Ohtani stays hot, leads Dodgers past Twins

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Shohei Ohtani and James Outman homer, James Paxton cruises, as the Dodgers win their first game over the Minnesota Twins easily.

MINNEAPOLIS — Shohei Ohtani looks to be rounding into form again, as the Dodgers used his three hits to sneak past Minnesota 4-2 in another rainy ballgame Monday night. 

After a forgettable series in Chicago, left-hander James Paxton gave the Dodgers (9-4) another much needed strong start, keeping the offense within striking range. 

The core three right-handed relievers (Ryan Brasier, Daniel Hudson and Evan Phillips) held the Twins hitless in final three innings.

Here are three takeaways:

Ohtani made it five consecutive multi-hit games Monday as he went 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles.

Ohtani struggled in the first week of the season, he is now slugging 1.111 over his last 20 plate appearances with nine hits, six of which are the extra-base variety. It seems when Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman cooled off, Ohtani picked up for them. 

If the offense can see Betts and Freeeman get back in a groove, the Dodgers won’t even need stellar outings from their starting pitchers.

Outman crushed a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning, his his first of the year. Outman had been struggling through the early part of the season and he got his signature moment .

Outman had one of the better rookie years in the majors last season. After struggling in the second half of 2023 and through the playoffs, he continued to look lost at times at the plate this year. 

It seems Outman has been trying to shorten his swing and being more selective at the plate.

Paxton was one of the forgotten free-agent signings, but he has paid major dividends so far. He pitched six innings Monday, giving up two runs and one walk and lowering his ERA to 1.64. 

The Dodgers pitching lab seems to be working with the veteran. If Paxton can keep his ERA around 3.50, it would take some pressure off the backend of the rotation, which needs answers with the recent play of Gavin Stone.  

The series continues at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday when Dodgers right-hander Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 3.18 ERA) faces Minnesota’s Louie Varland (0-1, 6.75).