Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani gestures to the dugout after...

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani gestures to the dugout after reaching second base by hitting a double off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Jake Bird in the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2024, in Denver. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

DENVER — Shohei Ohtani had three hits, James Paxton pitched seven smooth innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies 9-5 on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series between the top and bottom teams in the NL West.

Miguel Rojas and Jason Heyward also had three hits apiece for the first-place Dodgers, who finished with 14. Freddie Freeman walked five times, one shy of a major league record.

“Over the last few weeks, I know we haven’t been swinging the way we wanted to, but it felt like the bats were getting better and better as each day went on," Freeman said. "Today, we just kind of put it all together.”

Ohtani doubled twice, drove in a run and had his third multi-hit performance in his past four games, a stretch in which he has seven hits in 15 at-bats. The two-time AL MVP entered second in the majors in extra-base hits, tied for fifth in hits and sixth in batting average.

Paxton (7-1) permitted just one run and two hits in his longest outing of the season. He had a season-high eight strikeouts and walked only one in his first career start at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

“If you’re thinking about it being Coors Field and the ball flying and you’re worried about that, you’re not focused on the pitch you’re throwing," Paxton said. "You can’t be distracted by stuff like that.”

Los Angeles left 13 runners on base, equaling a season high.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher James Paxton works against the...

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher James Paxton works against the Colorado Rockies in the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2024, in Denver. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

The loss was the Rockies’ sixth in their past eight games and 12th in 16 games in June. During that stretch, they’ve been outscored by a 109-66 margin.

Jacob Stallings, Greg Jones and Hunter Goodman homered for Colorado, which got four runs in the ninth inning off reliever J.P. Feyereisen. Jones’ home run, which came as a pinch hitter in the ninth, was his first career hit.

Cal Quantrill (6-5) gave up seven hits and three earned runs in five innings. The 29-year-old right-hander entered 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his previous eight starts.

“They just make it hard," Quantrill said. "If you get the first two guys out, they’re going to make sure that that third guy is a tough out. There are some things I could have done better today, but on the whole, we battled. We just weren’t able to make it happen.”

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, slides safely into second...

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, slides safely into second base for a steal as Colorado Rockies second baseman Adael Amador, left, fields the throw in the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, June 17, 2024, in Denver. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: SS Mookie Betts (fractured left hand) was placed on the 10-day injured list, with manager Dave Roberts saying the 2018 AL MVP will miss roughly six to eight weeks. … Los Angeles recalled OF Miguel Vargas from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Rockies: Reinstated RHP Jake Bird (right elbow inflammation) and RHP Justin Lawrence (right shoulder strain) from the 15-day IL. … Placed LHP Josh Rogers (rotator cuff strain) on the 15-day IL, retroactive to June 14. … Optioned RHP Angel Chivilli to Double-A Hartford.

UP NEXT

Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (1-4, 4.64 ERA) pitches Tuesday against LHP Austin Gomber (1-4, 4.36).

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