Shohei Ohtani sets the tone in Dodgers’ win at Colorado

Shohei Ohtani homered to start the game for the first time since moving into the leadoff spot for injured Mookie Betts, setting the tone for the Dodgers in a 5-3 victory over Colorado on Thursday that allowed them to take a 3-1 series win against the Rockies.

Will Smith and Freddie Freemen went deep in successive at-bats in the fourth inning, the fifth time this season Dodgers teammates have homered back to back. And the Dodgers got another solid outing from Gavin Stone, who pitched 5 1/3 innings.

After Betts went down Sunday with a fractured left hand when he was hit by a pitch, it didn’t take manager Dave Roberts long to decide to move Ohtani to the top spot in the batting order. Ohtani has made the move seamlessly, and has hit leadoff in all four games since.

“It was by default,” Roberts said when asked about the move before the game. “We had no one else. So, he’s a perfect default. He’s done it before. He’s done it before. And honestly, he’s swinging the bat well there, and he was starting to swing the batter better before that. So, he’s just doing what he needs to do as far as controlling the zone.”

Ohtani worked the count to 2-1 before driving Ty Blach’s offering over the center-field fence for his 21st home run of the season. Andy Pages had a run-scoring double in the third and Smith and Freeman homered consecutively in the fourth, putting the Dodgers up 5-0. Teoscar Hernandez added three hits.

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On the pitching side, Stone (8-2) was keeping the Rockies at bay and largely off the base paths. He pitched into the sixth inning, registering seven strikeouts and allowing two runs on four hits in a fourth consecutive winning decision.

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Stone was sailing through the outing until the sixth, when he issued pair of walks around his seventh strikeout. After giving up a single to Elehuris Montero, Stone was relieved by Blake Treinen. Jake Cave hit a two-run single before Treinen got out of the jam by retiring Hunter Goodman and Alan Trejo.

Ryan McMahon homered off Alex Vesia leading off the eighth before Evan Phillips pitched a hitless ninth, striking out two for his 12th save.

The NL West-leading Dodgers have won five of seven games this season with the Rockies, who are mired in last place in the division.

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