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Dodgers Glad to Have Ohtani on Their Side After Win Over Twins
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By Associated Press
Published 2 months ago on
April 9, 2024

Shohei Ohtani had two doubles and a home run — his third in five games — to tie his career high with three extra-base hits and power the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Monday night. (AP/Ashley Landis)

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MINNEAPOLIS — Shohei Ohtani had two doubles and a home run — his third in five games — to tie his career high with three extra-base hits and power the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Monday night.

James Outman hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning and Freddie Freeman and Will Smith drove in runs and Evan Phillips picked up his fourth save to fuel another smooth victory for Dodgers newcomer James Paxton (2-0), who flashed a wide smile when asked afterward about Ohtani’s impact.

“If he puts the barrel on the ball, it’s coming off at 105-plus. It’s pretty amazing, just how hard he swings and just how hard he hits the ball,” said Paxton, who gave up two runs in six innings. “I’m glad to have him on my side.”

Manny Margot hit a two-run homer off his former team to give the Twins a third-inning lead, but the loaded Dodgers lineup was too much for their depleted bullpen after starter Bailey Ober deftly worked to depart with one run allowed in five innings.

“I felt great. I could’ve easily gone back out there, but they’re making those decisions and I’m going to trust what they do and get ready for the next one,” said Ober, who threw 68 pitches.

Up Next

Dodgers RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 3.18 ERA) starts on Tuesday night, as RHP Louie Varland (0-1, 6.75 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins. Varland missed the opportunity to take the same field with his brother when the Dodgers sent RHP Gus Varland down to Triple-A before the game. The Varlands grew up a few miles away in North St. Paul.

Ohtani’s Impact on the Game

Ohtani doubled off the first pitch of the sixth from Steven Okert and scored the tying run on a single by Smith. Byron Buxton made a leaping catch in center field of a sinking line drive by Teoscar Hernández to limit the damage for Okert, but But Outman skied a full-count slider from Jay Jackson (0-1) over the 23-foot wall in right field to begin the seventh.

“It felt good to see a ball land,” said Outman, who was 4 for 34 until the homer. “It’s still pretty early in the season so it was a little early to freak out, but it’s a start in the right direction for sure.”

Ohtani, who revealed in an afternoon interview session he’s been using a cricket-style bat with a paddle-like barrel for mechanical work before and during games, had a relatively quiet start to his Dodgers career after signing a record $700 million contract and losing his trusted interpreter in an alleged gambling scandal.

The two-time MVP and two-continent superstar has clearly found his swing. Ohtani is 11 for 22 in his last five games with eight extra-base hits and five RBIs.

“After I saw Shohei get two hits, I was swinging the cricket bat,” Outman said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hit seven homers in 302 games for the club from 2002-04. Ohtani has three in 13 games.

“It’s something I have never seen,” Roberts said. “When he’s controlling the strike zone and he’s getting pitches in his nitro zone, there’s just really not a better hitter.”

Twins’ Struggles Continue

The Twins have lost three straight games with a total of 12 hits.

“We just have to keep preparing and keep trying to barrel some balls up,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Trainer’s Room

The Twins placed right-hander Daniel Duarte on the 15-day injured list before the game with a triceps strain, their eighth pitcher on the IL. Five them were being counted on for relief roles, including closer Jhoan Duran, who’s out with a strained oblique.

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