Once you got between the lines, it was just a regular game."

The Mets won a dramatic second game, 5-1, in 11 innings to end the Japan series with a bang. The go-ahead hit was a pinch-hit grand slam by Benny Agbayani in the top of the 11th.

March 30-31, 2004: Yankees vs. Devil Rays -- Tokyo Dome

The Tokyo Dome again hosted on Opening Day in 2004, when the Yankees and Rays took the field.

The Yankees had Japanese superstar Hideki Matsui, who'd just come to the big leagues from Nippon Professional Baseball a year earlier in 2003. Matsui was returning to his own home stadium -- he'd spent a decade with the Yomiuri Giants, who play in the Tokyo Dome.

Matsui was coming off an excellent rookie season in MLB, and he would be even better in 2004. It all started in his home country, to wild fanfare. The Yankees lost the opener, 8-3, but Matsui recorded the very first hit of the MLB season, a double in the first inning. Then he led the Bronx Bombers to a blowout 12-1 win in the series finale, going 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. Attendance was listed at 55,000 for each game.

"I'm just glad Matsui's a Yankee and not a Giant," said Kevin Brown, who won his Yankees debut in the second game. "He did an unbelievable job of handling everything he's had to go through over here."

March 25-26, 2008: Red Sox vs. A's -- Tokyo Dome

Four seasons after their rivals did, the Red Sox made the trip to Japan to start the 2008 season. The defending World Series champions played a two-game set against the A's, again at the Tokyo Dome.

Like the Yankees in 2004, the Red Sox had a star Japanese player who'd recently made the NPB-to-MLB jump: Daisuke Matsuzaka, who played for the Seibu Lions before coming to Boston and helping the Red Sox win their second championship in four seasons.

Dice-K started the 2008 season opener in Japan in front of a crowd of 44,628 and pitched five solid innings, allowing two runs and striking out six. The Red Sox pulled off a thrilling comeback in the game to win, 6-5, in 10 innings. With Boston down a run in the ninth, Brandon Moss hit the game-tying home run off A's closer Huston Street, and in the 10th, Manny Ramirez belted a tiebreaking double. Hideki Okajima, who himself had just joined the Red Sox from NPB and used to pitch for the Yomiuri Giants, picked up the win in relief.

"I actually had some nerves, even when I was on the mound," Okajima said after the game. "But I was pumped up by the cheering and everybody was just playing so hard. So I thought I had to do the same as well."

The A's earned a series split in the next game with 44,735 fans in attendance, beating the Red Sox, 5-1, on the strength of Rich Harden's six sharp innings of one-run, nine-strikeout baseball.

March 28-29, 2012: Mariners vs. A's -- Tokyo Dome

In Ichiro's final season with the Mariners -- until his return in 2018 -- the Japanese legend returned to the country where he'd starred for the Orix Blue Wave for this MLB season-opening series against the A's.

On Opening Day, in front of 44,227 fans, Ichiro lived up to all the hype, collecting four hits in the Mariners' 3-1, 11-inning win -- including driving in Seattle's final run with a two-out RBI hit in the 11th. The A's won the second game, 4-1, in front of a crowd of 43,391, with Bartolo Colon pitching eight innings and allowing just one run.

"I've never been that nervous before," Ichiro said after the first game. "The warmth of the fans almost made me want to cry. … I felt the significance of the occasion. I knew it would only happen once in my life. I wanted to share a special moment and give something back to them."

The series had some extra meaning, too, as MLB and the MLB Players Association took the opportunity to assist in the rebuilding efforts in Japan following the previous year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

March 20-21, 2019: Mariners vs. A's -- Tokyo Dome

The AL West rivals met up again in Tokyo seven years later in a series marked by Ichiro's fond farewell to fans from his native country. The Mariners legend trotted out to right field on Opening Day at age 45, becoming the second-oldest position player to start a season opener, and went 0-for-1 with a walk before he was pulled in the fourth inning. The two clubs combined for five home runs in a 9-7 victory for Seattle.

Ichiro suited up again for Game 2, and news broke halfway through the contest that he would be retiring from professional baseball. He went hitless in four at-bats, narrowly missing out on an infield single in his final plate appearance as a Major Leaguer. Suzuki then jogged out to right field one last time to begin the bottom of the eighth before exiting the game alone in front of an emotional Tokyo crowd. Suzuki hugged each of his teammates and coaches -- many of whom, including fellow Japanese native Yusei Kikuchi, had tears in their eyes -- before leaving the field for good.

KOREA

March 20-21, 2024: Padres vs. Dodgers -- Gocheok Sky Dome

MLB's first regular-season games in Korea were also the first for Shohei Ohtani in a Dodgers uniform after the two-time MVP signed a monumental 10-year, $700 million contract with the club during the offseason. Ohtani tallied two hits, a stolen base and an RBI in Los Angeles' season-opening win against San Diego. His first hit -- a 112.3 mph single -- came off Padres starter Yu Darvish in what was the first meeting between the two Japanese stars.

The Padres won the second game in Seoul -- a high-scoring, record-setting affair. San Diego's 15-11 victory set the mark for its most runs scored against the Dodgers and the most combined runs in a game between these NL West rivals.

San Diego jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning against Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who was making his big league debut after signing the richest contract for any pitcher during the winter ($325 million over 12 years).

The Padres led 9-2 in the third inning before the Dodgers mounted a comeback that saw them cut their deficit to 12-11 by the end of the eighth. Mookie Betts had four hits and six RBIs for Los Angeles. He also drilled the season's first home run in the fifth inning. However, Manny Machado's long three-run clout in the ninth gave San Diego some breathing room en route to a Seoul Series split.

MEXICO

Aug. 16-18, 1996: Padres vs. Mets -- Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey

The first MLB regular-season game played outside the U.S. or Canada came more than two decades ago as the Mets and Padres met for the first of three games in Mexico.

That first game was played in front of 23,699 fans, who packed the 25,644-seat stadium. Mexican baseball hero Fernando Valenzuela not only threw out the ceremonial first pitch, but started the game for the Padres. "With Fernando pitching we're going to feel like the home team," manager Bruce Bochy told The New York Times.

The game was a 15-10 slugfest in favor the Padres. Valenzuela picked up the win for San Diego, Tony Gwynn went 2-for-3 out of the leadoff spot, Ken Caminiti slugged a three-run homer and Greg Vaughn crushed a grand slam.

The following two games also drew big crowds, with 20,873 on hand for the second game and 22,810 at the series finale. The Mets won Game 2, 7-3 -- but the Padres took the series, shutting out the Mets, 8-0, in the finale. Trevor Hoffman closed the game.

April 4, 1999: Padres vs. Rockies -- Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey

Major League Baseball returned to Mexico three years later. This time it was only for a single game -- but it was Opening Day, rather than a midseason series.

The crowd was the biggest yet for a game in Mexico: 27,104. The Padres were the home team again, but the Rockies came away with the win, an 8-2 victory. Mexico native Vinny Castilla was one of the stars of the game, ripping four hits for Colorado. Dante Bichette also had four hits, including a sixth-inning home run.

"It was a good night for me," Castilla said after the game. "I tried my last two at-bats to hit a home run. It didn't happen, but I'm happy for the win … I feel really excited I played in front of fans in my own country."

May 4-6, 2018: Padres vs. Dodgers -- Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey

It took 19 seasons for MLB to return to Mexico, and when it did, the Dodgers made history.

In the first game of the series -- with Valenzuela again throwing out the ceremonial first pitch -- the Dodgers pitched the first combined no-hitter in franchise history behind rookie flamethrower Walker Buehler.

"To fly here and to fly outside of our country, where the atmosphere is different, to perform the way we did, it's almost humbling in a way, because you're able to put it together and it makes it a little bit sweeter," Buehler said.

The Padres did win the next two games by scores of 7-4 and 3-0 to earn the series victory.

April 13-14, 2019: Reds vs. Cardinals -- Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey

In the opener of the two-game series between NL Central opponents, Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, calling up memories of the Dodgers' no-hitter in Monterrey the year before. But the Reds' Jesse Winker broke up the bid with a game-tying solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, Derek Dietrich slugged a go-ahead shot in the seventh, and Cincinnati went on to win, 5-2.

The Cardinals broke out in the second game, winning a 9-5 slugfest to split the series. Marcell Ozuna homered twice for St. Louis, and Matt Carpenter broke a 4-4 tie with a go-ahead blast in the top of the seventh inning. Yasiel Puig hit his first home run in a Reds uniform in the loss.

May 4-5, 2019: Astros vs. Angels -- Estadio de Beisbol, Monterrey

The Astros erupted for 24 runs in a two-game sweep of the Angels in Monterrey, winning the first game, 14-2, and the second game, 10-4. Fans were treated to some major fireworks -- the teams crushed 12 total home runs in the two games.

In Game 1, Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman homered twice, teammates George Springer, Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley added one each, and Albert Pujols launched a homer for the Angels. In Game 2, Bregman and Brantley homered again for Houston -- Bregman's was a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth inning -- as did Carlos Correa. Jonathan Lucroy hit a pair of homers for the Angels, and David Fletcher added another.

April 29-30, 2023: Padres vs. Giants -- Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú, Mexico City 

In the first MLB regular season games played in Mexico City, the Padres swept the Giants in a pair of high-altitude slugfests. 

Playing 7,300 feet above sea level -- far higher than even mile-high Coors Field -- the two teams combined for 27 runs and 11 home runs in the Mexico City Series opener, as San Diego won, 16-11. The 11 homers were two shy of the Major League record and hit by 10 different players, Manny Machado going deep twice and Xander Bogaerts homering in his fourth different country

"It's incredible, to be honest with you," Bogaerts said after the game. "It's something I never thought of ... It's a pretty neat accomplishment."

The second game was slightly calmer, but there were still four more homers in the Padres' 6-4 win. There was also a late-game rally by San Diego, which entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 4-3 but scored three runs off Giants closer Camilo Doval. Nelson Cruz had a memorable series for the Padres, as the 42-year-old had five hits, a homer and even a stolen base in Game 1 ... then hustled for a triple in Game 2.

PUERTO RICO

There have been 49 MLB games played in Puerto Rico at San Juan's Estadio Hiram Bithorn. Forty-three of them were played by the Expos during the 2003 and '04 seasons, the franchise's final two seasons before moving to Washington and becoming the Nationals.

The other six Puerto Rico games were played in 2001, '10 and '18 as part of individual MLB events, listed below.

April 1, 2001: Blue Jays vs. Rangers -- Estadio Hiram Bithorn, San Juan

The first game played in Puerto Rico was an Opening Day affair between the Blue Jays and Rangers in 2001 -- so MLB games had already been played in Mexico and Japan by this point.

Both teams had star Puerto Rican players: Ivan Rodriguez for the Rangers and Carlos Delgado for the Blue Jays. Toronto won the game, 8-1, with an announced crowd of 19,891 at Estadio Hiram Bithorn. Delgado roped an RBI single in the seventh inning.

June 28-30, 2010: Marlins vs. Mets -- Estadio Hiram Bithorn, San Juan

Six years after the Expos' run of games in San Juan, Major League Baseball returned to Puerto Rico with a three-game series between the Marlins and Mets. The Marlins' interim manager at the time, Edwin Rodriguez, was the first Puerto Rico native to manage in the Majors.

The Marlins won the first two games, 10-3 and 7-6. The second game was an exciting walk-off win -- after the Mets rallied for two runs to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning, Dan Uggla delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.

New York took the series finale, 6-5. David Wright led the way for the Mets with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs. Crowds of 18,073, 18,373 and 19,232 were announced for the three games.

April 17-18, 2018: Twins vs. Guardians -- Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan

Eight seasons passed before another MLB game was played in Puerto Rico, and with Guardians ace Corey Kluber on the mound, the series opener did not disappoint.

The Cleveland right-hander spun 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts and the Guardians crushed four homers -- one by Puerto Rico native Francisco Lindor -- en route to a 6-1 victory over Minnesota.

The second game of the two-game series surpassed all expectations. The two clubs entered the 14th inning in a scoreless tie, before Cleveland's Edwin Encarnación went deep for a solo homer. But the Twins' Miguel Sanó knotted the score at 1 with a solo blast of his own in the bottom half of the frame.

In the bottom of the 16th inning, Ryan LaMarre singled home Eddie Rosario -- who hails from Puerto Rico -- to send the Twins home winners. The wild five-hour and 13-minute game also overshadowed a stellar performance from native Puerto Rican José Berríos, who completed seven scoreless frames in the no-decision.

UNITED KINGDOM

June 29-30, 2019: Yankees vs. Red Sox -- London Stadium

For MLB's first foray into Europe, the league sent two of its most iconic franchises, and baseball's most famous rivals. The result was two of the most offense-happy games you'll ever see on any continent. The Yankees won the first game by a football score (American football, that is) of 17-13 and the second by an only slightly more modest 12-8. The two teams treated spectators -- more than 118,000 total -- to a combined 65 hits and 10 home runs at hitter-friendly London Stadium.

The Yankees held on to the first game despite a six-run seventh inning from the Sox, then rallied from a 4-2 deficit to grab control of the second game with a nine-run explosion in the seventh. New York's DJ LeMahieu was the biggest hit across the pond, going a combined 7-for-12 with three doubles, four runs scored and seven RBIs across the two games. J.D. Martinez put together a pair of three-hit games for Boston, with two doubles and a homer.

June 24-25, 2023: Cardinals vs. Cubs -- London Stadium 

The London Series returned in 2023 with two games between the NL Central rivals. The Cubs took the first game, 9-1, but the Cardinals bounced back to win the second, 7-5, and earn a series split.

Ian Happ's two home runs off Adam Wainwright sparked Chicago to a rout in the series opener, and Dansby Swanson tacked on a homer late in the game to punctuate the win. But in the second game, St. Louis rode a four-hit day from former Cub Willson Contreras and big hits from Brendan Donovan, Jordan Walker, Nolan Gorman and reigning MVP Paul Goldschmidt to victory.

Over 100,000 fans in total turned out to watch the London Series, with an attendance of 54,662 for Game 1 and 55,565 for Game 2.